Stephen Peles is a composer and theorist with degrees from
Princeton University, the University of Connecticut, and
Rutgers University. His works have been performed in both
Europe and the U.S., and his numerous honors include awards
and fellowships from The MacDowell Colony, the New Jersey
State Council on the Arts, Yaddo, the Institute for
Contemporary American Music, the Virginia Center for the
Creative Arts, Meet the Composer, the National Endowment for
the Arts, and many others.
Active as a theorist, he has received the Society for
Music Theory's Outstanding Publication Young Scholar
Award, and has published on both tonal and post-tonal
theory; his other research interests include cognitive
science and philosophy of explanation. A past Editor of Perspectives
of New Music and current member of its Editorial Board,
he was also one of the founders of the SMT Philosophy
of Music special interest group, and has served on
the Editorial Board of Music Theory Spectrum. A contributor
to the Cambridge History of American Music, and editor and
annotator of Princeton University Press's The Collected Writings of
Milton Babbitt, he taught at Princeton University and Washington
University in St. Louis before joining the faculty of the University
of Alabama in 1996, where he teaches composition and theory.
"Perspectives at 50." Perspectives of New Music, vol. 50, no. 1-2 (Winter/Summer 2012).
"'Every Theory is a Choice': Babbitt and the Postwar Reinvention of Music Theory." Music Theory Spectrum [the journal of the Society for Music Theory], vol. 34, no. 1 (Spring 2012).
“ ‘Was Gleichzeitig Klingt’: The Schoenberg-Schenker Dispute and the Incompleteness of Music Theory.” Music Theory Spectrum [the journal of the Society for Music Theory], vol. 32, no. 2 (Fall, 2010).
“Schoenberg’s Unfinished 12-Tone Works and Sketches.” Journal of the Arnold Schoenberg Center (Vienna). Spring 2008.
“ ‘Ist Alles Eins’: Schoenberg and Symmetry.” Music Theory Spectrum, vol. 26 no. 1 (Spring 2004).
“Heinrich and Michel’s Excellent Adventure.” Journal of Music Theory, spring 2003.
“ ‘In Terms Of’: An Introduction to Westergaard's Tonal Theory.” In Theory Only, vol. 13, 1997.
“On Theorizing.” Society of Composers Newsletter, 1996.
[With Claudio Spies] “A Conversation with Claudio Spies.” Perspectives of New Music, vol. 32, no. 1 (Winter 1994).
“Continuity, Reference, and Implication: Remarks on Schoenberg’s Proverbial Difficulty.” Theory and Practice, vol. 17, 1992.
“The Interpretation of Sets in Multiple Dimensions: Notes on the Second Movement of Arnold Schoenberg's String Quartet #3.” Perspectives of New Music, vol. 22, nos. 1 & 2 (Fall-Winter 1983/Spring-Summer 1984). [Winner of the Outstanding Publication Young Scholar Award, Society for Music Theory]
Books and Book Chapters
“ ‘Initial Conditions’: Problems of Scope and Cause in Music-Analytical Assertions.” In What Kind of Theory is Music Theory?, ed. P. Broman and N. Engebretson. Stockholm, Sweden: University of Stockholm Press, 2009.
[As editor and annotator] The Collected Essays of Milton Babbitt, with S. Dembski, A. Mead, and J. Straus. Princeton University Press, November 2003. [Winner of an Outstanding Publication Special Merit Citation, Society for Music Theory, 2002. Recipient of subventions from Princeton University and the Society for Music Theory]
“Schoenberg and the Tradition of Imitative Counterpoint: Remarks on the Second and Third String Quartets and the String Trio,” in Music of My Future: The String Quartets and String Trio of Arnold Schoenberg, Reinhold Brinkmann and Christoph Wolff, eds., Harvard University Press, 2001.
“Serialism and Complexity,” in The Cambridge History of American Music, David Nicholls, ed., Cambridge University Press, 1998.