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 stories. She’s particularly interested in reclaiming socially disapproved-of (“cheesy”) sounds, playing with the boundary between funny and frightening, and investigating lost memories and secret histories.
Alex’s work has been performed by a variety of soloists and ensembles, including Mellissa Hughes, Timothy Andres, Mark Dancigers, the American Composers Orchestra, the Chicago Composers Orchestra, Spektral Quartet, Fifth House Ensemble, Cadillac Moon Ensemble, and Ensemble de Sade. She has also performed her own works for voice and electronics in venues such as Roulette, Exapno, the Tank, Monkeytown, Galapagos Art Space, Gallery Cabaret, and Constellation. As the keyboardist for the chamber-rock group The Sissy-Eared Mollycoddles, she’s performed at the South by Southwest Festival and at Chicago’s Green Mill Cocktail Lounge; and with a·pe·ri·od·ic, an ensemble dedicated to the performance of indeterminate music in the tradition of John Cage, she’s made sounds using her voice, synthesizers and various household objects.
Alex got her BA from Yale University in 2005, where she studied with Kathryn Alexander, John Halle 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 in New York, working as the program manager for the New York Youth Symphony’s Making Score program for young composers. Now she’s pursuing a DMA at Northwestern University, where she’s studied with Hans Thomalla and Jay Alan Yim, and taught aural skills, theory, composition for non-majors, and private composition lessons. She’s currently working on a podcast-opera called End, about TV production company logos and the end of the world.