From the International Press
MUSIC OF FRANK STEMPER has been performed
in 23 countries and two-thirds of the United States &
in Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center, Budapest’s
Pannonhalma, Vienna’s Klaviersalon Englemier,
Chicago’s Symphony Center, Bucharest’s Anteil
Roman, San Francisco’s Cowell Theater at Fort
Mason, New York City’s Symphony Space, Milwaukee’s Performing Arts Center, etc.
It has also been presented at music festivals such as The ISCM (International Society for Contemporary Music), Spain’s Festival Internacional De Musica Contemporánea, Romania’s Saptamina Internationala A Muzicii Noi, Austria’s Bregenzer Festspiele, Italy’s Festival Spaziomusica, Toronto’s Canadian League of Composers and the Canadian Music Centre, Mexico’s FESTIVAL DE MARZO and the Primer Foro de Música Nueva, Michigan State University’s Annual Symposium of New Music, the New Music Chicago Festival; at computer music festivals such as Vladmir Ussachevsky Computer Music Festival in Los Angeles, IMAGINE II Festival in Memphis, the Lewis Computer Music Festival in Chicago; and at in more academic settings, e.g. The College Music Society, ASUC and the Society of Composers, Inc., etc. and at many universities throughout the United States.
Frank’s work has been generously supported by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the Rockefeller Foundation, the Klein Foundation, the American Music Center, four Artist Fellowships and a Governor’s Grant from the Illinois Arts Council, the Ragdale Foundation, Spain’s Fundación Valparaiso, Austria’s Viktorsberg Composer Institute, the New York Council on the Arts, the California Arts Council, several travel grants from Meet the Composer and MTC—Global Connections, 27 consecutive ASCAPlus awards, etc. And there have been commissions for new music – 41 so far – from orchestras, ensembles, soloists, various artistic foundations and new music societies in Western and Eastern Europe, and throughout the United States.
Among the many awards for his music are The 1981 Prix de Paris, The Hertz Prize, The Phi Kappa Phi Award for Artistic Achievement, The Arts In Celebration Commission Prize, The New York Virtuoso Singers Prize, as well as nominations from the American Academy of Art and Letters, a Grammy Award, and in 2003 his piano concerto, Secrets of War, was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. BLUE13, a recently released recording of Stemper’s complete music for piano, performed by the Korean pianist Junghwa Lee, received a Gold Medal in Global Music’s “Top 10 Albums of 2015.”
Internationally, Frank has maintained a presence on the world new music scene through a total of 15 Artist and Teaching residencies — supported by the governments of Romania, Mexico, Austria, The Netherlands, France, and Spain, and he has served as a Guest Composer at more than 50 international music festivals. In addition, there have been many broadcasts of his orchestral and chamber music on International Radio Networks throughout the world.
His teachers were the Canadian Pianist Robert Silverman (B.MUS 1975, University of British Columbia), the preeminent Music Theorist David Lewin (M.A. 1978, Stony Brook University), and Distinguished Composer Andrew Imbrie (Ph.D. 1981 University of California Berkeley). After a two-year post-doc in France, which included work at the Paris Conservatory (Conservatoire National Supérieur de Music) and I.R.C.A.M. (L’Institute de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), he was appointed Composer In Residence at Southern Illinois University, where he taught from 1983 – 2014 and where he is now Emeritus Professor.
Although composing new music has been Frank Stemper’s overwhelming focus, as a pianist he has always stayed busy toggling between performing Modern Music and Main Stream Jazz. In 2008 he brought both worlds together when he produced a performance of Schönberg’s cycle of 21 songs, Pierrot Lunaire, with the Altgeld Chamber Players in a local bar— performing the impossible piano part himself.
His music is an eclectic blending of the serial composers and jazz performers from the middle 50 years of the 20th Century — his parent’s generation.
"...through his particular language he succeeds in finding a way of communicating with many levels of audiences without making any stylistic concessions to the modern of our epoch."
ACTUALITATEA MUZICALA (Romanian Cultural Publication)
(SEVEN) SEPARATE WAYS
— performed by The Archaeus Ensemble in Bucharest Romania
“Reminiscent of the angularity of Berg’s Lyric Suite, the intense music proved absorbing. Seamaster. Over this, Stemper’s obvious technical skill finally brings voice and orchestra together…with the engaging sonority of Lynch’s verse.”
Lawrence B. Johnson
The Milwaukee Journal 14 May 1983
— performed by The Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra in Vogel Hall
“Frank Stemper's muziek voor orkest, stem, en verschillende grootte kamerensembles zorgt voor een indrukwekkend oeuvre, die opmerkingen over de toestand van de mensheid met elk nieuw werk. Zijn louter originele stijl vertegenwoordigt een nieuwe en wellicht toekomstige richting voor deze kunstvorm. Stemper's muziek is een dagboek van soorten, een introspectieve en diep persoonlijke reis door het leven van iedereen.”
