Stephen Abram Jaffe (born December 30, 1954 in Washington, D.C.) is an American composer of contemporary classical music. He lives in Durham, North Carolina, USA, and serves on the music faculty of Duke University, where he holds the post of Mary and James H. Semans Professor of Music Composition; his colleagues there include composers Scott Lindroth and Anthony Kelley. Jaffe graduated summa cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 1977; he received a master's degree the following year from the same institution. During his time in Pennsylvania, he studied with George Crumb, George Rochberg, and Richard Wernick.
Jaffe's music has been performed across the United States, Europe, and China (including the Nottingham, Tanglewood, and Oregon Bach Festivals) by ensembles including the National Symphony Orchestra, the R.A.I. of Rome, the North Carolina Symphony, the San Francisco Symphony, the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, the Miami String Quartet, and the Ciompi Quartet. He has received awards and commissions, and recordings of his works are available, including a three-volume retrospective of his work The Music of Stephen Jaffe from Bridge Records.
Awards and recognition
- Poetry of the Piedmont (2006) for orchestra – commissioned by North Carolina Symphony
- String Quartet No. 2 (Sylvan and Aeolian Figures) (2005) – written for the Miami String Quartet, commissioned by the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society
- Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra (2004) – premiered by the National Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin, with soloist David Hardy
- Designs (2002) for flute, guitar and percussion – premiered at the National Arts Center of Taiwan, 2002
- Homage to the Breath: Instrumental and Vocal Meditations for Mezzo-soprano and Ten Instruments (2001) – featuring a text by Thich Nhat Hanh, premiered at the Hirshhorn Museum of Art in Washington, DC
- Concerto for Violin and Orchestra (2000) – premiered by soloist Nicholas Kitchen with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra
- Songs of Turning (1996) for chorus and orchestra
- Chamber Concerto ("Singing Figures") (1996) for solo oboe and chamber ensemble – recorded by Speculum Musicae
- The Reassurance (1995) – contribution to the AIDS Quilt Songbook
- First Quartet (1991) – commissioned and premiered by the Ciompi Quartet
- Three Figures and a Ground (1989) for flute and piano
- Rhythm of the Running Plough (1985)
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