Sunset in All Directions
for cello and chamber orchestra (2018)
In August 2017 our family drove down to Carbondale, Illinois for the total eclipse.
It was like nothing in the world I’ve ever seen, and we’re making plans for the next one on April 8, 2024.
The moments just before totality, in the words of my friend Matthew Ando, look like “sunset in all directions.”
In this work I’ve tried to represent the celestial bodies involved—the Sun, Moon,
and Earth — to evoke what it feels like to experience totality, and to create the musical elements of a mini-concerto for cello and orchestra.
Ocean of Air
for trombone & electronics (2017)
Many times in an airplane descending to land, I have felt the effort of the plane cutting through the atmosphere —
an ocean of air, surrounding our planet, with all of us living on its ocean floor.
This feeling hit home when we went on a family road trip to the Grand Canyon for the first time in 2016.
A sonified chart of exoplanets, originally based on
XKCD 1071: Exoplanets
using data from the
Planetary Habitability Laboratory
(the dataset may take awhile to load).
The lower the pitch, the bigger the planet. Plucked strings signify a hot planet;
metallic sounds signify cold; warm planets sound like flutes.
Planets which may be habitable have a special sound!
Opera based on the science-fiction novella by the late Ursula K. Le Guin; libretto by Marcia Johnson;
commissioned by the University of Illinois. Chamber version premiere by
in Portland, Oregon, on January 20, 2012.
Full premiere April 26-29, Urbana, Illinois. Featured at SummerWorks in Toronto, August 13, 2013;
The Machine Awakes
CD from Albany Records, featuring performances by three Grammy winners: pianist Gloria Cheng, violist Masumi Rostad
(Pacifica Quartet), and hornist Oto Carrillo (Chicago Symphony). Includes
The Machine Awakes
Also available on
and Apple Music. Fanfare
magazine, July/August 2010: "...terse, pointillistic, abstract, precise... pretty and anything but shallow...
With his refined and imaginative sound world, Stephen Andrew Taylor is a composer worth hearing."
For 12 percussionists, commissioned by the Moores School
of Music at the University of Houston; released on the CD Everywhere Entangled on
World Without Words
For 13 saxophones, commissioned by Debra Richtmeyer. Premiere
at NASA (North American Saxophone Alliance), Athens, Georgia, March 4,
For flute, harp, electronics and video, premiered at the 10th World
Harp Congress in Amsterdam, July 2008; the two-movement version premiered
in New York City and Montreal, August 2009. Released on the CD Voyage:
American Works for Flute and Harp on
For piano, performed at Tanglewood by Gloria Cheng July
29, 2006; "sparklingly tactile." Allan Kozinn, New York
8/2/06. Premiered October 24, 2004 by Gloria Cheng in Los Angeles.
"...Cheng unveiled something big and special: the first performance
of Stephen Andrew Taylor's 'Seven Memorials,' a splendid sonic tour
of natural phenomena all over the globe." Richard S. Ginell, LA
Including articles on composition, sonification, the music of György Ligeti,
and computer music.