Stephen Jaffe

Mary D. B. T. and James H. Semans Professor of Music Composition, in Trinity College of Arts and Sciences

Office: 
079 Mary Duke Biddle, Durham, NC 27708
Campus Box: 
90665
Phone: 
(919) 660-3317
Office Hours: 
By appointment.

My recent collaborations have been with the National Symphony Orchestra, The North Carolina Symphony, and the Kennedy Center Chamber Players, and have included orchestral works (Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Poetry of the Piedmont, and Cut Time) as well as chamber music (String Quartet No. 2 ("Sylvan and Aeolian Figures"). Fortunately, I am also able to pursue recording of my music, and to collaborate with other musicians on recording projects. This is ongoing, in particular with the third volume of recordings for Bridge, Inc. and recent release of Elation on Albany in 2014, including Four Pieces Quasi Sonata for viola and piano.  These recordings have involved collaboration with my Duke colleagues,  the 21st Century Consort (an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution), the North Carolina Symphony, and and the Odense Symphony Orchestra of Denmark. I see my life as a composer involving creation; collaboration, and advocacy for the art of music (including education, curation, and engagement with musical institutions).  

To find out about any of my works, please consult the website Stephen Jaffe, Composer or related sites by Theodore Presser Company and Bridge Records.  Most of the music is in print; for availability consult the Theodore Presser Company website.

To read about activities involving a form of teaching about which I am very devoted, please see the statement under Mentoring.

Education

  • M.A. 1978, University of Pennsylvania
  • B.A. 1977, University of Pennsylvania

Rhodes, T, and Williams, E. "New Music, Tailor Made: Fort Juniper Songs of Stephen Jaffe." NATS Journal (National Association of Teachers of Singing) Vol. 50, (January 1994). (Academic Article)

Jaffe, S. "Conversation Between J.S. and S.J. On The New Tonality." Ed. N Osborne. Contemporary Music Review 6 (1992): 27-38. (Academic Article)

Elation. Composer. About Elation (2014)

Abstract

CD recording: Albany/Troy 1483

String Quartet No. 2 ("Aeolian and Sylvan Figures"). Composer. In Jordan Hall With Borromeo Quartet (2012)

Abstract

S. Jaffe, String Quartet No. 2 ("Aeolian and Sylvan Figures") (September 23, 2012). Recording Session Held, Jordan Hall, New England Conservatory of Music. Borromeo String Quartet.

Quattro Mani: Kindred Spirits. Composer. Bridge Records (2008)

Abstract

Stephen Jaffe, Quattro Mani: Kindred Spirits, vol. 9260 (2008), Bridge. Contains "Cut-Time Shout" for two pianos

The Music of Stephen Jaffe Volume III. Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Poetry of the Piedmont, Homage to the Breath, and Cut Time. Composer. Bridge Records, Stephen Jaffe Volume III (2008)

Abstract

Stephen Jaffe, Volume III. Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Poetry of the Piedmont, Homage to the Breath, and Cut Time, vol. 3 no. 9255 (2008), Bridge Records. First Recordings, Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Poetry of the Piedmont, Homage to the Breath

Guitar in USA. Composer. (2008)

Abstract

S. Jaffe, Spinoff, Guitar in USA (2008) (GMR 3193.). Phillipe Azoulay, Guitar

Designs and Three Figures and A Ground. Composer. (2006)

Abstract

Designs and Three Figures and A Ground (2006), AUR (Arizona University Recordings) AUR CD 3123 (Christine Gustafson, flute, Christopher Deane, percussion and William Anderson, guitar.)

The Music of Stephen Jaffe, Volume 2. Composer. Bridge Volume 2 (2004)

Abstract

Concerto for Violin and Orchestra and Chamber Concerto ("Singing Figures"), vol. II (2004), Bridge Records, Inc. 9141

Newdance: 18 Dances for Guitar Bridge 9084. Composer. Bridge Records (1998)

Abstract

Spinoff for guitar, on Newdance: 18 Dances for Guitar Bridge 9084. David Starobin, guitar (1998) Grammy Award Nomination, 1999 , Bridge Records, Inc. 9084

Score published by Theodore Presser Company: 144-40361

Strange Attractors. Composer. Link to Patricia Goodson's Strange Attractors (1997)

