William Zagorski of Fanfare writes of Block’s orchestral movement Shadows:
“His skillful use of tuned percussion gives several passages a gamelanlike quality reminiscent of Messaien. The long-note passages...and their harmonic suspensions are wonderful. I impatiently await the completion of this Symphony.”
- Fanfare Magazine
Portfolio of Steven Block
STEVEN BLOCK was born in New York City on November 5, 1952. He was the founding Dean of the College of Fine Arts at the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley after having served as Chair of the Department of Music at the University of New Mexico for 17 years. As Dean, he built new Arts programs, including that of the Center for Latin Music, from two separate legacy campuses. Block has appeared in the various personae of composer, music theorist, music critic, pianist, and both classical radio and disco d.j., among others. His compositions have been performed worldwide including performances in Australia, Paris, and Poland. His articles as a music theorist and music critic have appeared in such journals and magazines as Perspectives of New Music, Integrales, Music Theory Spectrum, the Journal of Music Theory, the Annual Review of Jazz Studies, Music Library Notes, and High Fidelity.
Block has studied with some of the most innovative composers and theorists in the world including David Stock, a pioneer in the promotion of contemporary music; Robert Morris, one of the leading contemporary music theorists and composers; A. Wayne Slawson, who has led the exploration of timbre as a musical component; and the internationally known and important late composers Franco Donatoni and Luciano Berio.
About Free Jazz
"I was working on a book a quarter of a century ago about Free Jazz to include chapters on John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Anthony Braxton, the Chicago Art Ensemble, Sun Ra and others but a different career as an administrator pursued me and made it very difficult to continue my work. I had enough material for a first volume but didn’t have the time to edit, compile a bibliography, and other necessary scholarly tasks. I now release much of the material in first draft form so that others can study, reference, or just ignore. I make no claims for the material and the analysis is a “dated” approach although I like to think of it as accurate. I make no changes but I hope the chapters on Coltrane and Coleman and the transcriptions will be worth reading for those fascinated by jazz on the outside."
- Steven D. Block
"I... found Fire Tiger (and what a great, if cryptic, title!) by Steven Block – very interesting to listen to."
- John Sunier, Audiophile
"Steven Block's 5 Plainchants for Clarinet delivers meditative pieces that are freely derived from Byzantine Rite tradition of the late 19th century, allowing the passages to flow in a manner that emulates the cantorial practice in which chanting imitates speech and song rhythms."
"Steven D. Block conceived his Shadows in Jungian terms, and as such it explores the dark side of the human psyche through mysterious tuned percussion, harp glissandos, and eerie sounding strings."
- Victor Carr Jr., Classics Today