• Hometown: Needham, MA
• Current Location: Tempe, AZ
• Assistant Professor of Composition at Arizona State University
• Publishing Company / PRO: Colony Box Music & ADJ•ective New Music
• Northwestern University (D.M.A.)
• University of Michigan (M.A.)
• Yale University (B.A.)
A sound can evoke a time, a place, a cultural moment, or a worldview. As someone who loves both the Western classical tradition and the world of pop culture, Alex Temple (b. 1983) has always felt uncomfortable with stylistic hierarchies and the idea of a pure musical language. She prefers to look for points of connection between things that aren’t supposed to belong together, distorting and combining iconic sounds to create new meanings — often in service of surreal, cryptic, or fantastical narratives. She’s particularly interested in reclaiming socially disapproved-of (“cheesy”) sounds, playing with the boundary between funny and frightening, investigating lost memories and secret histories, and telling queer and trans stories.
Alex’s work has been performed by a variety of soloists and ensembles, including Mellissa Hughes, Julia Holter, Isabel Leonard, Mabel Kwan, Amanda Gookin, wild Up, Spektral Quartet, Ensemble Dal Niente, the American Composers Orchestra, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. She has also performed her own works for voice and electronics in venues such as Roulette, Exapno, Galapagos Art Space, Gallery Cabaret, Constellation, and Experimental Sound Studio. As the keyboardist for the chamber-rock group The Sissy-Eared Mollycoddles, she performed at the South by Southwest Festival and Chicago’s Green Mill Cocktail Lounge; with a·pe·ri·od·ic, an ensemble dedicated to the performance of indeterminate music in the tradition of John Cage, she made sounds using her voice, synthesizers and household objects.
Alex got her BA from Yale University in 2005, where she studied with Kathryn Alexander and Matthew Suttor, and released two albums of electronic music on a microlabel that she ran out of her dorm room. In 2007 she completed her MA at University of Michigan, where she studied with Erik Santos and visiting professors Michael Colgrass, Tania León and Betsy Jolas, as well as collaborating with a troupe of dancers and playing in an indie bossa-nova band. After she left Ann Arbor, she spent two years working as the program manager for the New York Youth Symphony’s Making Score program for young composers. In 2017, she completed a DMA at Northwestern University, where she studied with Hans Thomalla and Jay Alan Yim, and taught aural skills, theory, composition for non-majors, and private composition lessons. In recently years she has taught at Luna Lab and National Sawdust’s BluePrint Fellowship, and she is currently an Assistant Professor of Composition at Arizona State University.