A composer of orchestral, chamber, solo, and electronic/computer music. Born and raised in Smithtown, New York, Pfeiffer graduated from Stony Brook University with a BA (1999) and MA (2001) in music while studying with Daria Semegen, Daniel Weymouth, and Peter Winkler.

As a stylistically diverse composer, his works range from unapologetically tonal to unforgivingly atonal. Some of his more recent pieces derive their pitch material from an originally devised system that applies binary code to vary the outcomes of fixed interval sets.

Recent notable performances include: The End of Greatness presented by The Curiosity Cabinet and performed by Mara Mayer [bass clarinet]; Spore presented by The Boston Microtonal Society and performed by Amy Advocat [clarinet] and Matt Sharrock [percussion]; and The Second Coming presented by the Southampton Cultural Center and performed by Kendra Hawley [oboe], Stephen Gamboa-Diaz [harpischord] and David English [narrator].

His works have been performed throughout the US and at festivals including the International Summer Course for New Music in Darmstadt, Germany, the ThingNY Spam festival and at the June in Buffalo music festival.

Recent Compositions:

Monochrome (for solo percussion) 2016

Dark Lens (for solo string instrument) 2016

Deserted Roads (for solo piano) 2016

Beyond The Fallen Leviathan (for solo percussion) 2015

Harsh Glare (2 quartweets for string quartet) 2015

Sifter/Drifter (for bassoon and computer-generated accompaniment [pure data]) 2015

The End of Greatness (for solo woodwind) 2015

Let all the poisons that lurk in the mud hatch out (for viola) 2015

for amplifed soloist(s) with effects, synthesizer, and/or percussion 2014

The Nine Members of the Asian Dawn (for xylophone) 2014

Broken (for oboe/english horn, bassoon & cello) 2014

Spore (for clarinet and percussion) 2014

Not Yet Quite Dark (for cello) 2013

Shut-In (for two pianos) 2013

Premonitions of Death (for flute, viola and double bass) 2011

The Second Coming (for narrator, oboe and harpsichord) 2011


The Nine Members of the Asian Dawn

PDF score

Performed by Samuel Stokes.

The title is a fairly obscure line from the 1988 movie Die Hard. In the scene, the main antagonist, Hans Gruber (portrayed by Alan Rickman) is making demands for the release of political prisoners supposedly in exchange for the hostages he is holding. But this ruse is simply to delay the police while his entourage is breaking into the building’s safe. It is a funny moment because even his associate doesn’t know the ‘Asian Dawn.’ Hans tells him he read about them in Time magazine.

Since the piece is obviously atonal, specific gestures or motifs are used instead to create a sense of cohesion. Further techniques are employed, such as the use of different mallets, dynamic changes, and various articulations, to generate novel contrasts and juxtapose different musical characteristics.

The pitches of the piece were derived from the permutation of two interval sets: [minor 2nd, Major 3rd, minor 2nd, tri-tone, Perfect 4th] and [minor 2nd, minor 3rd, minor 2nd, Major 2nd, tri-tone, Perfect 4th]. The first set was approached systematically, in that the order of the permutations was sequential. To illustrate (using zeros and ones to represent ascending and descending) – 0000, 1000, 0100, 0010, 0001, 1100, etc. The second set was approached more freely and the order of permutations was consciously chosen to produce the pitches and patterns most pleasing to me aesthetically.



PDF score

For Clarinet and Percussion. Amy Advocat, Clarinet & Matt Sharrock, Percussion. The Boston Microtonal Society presents Flickering: Microtonal Music Featuring Clarinet. Performed live at the Davis Square Theater in Somerville, MA on February 24, 2015.



This work was created using recordings that I made of bassoon sounds. Various samples were then edited, manipulated and processed using Pro Tools® software. Some of them are minimally manipulated and therefore their origins are obvious to the ear. But others, once processed, stretched or pitch-shifted, began to sound more mechanical and almost inhuman. Due to the nature of the bassoon sound, both in terms of timbre and register, the piece gave me the chance to explore the minute organic variations that are found in real acoustic samples and to take advantage of the sheer force of bassoon's sound palette.