Bryan Christian’s music explores the porous boundaries between spectral and diatonic sound worlds. Indeed, most spectral music filters pitch content in one way or another. In Christian’s work, he filters the spectral content through a diatonic (major/minor key) grid. Christian’s work Direct your step further along the road’s course, commissioned by the E-MEX Ensemble, uses a consistent spectral process across the work that unfolds at a glacially slow pace. This pacing allows the listener to aurally zoom in and explore the most minute changes and interrelationships between these disparate sound worlds.

Christian has received commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University, the Lorelei Ensemble, the 59th Festival Les Musicales (2011; Colmar, France), the 19th and 20th Juventus Festivals (2009 and 2010; Cambrai, France), the 2011 Monadnock Music Festival, the Aurora Borealis Duo, the Playground EnsembleJulien LibeerEryn Oft, and Matthias Geuting, among others. Christian is the recipient the Fulbright Fellowship to Estonia and the BMI Student Composer Award. He was selected as a winner in the 2013 nief-norf Summer Festival’s International Call for Scores and in the 2013 League of Composers/ISCM Competition.

Christian earned his Ph.D. in Music from Duke University in 2015. He holds additional degrees from Duke University (M.A., 2013),  the University of California San Diego (M.A., 2010), the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre (M.A., 2009), and the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University (B.Mus., 2007).



List of Works

Click here for a complete list of Bryan Christian's compositions.


Sketch of Claude Vivier's "couleur" spectral technique for his composition Bourchara

Sketch of Claude Vivier's "couleur" spectral technique for his composition Bourchara

Bryan Christian’s scholarship focuses on the post-spectral music of Québécois composer Claude Vivier and the broader spectral movement. He is the editor of the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Spectral Music, which is under contract with Oxford University Press (ca. 50 contributors). His publications on Claude Vivier also appear in Music Theory Online (2014), Tempo (2014), Grove Music Online (forthcoming 2016), and the Journal of the American Musicological Society (forthcoming 2016).

Bryan Christian has a Ph.D. in Music from Duke University (2015). He is currently an Instructor of Music at the University of Northern Colorado and a Special Assistant Professor of Music Theory at Colorado State University.



Oxford Handbook of Spectral Music, editor
Oxford University Press (under contract; forthcoming 2018)


"Vivier, Claude" (forthcoming 2016)
Grove Music Online (Oxford University Press)

"Automatic Writing and Grammelot in Claude Vivier's langue inventée"
Tempo (Cambridge University Press), Volume 68, Issue 270, October 2014, pp. 15-30

"Combination-Tone Class Sets and Redefining the Role of les Couleurs in Claude Vivier’s Bouchara"
Music Theory OnlineVolume 20, Number 2, June  2014


Review of Claude Vivier: A Composer's Life by Bob Gilmore (forthcoming 2016)
Journal of the American Musicological Society


"Casting the Death Mask of Claude Vivier’s Glaubst du an die Unsterblichkeit der Seele"
Society for American Music Annual Meeting, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, March 22-26, 2017

"Automatic Writing and Grammelot in Claude Vivier's langue inventée"
West Coast Conference for Music Theory and Analysis Annual Meeting
California State University Fullerton, Fullerton, CA, February 27–March 1, 2015

“Phonetic Variables and Compositional Strategy in Ignota
Composition in the 21st Century Conference, in association with New Music Dublin Festival 2014
Music Composition Centre (Trinity College Dublin), Dublin, Ireland,March 5–7, 2014

“Combination-tone Class Sets and Redefining the Role of les couleurs in Claude Vivier’s Bouchara
Society for Music Theory Annual Conference, Charlotte, NC, October 31–November 3, 2012


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