Alan Shockley was born in Virginia and spent childhood through early adulthood in Warm Springs, Georgia (pop.< 475). He holds degrees in both composition and theory from the University of Georgia, and advanced degrees in composition from Ohio State and Princeton University (M.F.A., Ph.D.). Shockley has held residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Atlantic Center, the Virginia Center for the Arts, Italy’s Centro Studi Ligure, and France’s Centre d’Art Marnay Art Centre (CAMAC), among others, and he has received grants from the American Music Center, Pittsburgh ProArts, the Mellon, and the Heinz Foundations.
His works have been performed at the International Society of Bassists Convention, the Composers Concordance Festival, Electronic Music Midwest, the American Choral Directors Association Conference, the Spark (Minneapolis), U3 (Pittsburgh), Montecito (California), Frontiera (Pisa), and Hear Now (Los Angeles) festivals, and at the American Academy in Rome, the University of Cape Town, the Fondation des États-Unis in Paris, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, New York City’s Merkin Hall, Columbia University’s Miller Theater, and other locations around the globe, including performances in Berlin, Sydney, Stellenbosch, Oxford, Montreal, Maribor, Munich, Bucharest, Essen, Toronto, and Amsterdam, among many others. His electronic works have been installed in Jack Straw Studio’s New Media Gallery in Seattle, Minneapolis’ Weisman Art Museum (for a Bob Dylan exhibition), as part of the International Computer Music Conference, and in Brooklyn’s VertexList Gallery, as well as in other venues across both North America and Europe. His little white house (underpass to the foundation), 1 p.m. for nine player toy pianos formed a part of Trimpin’s installation klavier nonette.
His works have garnered performances by the Nash Ensemble of London, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, Talujon Percussion, the Azure Ensemble, the What’s Next? Ensemble, the New York Miniaturist Ensemble, NOW Ensemble, Ensemble TM+, soprano Susan Narucki, cimbalomist Enikö Ginzery, marimbists Nancy Zeltsman and Laura Jordan, electric guitarists Steven Mackey and Colin McAllister, contrabassist Bertram Turetzky, and many others. His [peje iesus je] was recorded in a workshop performance by Paul Hillier and Theatre of Voices, and subsequently awarded “Top Honors” in the Waging Peace New Choral Music Competition. In recent years, Shockley has written works for such renowned performers as pianists Vicki Ray, Guy Livingston, and Mark Robson, violinists Ken Aiso and Roger Zahab, cellists Zoë Martlew and Craig Hultgren, and for shakuhachi virtuoso Kojiro Umezaki of the Silk Road Ensemble, just to name a few. Recent commissions include ones from Sound of Late, flutist John Barcellona, the VEDA Quartet, and the California E.A.R. Unit.
A dedicated scholar and educator, Shockley has taught as a preceptor at Princeton University, as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and at the University of Pittsburgh, and is currently the Director of Composition and Theory and Professor in the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University, Long Beach. His teaching interests have led him to join Kronos Quartet on a panel on intersections between technology and music, and to lecture and present in a Princeton University atelier alongside Anonymous 4. He has also spoken on panels concerning madness and music alongside Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, on Brahms alongside musicologist Scott Burnham, as well as on international panels on music and the works of Anthony Burgess and James Joyce. Shockley’s essays on and reviews of contemporary music and on intersections between music and modernist fiction can be found in journals and collections published by many major presses, and his book, Music in the Words: Musical Form and Counterpoint in the Twentieth-Century Novel was released by Ashgate Press (UK) in 2009. His new book, The Contemporary Piano: A Performer and Composer’s Guide to Techniques and Resources, was recently released by Rowman & Littlefield (June 2018).