Abstract

Impromptu for piano, on Strange Attractors: New American Music for Piano, Albany CD (Troy 231). Patricia Goodson, piano (1997) (1997)

To Sun, To Feast & To Converse Albany CD. Composer, Performing artist. Amazon.com (1995)

Abstract

Fort Juniper Songs for soprano, mezzo-soprano and piano, on To Sun, To Feast & To Converse Albany CD (Troy 172). Terry Rhodes, soprano, Ellen Williams, mezzo-soprano, Stephen Jaffe, piano (1995) (1995)

Pages

By the Grace of Others. Composer. (2007)

Abstract

A duet inspired by and choreographed to "Concerto for Violin and Orchestra," 2nd Movement, by Duke faculty composer Stephen Jaffe. Performed with the first movement of the same work, choreographed in 2003.

By the Grace of Others. Composer. (2007)

Abstract

A duet inspired by and choreographed to "Concerto for Violin and Orchestra," 2nd Movement, by Duke faculty composer Stephen Jaffe. Performed with the first movement of the same work, choreographed in 2003.

String Quartet No. 3 ("A Tapestry"). Composer. First performances (2014)

Abstract

Stephen Jaffe STRING QUARTET No. 3 (“A Tapestry”)

I. Prelude (fragments)
II. Scherzo I: poised and graceful, but impish (“scherzino”)
III. Joy of rhythm
IV. Ribbons (watercolor)
V. Scherzo II (“scherzone”- with night blues)
VI. Postlude (with light of dove and the rose)
STRING QUARTET No. 3 (“A Tapestry”) is a gathering of musical fragments woven into a whole. Framed by a Prelude and Postlude, the longest of the six movements lasts about five minutes, the shortest, one minute or so. Musical ideas and phrases migrate across the movements, in the service of the moment and the whole experience.

The six movements of A Tapestry are Prelude (Fragments)—Scherzo I (“Scherzino”, or Little scherzo)—Joy of Rhythm—Ribbons (watercolor)—Scherzo II (“Scherzone” or Big scherzo-with Night Blues)—Postlude (with light of dove and the rose). The descriptive titles of each movement require little explanation, except two. Within the otherwise wild and shifting energy of Scherzo II comes Night Blues, inspired as a memory-portrait of a performance given by the Ciompi Quartet and cellist Norman Fischer on September 14, 2001. The whole world seemed to depend on one note’s timing! The Postlude’s main section also bears a subtitle. This part of the music is a free transcription for quartet of a song I composed to Richard Wilbur’s translation from the French of Villiers de l’Isle Adam, which includes the lines “If, like the flower which grows/ In the exile soil of graves/ You beg to share my woes…I’ll bring you a gift of doves.”

String Quartet No. 3 (“A Tapestry”) is dedicated to my friends, the Ciompi Quartet.

(-S.J.)

HIP Concerto (Chamber Concerto No. 3). Composer, Conductor. Upcoming Performance, October 2015 (2014)

Abstract

HIP Concerto (Chamber Concerto No. 3) (2013) for J.S. Bach inspired ensemble of Historical or Modern Instruments: Recorder/Transverse Fl., Baroque Oboe, Baroque Trumpet (D and C), Baroque Violin, Baroque Viola, Baroque Cello, Violone, Harpsichord. (17′) (May also be performed with modern flute, oboe, and trumpet, and modern strings; the solo strings may augmented as well.)

Commissioned by: Mallarmé Chamber Players for the North Carolina HIP Festival, February, 2014
Premiere: North Carolina HIP Festival, February 2014

The Composer As Artist in the Public Arena: Working with Text as Sound, Narrative, and Musical Potential. Composer, Musician. (2012)

Abstract

With Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, mezzo-soprano and Daniel Thomas Davis, piano, in a presentation of music by faculty (Davis and Jaffe), and members of the Music 295 Seminar "The Composer As Artist in the Public Arena: Working with Text as Sound, Narrative."

