Stephen Jaffe

Stephen Jaffe

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

External Address: 
079 Mary Duke Biddle, Durham, NC 27708
Internal Office Address: 
Box 90665, Durham, NC 27708-0665
(919) 660-3317

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.


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

The Rhythm of the Running Plough. Composer. Theodore Presser Company (1987)


Version for Chamber Orchestra

Three Yiddish Songs (Chamber Version). Composer. (1987)


Three Yiddish Songs (Chamber Version), 1987

Impromptu for piano. Composer. Theodore Presser Co. Published score (1986)


First performed by James Primosch, piano, Free Library of Philadelphia.

Published score by Theodore Presser: 140-40077

Autumnal for Orchestra. Composer. (1985)

Three Figures & A Ground for flute and piano. Composer. Theodore Presser Company (1985)


Three Figures & A Ground for flute and piano, 1985, National Endowment for the Arts Consortium Commission

Published by Theodore Presser Company: 144-40170. The fourth movement, Introduction and the Ground, may be played as a separate piece.

The Rhythm of the Running Plough. Composer. Theodore Presser Company (1985)


The Rhythm of the Running Plough, 1985. Original version for four players flute (alto flute & piccolo), violin, cello and percussion. The chamber orchestra version dates from 1987.

A Nonesuch Serenade. Composer. (1982)


A Nonesuch Serenade, 1982, Nonesuch Commission, American Music Center

Arch for large chamber ensemble. Composer. Photo with conductor John Harbison, Composer-pianist Stephen Jaffe, and guest Hans Werner Henze, Rome 1981 (1981)


Arch for large chamber ensemble, 1981. First Performance at the American Academy in Rome, Spring, 1981.

Ballade: Quartet from Arch. Composer. Theodore Presser Company Publication (1981)


for violin, cello, clarinet and piano, 12'. Originally published by MMB, this composition was taken over by Theodore Presser Company.

For the dedicatee, Diachronos Ensemble, Jaffe has adapted a movement from his larger work, Arch. According to the composer, "The poetic title BALLADE was chosen here because of the wistful, reflective, and turbulent qualities of the music, but also because of the virtuosic nature of the piano’s part, which which the violin, clarinet, and cello interact." For advanced performers. Duration: 12' (publisher's website).

Partita for cello, piano and percussion. Composer. (1980)


Partita for cello, piano and percussion, 1980, Da Capo Chamber Players, New York (assisted by N.E.A.)