WFIU’s featured contemporary composer for December is David Ward-Steinman.
A fluent pianist, improviser, and composer in both jazz and classical styles, Ward-Steinman’s eclectic compositional output often reflects the colorful sound worlds of popular and jazz music, electronic music, and music from other cultures. His works have been performed in all the major cities of the U.S. and on every continent except Africa and Antarctica.
Ward-Steinman studied at Florida State University and the University of Illinois, where he received the Kinley Memorial Fellowship for foreign study. After receiving his doctorate he was a fellow at Princeton University. His teachers have included Darius Milhaud, Milton Babbitt, Aaron Copland, and Nadia Boulanger. Ward-Steinman was the Ford Foundation composer-in-residence for the Tampa Bay area of Florida, and he spent a year in Australia under a Fulbright Senior Scholar Award.
His numerous commissions include those from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Joffrey Ballet, and most recently from the Singapore Wind Ensemble. Ward-Steinman’s orchestral works have been performed by ensembles such as the Japan Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, and Seattle Symphony. His music has been recorded on a number of labels including Harmonia Mundi.
Ward-Steinman has written a book, Toward a Comparative Structural Theory of the Arts, a chapter in the 2011 book David Baker: A Legacy in Music, and co-written Comparative Anthology of Musical Forms. He is a former composer-in-residence and distinguished professor of music at San Diego State University; currently, he is an adjunct professor of music at Indiana University. He celebrates his 75th birthday this year.