performers on darkened stage from 2018 Production of Lucretia

Alumni Aferdian Stephens Wins ASCAP Young Composer and Martinů Awards

Posted in: Cali News

Aferdian Stephens

Cali School alumni Aferdian Stephens has been honored with the 2018 Bohuslav Martinů Award for his orchestral composition The Clock and the 2018 ASCAP Young Composer Award for his Trio for Violin, Clarinet, and Piano. He has written that “…music-making is a compulsion, a necessary biological function. It is something that I must do regardless of how I feel. It’s ability to communicate and express deep emotional truths while remaining abstract and open to the interpretive ear of the listener, makes it an appealing form in which to work. This dichotomy then gives me, the composer, the ability to create a whole world in music, a world that I feel is necessary to be made and formed. This necessity is the reason I make music.”

Currently residing in New Jersey, he is a multi-disciplinary musician, active in many fields. He has written several one-act operas, song-cycles, and chamber pieces for varying instrumental ensembles. The Rally Cat, a multidisciplinary arts organization founded by Marella Martin-Koch, recently presented an evening of Aferdian’s music at the National Opera Center. Aferdian has composed songs for Tony-Award winning actor and singer Chuck Cooper’s cabaret show The Blues of Langston Hughes.

He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Music Composition with a concentration in Piano from Montclair State University (2014), an MFA at the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at the Tisch School of the Arts of NYU, and his Masters of Music at the Mannes School of Music where his private composition instructor was Dr. Lowell Liebermann. He is currently working on his first full-length opera with librettist Marella Martin-Koch.