Alan Chapman, PhD

Conservatory Faculty
Conservatory Faculty

Composer, lyricist, pianist, radio producer and host of Classical KUSC, Los Angeles

Alan Chapman is a composer/lyricist, pianist, radio producer/host (Classical KUSC, Los Angeles) and educator.

After receiving his undergraduate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he earned a Ph.D. in music theory from Yale University. He is currently a member of the music theory faculty of the Colburn Conservatory. He was a longtime member of the music faculty at Occidental College and has also been a visiting professor at UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. His analytical work has appeared in the Journal of Music Theory and in The New Orpheus: Essays on Kurt Weill, winner of the Deems Taylor Award for excellence in writing on music.

Well known as a pre-concert lecturer, Dr. Chapman has been a regular speaker on the L.A. Philharmonic’s “Upbeat Live” series since its inception in 1984 and developed the popular series of “Music 101” multimedia evenings at Walt Disney Concert Hall. He also works closely with the Los Angeles Master Chorale and Pacific Symphony. His lectures have been presented by virtually every major performing organization in southern California. He has been heard globally as programmer and host of the inflight classical channels on United and Delta Airlines.

Dr. Chapman is also active as a composer/lyricist. His songs have been performed and recorded by many artists around the world and have been honored by ASCAP, the Johnny Mercer Foundation, and the Manhattan Association of Cabarets. His children’s opera Les Moose: The Operatic Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle was commissioned by Los Angeles Opera. Peter and Mr. Wolf, the story of an eighth-grader’s tribulations in finding a science project, was premiered by Chamber Music Palisades with Chapman as narrator. He is much in demand as a creator of original musical material for special events.

He frequently appears in cabaret evenings with his wife, soprano Karen Benjamin. They made their Carnegie Hall debut in 2000 and performed at Lincoln Center in 2006. Their CD, Que Será, Será: The Songs of Livingston and Evans, features the late Ray Evans telling the stories behind such beloved songs as “Mona Lisa” and “Silver Bells.” Their other collaborations include Music of the People, a concert of art song settings of 19th-century American music, and Movie Music Magic, a program of cinematic favorites.

James Wilt

Trumpet Faculty

Associate Principal of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, whose practical experience and expertise has established Colburn as a dominant force in the trumpet community and has produced consistent, real-world success View All Faculty