Blake Allen is an award-winning composer, musician, orchestrator, and educator.

 

Known for his innovative bridging of contemporary music and theatre, Allen's works are "full of yearning and exuberance and affection" with "strings to make you swoon" (NYTimes). Heavily influenced by his Mormon upbringing and the vast, cultural landscapes of his hometown of El Paso, TX, Allen made his professional composer debut at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2016 (Piano Quartet: The Sessions). 

Allen's most recent album, Sonatas, debuted #1 on the iTunes Classical Charts (where it stayed for 2 weeks), 'Top 40' on the iTunes Top 100 Albums, and #4 on the Billboard Classical Charts. The album features two sonatas: L'abîme pour violon et piano premiered at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2017, and Music for Kelly was written for the play Kelly [1955] that premiered Off-Broadway in 2019. 

Allen's theatrical shows include: the 'wistful and epic' Americana musical Jaclyn Backhaus' Folk Wandering  (Off-Broadway 2018, Pipeline Theatre Co.,, Time Out NY Critic's Pick); his autobiographical opera the shards of an honor code junkie (World Premiere 2017, The Trevor Project & album on No Reverse Records April 2021); Boston|Nebraska, an opera based on Willa Cather’s words and life (KHN 2020 Center Grant and Residency); HOCKET, a gay fantasia on hard drugs; the hour-long alien thriller play Kelley [1955] (New York Theatre Festival 2019) and Livin' the Dreamboat with lyricist/book writer Claire Tran (Astoria Performing Arts Center 2020). Allen is working on a full-length opera called Obsession based upon a real life murder that shocked the world as well as a new musical with Kristina Nicole Miller and Peter Powers called At KC'sAllen's principal composition and song-writing teachers include Joseph Church, Billy Seidman, and Alex Forbes. Allen has also worked with Rob Fisher since 2012. 

Allen was the musical director and new orchestrator for the record-smashing 2019 revival of the Sherman Brother's Over Here! at the Triad Theatre starring Tony-Winner Debbie Gravite, Haley Swindal, Jessica Hendy, and Nikka Graff Lanzarone (dir. Will Nunziata). Allen also was the creator and musical director of the hit series "An Evening With..." (Time Out NY Critic's Pick) for which he won several Broadway World Awards including Best Series and Best Arrangement while being nominated every year for Best Music Director as well as Album of the Year for the series' debut album, An Evening With... vol. 1.

Allen has been seen and heard in venues all over America, Canada, Mexico, and Europe including Carnegie Hall, Strathmore Music Center, Symphony Space, the New York Philharmonic, San Diego Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, 54 Below, Green Room 42, and much more. Allen's arrangements have been recorded and performed by award winning artists including: Daphne Rubin-Vega, Keala Settle, Rebecca Luker, Norm Lewis, Sierra Boggess, Cady Huffman, Sherie Renee Scott, Jason Alexander, Lena Hall, Mary Testa, Alison Fraser, Lesli Margherita, Bryonha Marie, Debbie Gravite, Angela Birchett, Teal Wicks, Grace McClean, Tamika Lawrence, Kristy Cates, J. Harrison Ghee, Jessica Hendy, Cree Carrico, Bonnie Milligan, Tim Young, Ryann Redmond, among many others. 

 

Allen continues to be Marti Gould Cummings music director. Together their album, A Very Marti Holiday, raises funds for the Ali Forney Center, as well as being featured on the record-breaking television show Shade: Queens of NYC

 

As a performer, Allen specializes in music written for the viola post 1990. He gave the NY, European, and Canadian premieres of Judith Shatin's Penelope's Song for electronics and viola as well as concertized with Karen Ritscher, "bang on a can", and many other contemporary music groups throughout New York City including solo performances at the Banff Centre and Strathmore Music Center. Allen is the associate principal viola for The Little Orchestra Society and has been a soloist with the El Paso Symphony and Choral Chameleon. Allen has also performed with The New York Pops, The Who, The Eagles, Pink Martini, Philip Glass, and in Tootsie and Misery on Broadway, as well as several albums and soundtracks. 

As an educator, Allen has been Adjunct Faculty in violin and viola at New York University Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development since 2012. He is currently a PhD candidate examining mathematics and fractal-like development in György Ligeti's Sonate pour Viola (1991–1994) through musical, rhythmic, and linguistic perception.  With degrees from New York University (PhD(c); M.M. with Honors), Brigham Young University (B.M. with Honors) and graduate studies at Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music, Allen's principal teachers include Stephanie Baer, Dr. Claudine Bigelow, Masao Kawasaki, and Dr. Catharine Carroll. 

For more information, references, and resumes, please contact me.

 

 

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Photo by Michael Kushner