Utrecht, The Netherlands 28 Nov 2009
“Frank Stemper's music for orchestra, voice, and various size chamber ensembles creates an impressive body of work, which comments on the state of humanity with each new work. His purely original style represents a new and perhaps future direction for this art form. Stemper's music is a diary of sorts, an introspective and deeply personal journey through everyone's life.”
THE PERSISTENCE OF HONOR
— performed by Het Wagenings Orkest Sonanté - Melvin Margolis, Dir,
in The Netherlands
“Frank Stemper’s quintet, Chameleon, so successfully varied – or in his words “camouflaged” the elements of his theme as it was being varied, that I could not readily find its way or mine, which perfectly played into the composer’s hand, clearly executing his intentions for the music. As the best in EARPLAY’s program…”
San Francisco Post-Dispatch 5 November 1985
— performed by Earplay in San Francisco
Am ascultat apoi o lucrare pentru întregul ansamblu de un compozitor din Statele Unite, Frank Stemper, care poarta titlul sugestiv si oarecum paradoxal Rituale primitive pentru o societate moderna. A fost o prîma auditie absoluta si, deschizand o paranteza e bine sa sublinem acest aspect, mai ales când e vorba despre creatii stimulate de Archaeus si dedicate lui. E o muzica in care se topesc felurite influentein care se percepe asimilarea unor limbajuri diverse, trasatura caracteristica nu numai acestui autor, ci muzicii americane in genere.
VITRALIN, Anul IV (nr. 8) 1995
Periosic Al Centrului International de Cultura si Arte “Geaorge Apostu” - Bacau
“I then listened to a work for the entire ensemble of a composer in the United States, Frank Stemper, it bore the suggestive and somewhat paradoxical title “Primitive Ritual for a Modern Society.” It was ABSOLUTELY UNIQUE, creating a FRESH NEW DIRECTION. It is good to point out that this new creation was stimulated by the Archaeus Ensemble — and it was dedicated to them. It is a music that melts various influences combining an assimilation of various languages, the trait characteristic not only of this composer, but of American music in general.”
MODERN RITUALS FOR A PRIMITIVE SOCIETY
— performed by The Archeaus Ensemble in Bucharest Romania
“Ha az eminens alaposság konzervatív jegy,akkor FRANK STEMPER Vonóstriója az els? hangtól az utolsóig konzervatív m?. A m? minden mozzanata kottában rögzített, a szerz? kevés teret enged a megszólalás és az el?adás esetlegességeinek, sarkítva úgy is fogalmazhatunk, hogy a Vonóstrió írott alakja mindig jobb lesz a megszólaltatottnál. Nyilván ezzel függ össze, hogy a kompozíció papíríz?.”
Hangversenyciklus 2008a Magyar Rádió kortárs zenei sorozata
“If eminent thoroughness is a conservative mark, Frank Stemper’s String Trio tows that mark from the first sound through the last. Every moment of this work is precisely composed leaving little doubt as to the composer’s intentions. However, does this conclude that that precise written score will always be better than the realization by the performers? Is there then too little room for the added expression of the performers? The performers (American String Trio) effectively and artistically delivered the composers intentions.”
— performed live by The American Trio on HUNGARIAN NATIONAL RADIO – BARTOK I
Concert Cycle 2008 the contemporary music series of Magyar Rádió
"The Stemper retrospective was one of the finest concerts of contemporary music I’d heard in quite some time. Stemper’s music has matured over the years without losing its mischievousness, with many of its strongest qualities intact and in bold, sharp relief."
--Kevin Lynch, CULTURE CURRENTS, MAY 2012
The New Music Circle All-Stemper- 60th Brithday Concert
Lucy Shelton and the Altgeld Chamber Players
Kranzberg Center for the Arts, 7 April 2012, St. Louis
“Trylongenesis” des jungen Americaners Franz Stemper faszinierte nicht nur durch technischw und klangliche Brillanz, sondern auch durch das unüberhörbare Amüsement des Komponisten am Ausspielen der verschiedensten Klangregionen der Orgel, woran offensichlich auch der Interpret seine Freude hatte.
Vorarlberger Nachrichten 5 July 1990
“Trylongenesis,” by the young American Frank Stemper, fascinated the listeners not only with its technical intensity as well as the brilliance of sound, but also by the unmistakable fun the composer had in using the most divergent sound registers of the organ, a facet which obviously gave much joy to the performer, too.
— performed by Robert Roubos, concert organ, Vorarlberg AUSTRIA
"Trylongenesis" de Frank Stemper…ne-a prezeniat un moment din cautarile pretuite ale unei noi generatii de compozitori Americani.
Muzica – August 1988
"Trylongenesis" by Frank Stemper,…seemed to us to be a valuable moment of clarity, representing a new generation of American Composers.
— performed by Robert Roubos, concert organ, Bucharest ROMANIA