John Clay Allen is a Colorado-based composer, pianist, and computer musician originally from Ruidoso, New Mexico. His work swings wildly between noisy, ambient soundscapes and lush neoromantic symphonic works as he moves from one sonic obsession to the next. Though perpetually stimulated and motivated by digital tools and possibilities, Allen’s work is most inspired by the natural world and is rooted in human connection and experience.
He is commissioned regularly by orchestras and chamber groups around the country and his music has been performed around the United States and internationally in Europe and South America. His first two albums, Asnières and Turn take as their starting point the piano and saxophone respectively, and use electronics to systematically expand their acoustic limitations. Allen’s third commercial album, featuring solo piano, will be released in late 2024.
Allen is currently the composer-in-residence with the Boulder Symphony and has enjoyed collaborations with the Arapahoe Philharmonic, Ajax String Quartet, and the Boulder Altitude Directive, among others. His compositions and arrangements have been performed by the likes of internationally acclaimed guitarist Trace Bundy and Grammy-winning soprano Michelle DeYoung. Clay received his doctorate in music composition from the University of Colorado Boulder and holds additional degrees in composition and piano from the University of North Texas and West Texas A&M University.
Clay resides in Denver, Colorado with his wife Mara and two dogs Halo and Winston.