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Stephen JaffeStephen Jaffe

Title: Mary and James H. Semans Professor of Music Composition
Office Location: 079 Mary Duke Biddle Music Building
Office Phone: (919) 660-3317
Email Address:
Web Page:
Office Hours:

By appointment.


  • (Terminal) University of Pennsylvania, 1978
  • A.B., summa cum laude, with distinction in Music University of Pennsylvania, 1977

Research Interests

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. issued in May 2008. The recording involved collaboration with 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).

Awards, Honors, and Distinctions

  • Hilda Honigman Cup, North Carolina Music Teachers Association, October, 2013
  • American Academy of Arts & Letters, Elected to Membership, May, 2012
  • Artist Fellowship, Bogliasco Foundation (Centro di Studi Ligure), November-December, 2010
  • Composer in Residence, Composers Conference at Wellesley College, August, 2008
  • Koussevitsky International Recording Award, Musicians Club of New York, November, 2006
  • Composer of the Year, 2005, Classical Recording Society, November 2005
  • Howard Foundation Fellowship, Brown University, 1996
  • American Academy Institute of Arts & Letters Lifetime Achievement Prize, May 1993
  • Kennedy Center Friedheim Award, First Quartet, May 1991
  • Brandeis University Creative Arts Citation, May 1989
  • Guggenheim Fellowship, May, 1984
  • Rome Prize, American Academy in Rome, 1980-81
  • Premier Medaille d’harmonie, Conservatoire de Genève, May 1972

Teaching (Spring 2015):

  (typical courses)

  • Music 89s.02, First-year seminar (top) Synopsis
    Biddle 101, WF 01:25 PM-02:40 PM

Teaching (Fall 2015):

  • Music 162s.01, Introduction to composition Synopsis
    Biddle 086, TuTh 04:40 PM-05:55 PM

Selected Professional Work:



  • Stephen Jaffe. HIP Concerto (Chamber Concerto No. 3). 2014 . [available here]  [author's comments]
  • Stephen Jaffe. DESIGNS II. 2012 .  [abs] [author's comments]
  • Stephen Jaffe. Concerto for Cello and Orchestra. 2004 . [available here]  [abs]
  • Stephen Jaffe. Concerto for Violin and Orchestra. 2000 . [available here]  [abs]
  • Stephen Jaffe. Homage to the Breath. 2001 . [available here]  [abs]
  • Stephen Jaffe. Cíthera mea (Evocations): Spanish Music Notebook for Orchestra. Fall, 2008 . [PDF]
  • Stephen Jaffe. Light Dances (Chamber Concerto No. 2).  Merion Music, Inc. (Theodore Presser Co.), 2009 . [watch]  [abs] [author's comments]
  • Stephen Jaffe. SONATA (in Four Parts) for cello and piano.  144-40545 - piano score and part Merion Music, Inc. (Theodore Presser Co.), Spring, 2008 . [index.cfm]  [author's comments]
  •  Stephen Jaffe, Volume III. Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Poetry of the Piedmont, Homage to the Breath, and Cut Time.  Bridge Records, 2008 .  [abs]
  •  Concerto for Violin and Orchestra and Chamber Concerto ("Singing Figures").  Bridge Records, Inc. 9141, 2004 .  [abs]
  •  First Quartet for string quartet, Ciompi Quartet.  American Music for String Quartet Albany Records, Troy CD 073, 1993 .
  •  The Rhythm Of The Running Plough, Double Sonata, and Four Songs With Ensemble, Bridge CD BCD 9047. Speculum Musicae, D’Anna Fortunato, Anton Nel, Barry Snyder, Prism Orchestra (1994).  The Music of Stephen Jaffe Bridge Records, Inc., 1994 . (Bridge 9047)
  •  Spinoff for guitar, on Newdance: 18 Dances for Guitar Bridge 9084. David Starobin, guitar (1998) Grammy Award Nomination, 1999.  Bridge Records, Inc. 9084, .
  •  Three Figures and A Ground, Patricia Spencer, flute, Linda Hall, piano.  The Now and Present Flute Neuma 450-88., 1994 .
  •  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 .
  •  Designs and Three Figures and A Ground.  AUR (Arizona University Recordings) AUR CD 3123, 2006 . (Christine Gustafson, flute, Christopher Deane, percussion and William Anderson, guitar)
  • Stephen Jaffe. Quattro Mani: Kindred Spirits.  Bridge, 2008 .  [abs]
  •  Centering, for two violins, Linda Quan, Curtis Macomber, violins. C.R.I. 513. 1983 . [album.jsp]
  •  Impromptu for piano, on Strange Attractors: New American Music for Piano, Albany CD (Troy 231). Patricia Goodson, piano (1997). 1997 .
  • Light Dances (Chamber Concerto No. 2), Network for New Music, Philadelphia, 2009
  • Cíthera mea (Evocations): Spanish Music Notebook para orquesta/for orchestra, Meymandi Concert Hall/ Progress Ctr for the Arts, Raleigh, NC, October, 2008
    Grant Llewellyn conducted the orchestra in three performances of this 18' work, October 2-3-4, 2008. The commission was by the North Carolina Symphony and the Nasher Museum of Art. There is a short film prelude by the German visual artist, Thomas Struth which is part of the collaboration.
  • SONATA (in Four Parts), Kennedy Center Chamber Players, May 17, 2008
    Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center. David Hardy, cello, Lambert Orkis, piano.
  • Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, David Hardy, Cello, National Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin, Music Director, January 8-10, 2004
  • Poetry of the Piedmont (Poesis Piementosa), , 2006
    North Carolina Symphony Orchestra, Grant Llewellyn, Music Director.
  • String Quartet No. 2 ("Sylvan and Aeolian Figures"), Philadelphia Chamber Music Society Commission for Miami Quartet, 2005
  • Homage to the Breath: Instrumental and Vocal Meditations for Mezzo soprano and Ten Instruments, Barlow Endowment, Brigham Young University and Twentieth Century Consort (Washington, DC), 2001
  • Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, Greensboro Symphony Orchestra, Stuart Malina Music Director, 1999
  • Songs of Turning, Oregon Bach Festival and Fromm Foundation, Harvard University, 1995
  • Chamber Concerto ("Singing Figures") for Oboe and Six Instruments, Orchestra of St. Luke's, New York, 1994
    Compositions Performed
  • Concerto for Cello and Orchestra, Slovenska filharmonjia, David Hardy Cello, Toshiro Yonezu, cond., January 11, 2007
  • String Quartet No. 2 ("Sylvan and Aeolian Figures"), Miami Quartet, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and other venues, March, 2006 - April, 2006
  • CONCERTO for Violoncello and Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin, Kennedy Center, Washington, 2004/01/08
  • Composers Conference and Chamber Music Center, Wellesley College, 2008
  • Chamber Music Festival of the East, Bennington College, 2000
  • Composer in Residence, Oregon Bach Festival, 1996

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