Frederick Frahm was born November 8, 1964, in Hemet, California. A prolific composer, his catalog of compositions includes works for organ, choral music, chamber pieces, art song and song cycle, symphony and concerto, and extended works including operas and cantatas.
Frahm’s music is often characterized by poly-triadic tonality, rhythmic minimalism, symmetrical formal architecture, and the apparent influences of Cubist art and Imagist poetry. The composer’s essential style can be observed in recent organ works (especially Chaplinesque, Old Stone Church, and The Kingdom of Anxiety) where ‘geometrical’ musical shapes are juxtaposed to effect a shifting perspective on repeating subject matter.
Frahm is a graduate of Pacific Lutheran University where he earned degrees in Church Music and Organ Performance. He studied organ and counterpoint with David Dahl, Gregory Peterson, and Randall McCarty; composition with Gregory Youtz (PLU), Gary Smart (University of Wyoming), Walter Pelz (Concordia University, River Forest), and Roger Briggs (Western Washington University). A significant portion of his extensive catalog of music is in print and is represented worldwide by more than a dozen publishers. A collection of his early sketches, manuscripts, recordings and correspondence are archived in the Mortvedt Library at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA.
A professional church musician for more than 35 years, Frahm served parishes across the country including eight years at St. Paul Episcopal Church in Bellingham, WA and most recently for ten years as Director of Music and Principal Organist at St. Luke Lutheran Church in Albuquerque, NM. He has contributed to the Bellingham Herald in Bellingham, WA as a classical music critic and served as an adjunct faculty member of Concordia University in River Forest, IL where he taught 16th century counterpoint, music appreciation, theory and composition, as well as orchestration.
As an educator, Frahm currently works with Santa Fe Opera Company as a teaching artist (composer) within the Active Learning through Opera program. In the course of a school term, students learn the pattern of the Hero’s Journey as codified by mythologist Joseph Campbell, and then work together to create their own chamber operas (libretto, music, staging, and costuming) for public performances. This program works with elementary and middle school age children public school districts in Northern New Mexico. To date, Frahm has co-created more than 20 operas for children in this program.