J. Anthony Allen has worn the hats of composer, producer, songwriter, engineer, sound designer, DJ, remixer, multimedia artist, performer and academic.
Born and raised in Michigan, Allen holds a PhD in music composition and a bachelor degree in guitar performance, and teaches at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He has worked with many forms of interactive media and his work has been described as “a study in ominous sound and motion,”(Baltimore Sun) “An aural hallucinogen,” (Minnesota Public Radio) and “A beautiful and engaging use of technology.” (Cogapp: The Art and Science Blog). In 2003 Allen joined the Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Art team as assistant director and lead producer through to 2009.
Allen’s pursuits are grounded in the idea that advances in composition must explore the unknown, with an acute respect for music as a social creature that cannot thrive in isolation. An innovator in the field of electronic performance, Allen often performs with a set of glove controllers which he designed, built, and programmed. When he’s not working as a solo artist with project experiences ranging from works written for the Minnesota Orchestra to pieces developed for film, TV, and radio, Allen’s primary collaborative vehicle is the group Ballet Mech, for which he is one of three producers. In 2014 Allen was a semi-finalist for the Grammy Foundation’s Music Educator of the Year Award, and his music can be found on the Hackademica, SEAMUS and Panacea3 labels.