Dembski, Stephen (Michael)
- Martin Brody
(b Boston, Dec 13, 1949). American composer, theorist and teacher. The son of a pianist, he first studied the piano and flute and later worked as a jazz and rock musician. He began composing while a student of John Ronsheim at Antioch College. After further study in composition at the Ecole Normale de Musique, and with the Schoenbergian Max Deutch, in Paris, and with the avant-garde jazz pianist Cecil Taylor, he moved to New York, where he worked with Bulent Arel at SUNY-Stony Brook. He was awarded the doctorate (1980) at Princeton, where his principal teacher was Babbitt. He has taught at Princeton, Bates and Dartmouth, and became professor of music at the University of Wisconsin.
Dembski's music, founded upon both tonal polyphonic models and twelve-note pitch structures, but reducible to neither, yields a broad range of musical surfaces, colours and sensibilities. Spectra (1985) reveals his characteristically deft and innovative orchestral writing, and a dramatic continuity at once vivid and subtle. The monodrama ...