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McNally Smith’s Award-Winning Composer/Teacher/Interactive Artist Earns Rare Certification

J. AllenOne of contemporary music-making’s premier software tools, Ableton Live, has been mastered by McNally Smith College of Music instructor, interactive media artist and award-winning electronic and acoustic composer, J. Anthony Allen. Allen received his official certification recently after passing the exam, making him one of just a handful of Ableton Certified Instructors in the United States. He will incorporate that training into his McNally Smith Composition classes as well as his own personal work.

Ableton Live is an audio sequencer/music production tool used both in the studio and onstage and has emerged as one of the critical audio implements in use today, especially among young music makers. Ableton makes software for creating, producing, and performing music. Its flagship product, Live, has introduced a new approach to making music with computers on stage and in the studio that some call revolutionary. Live has received outstanding feedback from the international press and many artists. There are now several hundred thousand Live users worldwide, and the number is growing fast.

See a 60-second demo here

“Ableton Live has emerged as the number one tool to know if you are interested in becoming a DJ, or performer of electronic music live,” adds Allen. “The majority of young people entering the DJ world are using it, so I’m really excited that we will be offering classes in it.”

According to Allen, there are only a limited number of Ableton-Live certified instructors in this country alone: “It’s actually pretty rare: There are only about 40 certified trainers in the United States,” notes the seven-time winner of the ASCAPLUS award made by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and many other awards.

Allen’s other distinguished awards include:

  • The Prix D’Ete award (First Prize, Peabody Conservatory)
  • The Macht Orchestral Prize
  • The P. Bruce Blair Award (Peabody Conservatory)
  • He was a regional winner of the SCI/ASCAP Student Commission Prize
  • Recipient of two Peabody Institute Career Development Grants
  • An Arts Quarter Collective Grant (University of Minnesota)
  • Meet the Composer Creative Connections Grant
  • Many ASCAP Standard Awards
  • Several grants from the American Composers Forum.
  • In 2008 he was awarded the first ever Distinguished Young Alumni award from his alma mater, Grand Valley State University

Allen records on the Innova, SEAMUS, and Panacea3 labels. And he is a prolific contributor to numerous music publications and journals. The McNally Smith faculty member also has an international reputation, with performances on electronic devices with members of the Zeitgeist Contemporary Music Ensemble, in New York City at the MATA festival, Miami, FL., Minneapolis, MN., and recurring performances with the improvisation group Ballet Méchanique.

His music has been performed throughout the United States and Europe, including Denmark, the Netherlands, Hungary, the Czech Republic, France, and Italy. Since 2003, Allen also has helped shape electronic music culture, providing leadership and direction as the primary Producer for the international Spark Festival of Electronic Music and Arts.

More information about this singularly unique faculty member and artist can be found on