Jordan Alexander Key

Composer, 2021

Dr. Jordan Alexander Key (b. 1990) is a blind, queer composer and founder of the Aegis Institute of Florida, a private, tuition-free, non-profit secondary school for academically minded, curious young adults. Having educational backgrounds and degrees in Music, Mathematics, Eastern Asian Philosophy, and Religious Studies, with performance experience as a pipe organist, vocalist, saxophonist, and bagpiper, playing in orchestras, jazz bands, folk ensembles, choirs, and as a soloist, Jordan’s music is highly eclectic and programmatically multifarious. Jordan’s research in early music, video game music, sacred music, contemporary concert and chamber music, Scottish folk music, and the history of Western rhythmic notation infuse his music with not only compelling tunefulness, but also intricate counterpoint, kaleidoscopic harmony, and inventive rhythmic impulse. His music is described as “uncompromisingly demanding but satisfyingly compelling” (composer Daniel Asia) and “wholesomely electric and forward-thinking” (composer Paul Richards) as well as “fearlessly vulnerable in its approach to social issues” (Calliope’s Call). 

Key’s commission credits include works written for JACK Quartet, Icarus Quartet, Unheard-of//Ensemble, Loadbang ensemble, Odin Quartet, Calliope’s Call, Fonema Consort, Bold City Contemporary Ensemble, saxophonist Laurent Estoppey, organist Pamela Decker, violinist Irvine Arditti, and many others. Along with individual ensembles, Key has been commissioned by the National Science Foundation, the Harn Museum of Art, Wolfsburg Kunstmuseum, the Florida Players Theater Company, The BRIT School, and the Vancouver Queer Arts Festival. His music has been performed at venues including the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Vancouver’s Orpheum Theatre, and the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. 

Active as a musicologist, Key’s research focuses primarily on music of the 14th, 15th, and 20th centuries with particular interest in rhythmic theory and evolution, his research in which is thoroughly outlined in his recent dissertation, “Pan-Rational & Irrational Rhythm, The History, Development, and Modern Implementation of Nondyadic Rational Rhythms in Western Music,” wherein he designs a modification to our present system of time signature and rhythmic notation that emancipates the composer from many limitations in our current system of rhythmic prescription. 

Outside of his musical and artistic career, Jordan publicly speaks around the Southeastern United States at Universities and High Schools about handicapped and queer advocacy in education and the arts. His and his husband’s school, The Aegis Institute, aims to bring better, more affordable, cross-disciplinary, research-oriented, socially minded education to all socio-economic classes in Florida and the United States generally during a time of diminishing standards and vision in secondary education.