Mar 14, 2009

Travis Alford

Travis Alford (b. 1983) is a composer, trumpet player, and improviser in the Boston area. Growing up in Spring Hope, NC, he began playing the trumpet at the age of 11 in school concert and jazz bands, community groups, and in church. In college he discovered he was much better at composing than playing the trumpet (though he still tries). His compositions have been heard at venues across the United States and beyond including: the Summer Institute for Contemporary Performance Practice, the Exploring Trumpet International Seminar in Kalavrita, Greece, the NewMusic@ECU Festival, the Western Carolina University Trumpet Festival, East Carolina University, Brandeis University, and New England Conservatory's Jordan Hall.

As a performer, Travis has played with the ECU Symphonic Wind Ensemble, various chamber and jazz ensembles, and has subbed with the North Carolina "Pops" Orchestra. While at NEC he was a member of The Forge, a contemporary improvisation collective under the direction of Tanya Kalmanovitch, which aims to navigate the waters between composition and improvisation, and to bridge the divides between any and all musical genres. Current projects include Test Pattern, a composer/performer collaboration with composers Dan VanHassel (piano) and Mu-Xuan Lin (voice), and the experimental & collaborative music series COMPROVISED (BOS & NY), of which Travis is co-founder (in collaboration with violist Tanya Kalmanovitch) and Artistic Director. He is also co-founder of the Park Street Brass Ensemble, based at Park Street Church in Boston, where he is also on the leadership board of the arts ministry, which helps to connect, involve, and promote artists within the church.

Travis holds degrees from the New England Conservatory (MM, Music Composition 2008) and East Carolina University (BM, Music Theory/Composition 2005), and is currently working toward a PhD. in composition at Brandeis University. His principle composition teachers have included Eric Chasalow, David Rakowski, Lee Hyla, Edward Jacobs, Mark Richardson, and Mark Taggart. He has studied trumpet formally with Britton Theurer, and informally with Brian McWhorter and Jon Nelson. He has also studied Contemporary Improvisation with Tanya Kalmanovitch.

Travis resides in Watertown, MA with his lovely wife, Lauren.

Transitions (2006-2007)
2005-06 was a time of transitions for me. I graduated from college, became engaged, got married, moved to Boston, and began graduate study. It was also a year of emotional transition and loss, as my high school music teacher, friend, and colleague, Michael Lancaster, passed away unexpectedly. Mike or “L” as he was affectionately known was a jazz aficionado and a rocker at heart, which heavily influenced my early musical upbringing. His passion for music however transcended these genres, and he helped instill in me the idea that "music is music," some good, some bad, while any further labels/genres are inadequate at best, and ultimately unimportant. I do not wish to get into much formal discussion of the work except to say this: Michael once told me, when he found I was going into composition, that he knew I would get into "new" music, but to remember to "write something with a melody". Although I feel most of my music is "melodic", I knew what he meant. So for this piece, the destination is the trumpet (Mike's instrument) melody at the end. L, I hope you enjoy.