Christopher Adler (San Diego, CA): composer, performer, improviser.


Christopher Adler is a composer, performer and improviser living in San Diego, California. His music draws upon over a decade 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. As pianist and composer-in-residence with NOISE and co-founder of the soundON Festival of Modern Music he has promoted the works of emerging composers, and as an improviser on piano and as a conductor he has performed with many of the West coast's finest improvisers. Christopher Adler's compositions encompass cross-culturally hybrid forms drawn from contemporary concert music and traditional musics of Thailand and Laos, algorithmic composition, and the integration of improvisation into structured composition. His compositions have been broadcast and webcast internationally on WGBH's Art of the States and may be heard on his 2008 CD Ecstatic Volutions in a Neon Haze (Innova) and his 2004 CD Epilogue for a Dark Day (Tzadik). His retrospective analysis of his first ten years of cross-cultural composition has been included in John Zorn's Arcana II: Musicians on Music (Hips Road, 2007). As the world's leading innovator in the creation and performance of contemporary khaen repertoire, 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 across the U.S. and Thailand. He continues to promote the instrument through the commissioning of new works, having recently premiered a work by Sidney Marquez Boquiren and recording a work by David Loeb for the Vienna Modern Masters label. As a soloist and pianist with the San Diego New Music resident ensemble NOISE he has recorded compositions by Derek Keller (Tzadik) and Nathan Hubbard (Circumvention/Accretions). He recently co-founded the soundON Festival of Modern Music, presenting four days of performances and workshops centered on the works of emerging composers, and is one of the only pianists in the world performing Tom Johnson's Chord Catalogue. 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). A site-specific solo khaen improvisation recorded aboard the Artship in Oakland, CA is available from Artship Recordings, and Gunther's Grass may be heard on the compilation Rubble 2 (Accretions). Christopher Adler is currently a Professor at the University of San Diego. 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, Stephen Jaffe, Sidney Corbett, Evan Ziporyn, Thai music with Panya Roongruang, and pipe organ with James David Christie and Haig Mardirosian.

Describe your music

Aeneas in the Underworld, for guitar with Latin oration; Mirror/Fall, for oboe and trombone; Once, in a Grove of Tamarisk, for percussion trio; Strata, for extended-range glockenspiel