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Christopher Adler is a composer, performer and improviser living in San Diego, California. His music draws upon fifteen years of research into the traditional musics of Thailand and Laos and a background in mathematics. He is internationally recognized as a foremost performer of new and traditional music for the khaen, a free-reed mouth organ from Laos and Northeast Thailand. He is the pianist and composer-in-residence with NOISE and co-founder of the soundON Festival of Modern Music in San Diego, and Director of Composition for the annual nief-norf Summer Festival in Greenville, SC.
Christopher Adler's compositions encompass cross-culturally hybrid forms drawn from contemporary concert music and traditional musics of Thailand and Laos, the application of mathematics to composition, and the integration of improvisation into structured composition. His works have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Chicago Symphony Center, Tanglewood, Merkin Hall, Sumida Triphony Hall in Tokyo, Bang on a Can, the MATA Festival, and at new music festivals and universities across the U.S. and Canada by ensembles including the Silk Road Ensemble, red fish blue fish, Ensemble ACJW, Ensemble 64.8, the nief-norf ensemble, the Van Buren String Quartet, the Pangaea Quartet, pulsoptional, NOISE and the Seattle Creative Orchestra. His percussion qunitet Pines Long Slept in Sunshine was commissioned by an international consortium of ten percussion ensembles led by the University of Kentucky. In 2006, he was commissioned by Carnegie Hall through The Weill Music Institute in partnership with the Silk Road Project, Inc. to compose Music for a Royal Palace, a virtuoso realization for Chinese and Western instruments of a classical Thai composition. He recently completed Aeneas in the Underworld, Act I, a virtuoso solo setting of the sixth book of Virgil’s Aeneid for prepared guitar with Latin oration, premiered by Colin McAllister.
His compositions have been released on the 2008 CD Ecstatic Volutions in a Neon Haze (Innova) and the 2004 CD Epilogue for a Dark Day (Tzadik), and have been broadcast and webcast internationally on WGBH’s Art of the States, WNYC, WQXR's Q2 and BBC-3. His retrospective analysis of his first ten years of cross-cultural composition has been published in John Zorn’s Arcana II: Musicians on Music (Hips Road, 2007), and he has published in the journal Sonic Ideas.
Christopher Adler is the world's leading innovator in contemporary concert music for the khaen. He has performed his own compositions and traditional repertoire at Carnegie Hall, the Bang on a Can Marathon, Music at the Anthology, the Cultural Center of Chicago, the Renaissance Society at the University of Chicago, and at many other universities in the U.S., Thailand and Singapore. He has promoted the instrument by commissioning and recording new works by composers such as Sidney Marquez Boquiren, Christopher Burns, Jeff Herriott, and Matthew Welch. His recordings of compositions by David Loeb have been released on Vienna Modern Masters.
As a soloist and as pianist with the San Diego New Music resident ensemble, NOISE, he has appeared at the International Festival of Chihuahua, the University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University, the University of California at Santa Cruz, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the University of California at San Diego, and the California Institute of the Arts. He has recorded compositions by Derek Keller (Tzadik) and Nathan Hubbard (Circumvention/Accretions), and by Stuart Saunders Smith, Christopher Burns and Juan Campoverde Q. for forthcoming releases. In 2007, he co-founded the soundON Festival of Modern Music, presented annually in La Jolla, California, and he is one of the only pianists in the world performing Tom Johnson’s Chord Catalogue.
He performs improvised music on piano and khaen and is a frequent collaborator with woodwind player Alan Lechusza and with drummer Vikas Srivastava as the Christopher Adler Trio. He has conducted large improvising ensemble projects by Alan Lechusza and Nathan Hubbard, and has performed with such prominent improvisers as Mark Dresser, George Lewis, Anthony Davis, Vinny Golia, Michael Vlatkovich, Christopher Garcia, and Gustavo Aguilar. His piano improvisations may be heard on Mineralia (pfMENTUM) and Pleistocene, by the Alan Lechusza/ Christopher Adler Duo, and on Transcontinental, by the Christopher Adler Trio (Nine Winds), and his improvisations on khaen have been released by Artship Recordings and Accretions.
Christopher Adler is currently Professor of Music at the University of San Diego where he teaches composition, sound art, theory, twentieth-century music, and world music. He received Ph.D. and Master’s degrees in composition from Duke University and Bachelor’s degrees in music composition and mathematics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He studied composition with Scott Lindroth, Evan Ziporyn, Stephen Jaffe, Sidney Corbett, Thai music with Panya Roongruang, and pipe organ with James David Christie and Haig Mardirosian.
Christopher Adler is a composer, performer and improviser living in San Diego, California. His compositions encompass cross-culturally hybrid forms drawn from contemporary concert music and traditional musics of Thailand and Laos, the application of mathematics to composition, and the integration of improvisation into structured composition. He is a foremost performer of traditional and new music for the khaen, a free-reed mouth organ from Laos and Northeast Thailand. He is the pianist and composer-in-residence for the ensemble NOISE, the composer-in-residence of the nief-norf Summer Festival, and he co-organized the soundON Festival of Modern Music for six years. He studied with Scott Lindroth, Evan Ziporyn, Steven Jaffe and Sidney Corbett and is currently Professor of Music at the University of San Diego. His work may be heard on Tzadik, Innova, pfMENTUM, Nine Winds Records, Artship Recordings, Vienna Modern Masters, Circumvention, Accretions, and WGBH's Art of the States. www.christopheradler.com