Alan died at home in Long Beach, Calif., Sept. 29, 2020.
Born in Warm Springs, Ga., in 1970, Alan studied composition and theory at the University of Georgia and Ohio State University before earning a Ph.D. in music at Princeton in 2004.
He joined the faculty of Long Beach State in 2008. A prolific composer who often called for unconventional and unexpected combinations of instruments, voices, and electronics, Alan was skilled at expanding the sound worlds and capabilities of Western instruments. He introduced connections among music, art, and literature (particularly Anthony Burgess and James Joyce). In addition to classical music, he introduced his students to punk rock, avant-gardism, free jazz, shape-note hymns, chance music, and the toy piano.
Alan composed pieces for the harp, piano, flute, and the melodica. His artistic collaborations included work with Kojiro Umezaki of the Silk Road Ensemble, pianist Vicky Ray, and the California EAR unit.
Alan authored two books: The Contemporary Piano: A Performer and Composer’s Guide to Techniques and Resourcesand Music in the Words: Musical Form and Counterpoint in the Twentieth Century Novel.
Alan is survived by his wife, Jessica Sternfeld *02, and daughters Harper and Zola.
Graduate alumni memorials are prepared by the APGA.