Composer/guitarist Van Stiefel continues to chase a "subversive lyricism" in original music he composes for often unusual instrumental combinations: electric guitar ensembles, laptop orchestras, turntables, as well as more conventional ensembles.
Stiefel was recently commissioned by the American Composers Forum to compose Wyeth Songs for electric guitar and children's chorus.
Trained as a classical guitarist from age six, his music for classical guitar has been performed or recorded by some the nation's leading classical guitarists, including Benjamin Verdery, Eliot Fisk, and Daniel Lippel.
The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, with support from the Augustine Foundation, recently commissioned Cinema Castaneda, a kind of mural for four guitars blending cowboy songs with rock music, rancheras- and narco-corridos--a CD including the work will be released on Innova in March 2013.
In 2012, his quartet for laptops, Jargo's Table, was featured at the very first International Symposium for Laptop Orchestras and Ensembles at LSU.
Stiefel has been a featured speaker at TEDx Phoenixville and a visiting artist with PLOrk (the Princeton Laptop Orchestra). The Philadelphia Museum of Art presented already seen, an interactive music and dance collaboration with the Miller-Rothlein Company (MIRO) of Philadelphia.
An all-Stiefel CD, Solaris was released in 2011 on New Focus Recordings and is distributed by Naxos. Stiefel has received grants/commissions from the Georgia Council for the Arts, Mid-Atlantic Arts Fellowship, Met-Life Composer Connections, Art in Odd Places (Atlanta Olympic Festival), and the American Composers' Forum.
His music has been featured on various festivals including: the Arts Festival of Atlanta, New York Guitar Festival, Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, and the Filament Festival.
Stiefel holds a BA/MM from Yale University and a PhD in music composition from Princeton.
He has been on the faculties of Princeton and McGill Universities and is presently Associate Professor at West Chester University of Pennsylvania.