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Q & A with Stefan Anderson

How old were you when you first started playing?

My family had a small upright piano where I made my first musical creations when I was 9 years old. I remember constantly playing a little song I had written. When I began seriously studying music and piano at college, I realized I could still remember exactly how to play that song!

Where did you go to music school? What did you study there?

I went to Bennington College in Vermont for my Bachelor of Arts Degree and Tufts University for my Master of Arts Degree in Music Composition. I took piano all 4 years at Bennington along with classes on film music, electronic music, contemporary concert music, modern music theories, jazz theory and improvisation, song analysis, theory of rock, brass ensemble, and many composition courses. At Tufts I focused on composing, but also completed courses on Schenkerian analysis, sketch studies analyzing the creative process, 19th century lieder (German art songs), orchestration, and a class all about Arnold Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire.

What are your favorite kinds of music to play and why?

I love playing late Romantic and early modern music because that's when composers stopped being polite and caring so much about tradition and convention. The excitement they felt while writing this music is so strongly ingrained in the music itself, that I feel it when I play the music, too. The piano had also just become the awesome instrument that is today during this era, so you can tell that composers were having a great time taking the instrument to its limits!

What are some of the musical styles you teach?

I've studied, played, and written music in so many different styles that I'm eager to teach almost anything. I love helping students figure out how they can play a pop song on piano in their own unique way, whether it be rock, folk or jazz influenced. Teaching students to hear the intricacies of classical music, from Bach to Beethoven or even living composers, is really exciting to me because I often get the chance to introduce young musicians to new musical worlds and ways of thinking about music.

Where are some of the places you've performed?

I've performed at the Distler Auditorium at Tufts, the Cantab Lounge and the Lily Pad in Cambridge, and countless basements at house shows Milwaukee to Somerville.

Who are some of your favorite bands and musicians?

I love the inventiveness of electronic music like New Order and Daft Punk. I was obsessed with Nick Drake in high school; he'll always have a spot in my heart. Neil Young is one of my favorite singer-songwriters. I admire how he has written in so many different styles with such varied instrumentation but still retains a distinct Neil Young signature in each song.

What are your other musical pursuits and accomplishments?

I've been writing music for most of my life that is usually guitar and voice based. I'm constantly recording new music and reworking old songs which I've collected into a couple albums over the years. I specialize in fingerpicking guitar styles like folk and blues, but over the past 5 years I've become a very competent classical guitarist. When I was at Tufts I focused on writing art, classical, music in my own style that rarely conforms with normal keys and steady rhythms. I had the opportunity to write music for all sort of ensembles like guitar and choir, saxophone quartet, mixed percussion and strings, and many more.

What are some of your artistic goals?

I hope to eventually get my Ph.D in music composition. I also would like to play more with my band Loveseat, and maybe even go on tour in the summertime. I mainly just want to keep writing, playing and teaching music and continue improving and experimenting in all three.

Tell us about your sound clips:

1) The first excerpt is from Ludwig van Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 31 in A-flat major, Opus 110. 2) The second track is the opening to the Beatles song "You Never Give Me Your Money" from Abbey Road. That's me singing lead & backup vocals and playing piano.

219 Washington St, Wellesley, MA 02481