DESIGNS II. Composer. (2012)

Abstract

S. Jaffe, DESIGNS II (2012). for Clarinet/Bass Clarinet, Guitar/Electric Guitar, and Percussion

STILL LIFE WITH BLUE (for Orchestra) aka: SOUTHERN LIGHTS. Composer. (2012)

Abstract

STILL LIFE WITH BLUE (for Orchestra) aka: SOUTHERN LIGHTS Durham Symphony Orchestra, WiIliam Henry Currry, Cond.
A separate version of the work, THREE PIECES from STILL LIFE WITH BLUE, was created for children. KidZNotes and the Durham Symphony Orchestra performed the work side by side in April 2012 in a free public concert at the Emily Kryzewski Center in Durham.

Summer Voices. Composer. Silent Partners (2012)

Abstract

Stephen Jaffe, Summer Voices (2012).
Instrumentation: Flute/alto flute, Clarinet in Bb, Trumpet in C, Percussion, Harp, Guitar, Violin, Viola, Cello, Mezzo-soprano solo, SATB Chorus or Chamber Chorus. Duration: about 20 minutes.

The thirteen movements comprising Summer Voices alternate between instrumental and choral ones. Following the short Fragmentary Prelude, and beginning with No. 2, the sequence follows clearly between movements deriving from a vocalise in march-like tempo (call it “Alla Marcia”), and a separate narrative using Richard Wilbur’s quiet, intense, poems. The instrumental music is by turns fanciful, lyrical, angular. The complimentary Wilbur poems inhabit a different space, and are set for the chorus and mezzo-soprano with a sense of quiet; miniature still-lifes drawn from nature. Heard in alternation, the two intercut narratives of Summer Voices are never really joined, but have something to say to each other, as a conversation between nature and art may absorb us on a summer evening. The march-like material comes to a culmination in the twelfth movement, prior to the concluding Wilbur section, “The Gifts”, actually the poet’s English translation of a poem by the 19th century French poet Villiers de l’Isle Adam. The gifts are an Ancient ballad, a dew-filled rose, and doves.

Thanks is given the Monadnock Music Festival, where in 2009 an earlier version of “Who Cooks for You?” was presented, with Mr. Wilbur in attendance to read his poem prior to the performance.

Cameo. Composer. da Capo Chamber Players (2011)

Abstract

Stephen Jaffe, Cameo (2011). Da Capo Chamber Players, Merkin Hall NY. The work, for two antiphonal cellists and ensemble, was conceived as a passing of the torch from longtime Da Capo cellist Andre Emelianoff to James Wilson, the group's new cellist. Jaf

Who Cooks for You?. Composer. Richard Wilbur poems: "Who Cooks for You?" by Stephen Jaffe (2009)

Abstract

Stephen Jaffe, Who Cooks for You? (2009). Contribution to Richard Wilbur celebration, Monadnock music. For mezzo-soprano, alto flute, viola and guitar.
Stephen Jaffe, Light Dances (Chamber Concerto No. 2) (2009), Merion Music, Inc. (Theodore Presser Co.)

Light Dances (Chamber Concerto No. 2). Composer. Silent Partners (2009)

Abstract

Light Dances (Chamber Concerto No. 2), 2009, Network for New Music, Philadelphia

SONATA (in Four Parts) for cello and piano. Composer. The Kennedy Center Chamber Playaers perform Works by Jaffe, Shumann, and more (2008)

Abstract

Stephen Jaffe, SONATA (in Four Parts) for cello and piano, 144-40545 - piano score and part (Spring, 2008), Merion Music, Inc. (Theodore Presser Co.).

Program Listing

SONATA (in four parts) Stephen Jaffe

I. Fantasque (strange dialogue; not what it seems; fast zu ernst)
II. Breathing, still, undulating
III. Strutting (pizzicato caprice)
IV. Finale(gradually assuming a running tempo)

Pages

Figure-Ground. Composer. Stephen Jaffe, Composer (2015)

Abstract

For Flute, Violin, Viola, and Cello. First performed in Francestown, New Hampshire and in Durham (Ciompi Quartet, Summer Concerts), July 2015. The 10 minute work is a new arrangement of two of pieces from Three Figures and A Ground (1988).

The Composer As Artist in the Public Arena: Working with Text as Sound, Narrative, and Musical Potential. Composer, Musician. (2012)

Abstract

With Jacqueline Horner-Kwiatek, mezzo-soprano and Daniel Thomas Davis, piano, in a presentation of music by faculty (Davis and Jaffe), and members of the Music 295 Seminar "The Composer As Artist in the Public Arena: Working with Text as Sound, Narrative."