Aaron Alter, Composer

A native of Chicago, Aaron Alter's musical background was a product of the rich musical life that he found growing up in the Windy City.

While in High School, Aaron played in a variety of Rock and Jazz bands, culminating in a regular engagement as the pianist with saxophonist Fred Anderson.

With Fred Anderson, Aaron explored new sounds and harmonies that influenced his compositions in the years to come.  When Aaron wrote his first composition for the band, nobody could come up with a title, so Fred just called it Aaron’s TuneAaron’s Tune became part of the standard repertoire for the group and was later recorded by Anderson.

Also while in High School, Aaron studied piano with Bob Ravenscroft, Alan Swain and Helen Engler.
Aaron received his Bachelor of Music degree from Northwestern University where he studied piano with Frances Larimer and Gui Mombaerts and composition with Lynden DeYoung and David Noon. During that time, Aaron immersed himself in the European classical tradition as well as explored more modern European and American music.

He received his Master of Fine Arts Degree from Princeton University where he studied with Milton Babbitt and James K. Randall.

While at Princeton, he received a fellowship from the Boston Symphony's Tanglewood Festival as well as a grant from the New York State Council for the Arts' "Meet the Composer" program. His composition Rhapsody III (1976) for soprano voice, flute, oboe, clarinet, violin and piano was performed at Tanglewood and in New York.  The audio from the world premiere at Tanglewood on July 22, 1976 can be heard by clicking here.

Aaron’s new music, which he refers as his “New Beginning,” is an exploration of a new style and energy that defies categorization.  His new works display influences that span the range of Medieval European music all the way to Jazz and Rock.  Aaron’s new music received its first premiere in 2015 with the performance of “Homage to Josquin” (a 2016 Honorable Mention from the American Prize in the Chamber Music Composition category) for two flutes, piano, electric bass and drum set at the Santa Fe Flute Immersion in Santa Fe, New Mexico. More premieres, commissions and recordings followed, confirming that Aaron’s “New Beginning” was being well received by performers and audiences.

Aaron also serves as a board member of the Carlsbad (California) Friends of the Arts.