Stephen Taylor

Stephen Taylor

Fellow: Awarded 2014
Field of Study: Music Composition

Competition: US & Canada

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Stephen Andrew Taylor composes music that explores boundaries between art and science. His first orchestra commission, Unapproachable Light, inspired by images from the Hubble Space Telescope and the New Testament, was premiered by the American Composers Orchestra in 1996 in Carnegie Hall. Other works include the chamber quartet Quark Shadows, commissioned by the Chicago Symphony and premiered in 2001; and Seven Memorials, a 32-minute cycle for piano inspired by the work of Maya Lin and premiered by Gloria Cheng in Los Angeles, 2004; she also performed the work at Tanglewood in 2006. The Machine Awakes, a CD of his orchestra, chamber, and electronic music was released in 2010 on Albany Records; and Paradises Lost, a new opera based on a novella by Ursula K. Le Guin, was premiered in Portland, Oregon and at the University of Illinois in 2012; it was featured at Toronto’s SummerWorks festival on August 13, 2013, conducted by the composer.

Besides composing for traditional instruments, Taylor also works with live electronics in pieces such as Sonic Hedgehog for flute, harp and electronics, to be premiered by the Aletheia Duo in Sydney, Australia, in 2014. He is also active as a conductor with the Illinois Modern Ensemble, and as a theorist, writing and lecturing on György Ligeti, African rhythm, Björk, and Radiohead. In popular music he has collaborated on concerts and albums with Pink Martini, rock singer Storm Large, and the Von Trapps.

Born in 1965, he grew up in Illinois and studied at Northwestern and Cornell universities, and the California Institute of the Arts; his teachers include Steven Stucky, Karel Husa, Mel Powell, Bill Karlins, and Alan Stout. His music has won awards from Northwestern, Cornell, Conservatoire Américain de Fontainebleau, American Academy of Arts and Letters, Composers, Inc., Debussy Trio, Howard Foundation, College Band Directors National Association, New York State Federation of Music Clubs, Illinois Arts Council, American Music Center, and ASCAP. Among his commissions are works for Northwestern University, University of Illinois, Syracuse Society for New Music, Pink Martini and the Oregon Symphony, Quad City Symphony, Chicago Symphony, Quartet New Generation and the New Philharmonic, Piano Spheres, and American Composers Orchestra. Taylor is Associate Professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he lives with his spouse, artist Hua Nian, and their two children.


Scroll to Top