Stephen Blumberg studied composition at the University of California, San Diego (B.A., M.A.), and at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received the Ph.D. in music composition. His principal teachers include Bernard Rands, Pauline Oliveros, Andrew Imbrie, and Richard Felciano. He also studied in Paris on the George Ladd Prix de Paris Fellowship from 1991 to 1993, taking private lessons with Ivo Malec, and working on computer music with Gerard Pape at Les Ateliers UPIC, in addition to participating in a three-week master-class at L’ Abbaye du Royaumont with Brian Ferneyhough and Luis de Pablo. Blumberg has taught at the University of California, Berkeley and is currently Professor of Composition and Music Theory at California State University, Sacramento, where he also co-directs the Festival of New American Music.
Stephen Blumberg is a composer of music primarily for acoustic instruments who has also collaborated with visual artists to create soundtracks for video and installation work, sometimes including digital electronics. His music is vivid and colorful, with multilayered textures and intricate rhythmic structures, driven by an underlying instinct for emotion and drama, and shaped by an intuitive sense of form.
Blumberg’s music has been described as “evocatively, colorfully scored…rich, sinuous” (San Francisco Classical Voice); “a deftly-shaped score of streamlined beauty” (San Francisco Chronicle); “a superb ride…powerful” (Sacramento Bee).
Blumberg has received numerous awards for his work including the Walter Hinrichsen Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2004), the George Ladd Prix de Paris Fellowship (1991-93), two Nicola De Lorenzo Prizes for Composition (1990 and 1994), and a BMI Student Composer Award (1987). He has also been the recipient of a MetLife Creative Connections grant from the Meet The Composer Foundation (2009), and a Subito Grant from the American Composers Forum (2005).
Music by Stephen Blumberg has been performed in Italy, France, the Netherlands, Germany, and Brazil, as well as throughout the United States, by soloists including two-time GRAMMY nominee harpsichordist Jory Vinikour, pianist Sarah Cahill, flutist Laurel Zucker, and percussionist Daniel Kennedy, and by ensembles such as the Arditti String Quartet, the Cassatt String Quartet, Earplay, the Empyrean Ensemble, Octagon, Music Now, Tanosaki-Richards Duo, Ensemble Chiaroscuro, Citywater, and the California Youth Symphony. Inflorescence for flute solo has been included on a CD of solo flute music released by Laurel Zucker on the Cantilena label. Gyre for harpsichord solo is included on a CD by Jory Vinikour on the Sono Luminus label, released in September 2013. This CD, Toccatas: Modern American Music for Harpsichord, was nominated for a GRAMMY in December 2014. Blumberg’s solo marimba piece Scrabble was published by Edition Peters in October 2013.