A Subtle Clipping

A Subtle Clipping was a multi-media installation commissioned as part of the Audible Edge exibit in 2014 at the Katherine E Nash Gallery in Minneapolis. Other artists included Berenice Abbot, Joseph Beuys, Philip Blackburn, Mary Ellen Childs, Harold E Edgerton, Douglas Eqard, Katarina Fritsch, Douglas Geers, Beatrix*JAR, John Keston, Abinadi Meza, Isamu Noguchi, Ryan Wurst, and Patrick Beseda.

The piece consisted 16 speakers arranged along 32 feet of wall in the gallery. Each speaker had a unique “piece” that evolved over the 5 weeks of the exhibit.

photo 1  photo 2-2  photo 3  photo 3-1


Tone-Target-icon1-220x220ToneTarget is a music learning game designed for all instrumentalists, singers, and songwriters. The app is available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, and uses a “hero style” interface and accurate pitch tracking to allow any instrumentalist to take advantage of the game. The game comes with over 600 levels, each featuring a short song written or arranged by J. Anthony Allen.

From the iTunes Store:

Want to teach yourself to read music? Play an instrument? Improve your skills as a musician? There’s an app for that. Introducing Tone Target, an interactive music game for iPhone that turns music lessons into a game-like learning experience for anyone, from beginners to seasoned musicians.

The new iPhone app Tone Target, produced by McNally Smith College of Music and developed by Audiofile Engineering, makes learning an instrument and reading music an interactive, fun experience. With hundreds of levels built for everyone from first-time novices to professional performers, and the ability for users to create new levels, Tone Target’s music library is constantly growing.

Unlike entertainment games like Guitar Hero or Rock Band, Tone Target provides an experience with real benefits for student musicians. Users get immediate feedback on their playing or singing as the game determines the accuracy of their pitch and rhythm. From scales and arpeggios to Beethoven and Strauss, Tone Target teaches musicians of all levels to improve their playing ability and accuracy.

“We hope that music educators and private lesson teachers find a valuable resource in Tone Target,” says app creator Dr. J. Anthony Allen, a member of McNally Smith’s Composition & Songwriting Faculty and leader of the school’s New Media Group. “In addition to Tone Target’s hundreds of pre-packaged levels, it can help educators better teach technique by reading pitches with complete accuracy.” The app is especially helpful for singers looking to develop better control of their voice as an instrument and an internal understanding of pitch.

Tone Target is available in the Apple App Store for 99 cents and comes with over 600 levels. Visit www.mcnallysmith.edu/tonetarget for more information on playing, how to download levels, how to create levels, and frequently asked questions.


icon175x175JamTutor is an app by Zivix, LLC designed to be a learning platform for guitar on the iPad. It works with the revolutationary JamStik controller: a wireless guitar with real strings and frets. The JamTutor app features over 3 hours worth of music composed by J. Anthony Allen for the game. 

From the iTunes Store:
Who’s tried to learn guitar but struggled, then to put that beautiful instrument in the closet?
We love guitars and we have developed the jamstik to be the gateway to learning, playing and creating.

Learn guitar in the most interactive and engaging way with JamTutor, the companion app for the award winning jamstik.
The only system that can display finger positions on screen that will make learning guitar fun.

The virtual tutoring in JamTutor uses the sensors of the jamstik to see your fingers in real-time showing you on screen right from wrong.
Great for beginners through intermediate players using video to get you started, follow the leader activities, arcade game“like” challenges and engaging backing tracks that turn learning from being tedious in to a rewarding and fun experience.

Grab your pick and the jamstik to go from the basics through X chords, challenges, open play and interactive guitar Tab to build the skills to really play.

This first lesson plan will have you playing quickly and if you already take lessons will compliment the skills you already have. Now you can learn and play on the go, almost anywhere at your own pace with the jamstik and the jamTutor app.

McNally Smith Bumper

Music and Sound design for the 2011 McNally Smith College of Music promotional video bumper. Used for web, commercial, broadcast, and television promotional spots.

The Dvorak Project

Written and directed by Rachel Perlmeter with a score and sound design by J. Anthony Allen. Inspired by the Czech composer Antonín Dvorák’s travels to the Midwest in the summer of 1893, the work mingles Dvorák’s meditations at the water’s edge – creekside – with the poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and the legend of Hiawatha, the phantasmagoria of the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, the imaginary of the American frontier, and the heady electrical and cinematic experiments of the day as experienced by a homesick Romantic composer encountering the mythic West. Dvorák was visiting the Twin Cities, in part, to research a possible opera project based on Longfellow’s epic poetic retelling of Hiawatha. But the power of the site – the crashing Minnehaha Falls – the deep banks of ferns – overwhelmed him and inspired an impromptu melody that he sketched out on his shirt-cuff and later elaborated into another work entirely – the Violin Sonatina, Op. 100. He never completed the opera. The moment marked a turning point not only in Dvorák’s career, but in American music as well.


A documentary film with Original Score by J. Anthony Allen.

Genderf*kation: A Gender Emancipation is the story of six individuals and their journey & triumphs through the social, religious and political landscapes of a society that struggles to understand or allow for gender variations. This documentary includes provocative interviews with professionals and outreach members who are active in this community to help shed light on a very controversial matter.

This film breaks through the gender stereotypes and historical gender ideologies to liberate our bodies, minds and spirits from our own social Gender Dysphoria. Although it is based in Minnesota, the subject matter has no borders. The subject of gender is a taboo topic in many societies, yet fundamental to every aspect of all of our lives.




In November 2009 I was contact by director Rachel Perlmeter about collaborating on an upcoming production of Peter Weiss’ Marat/Sade. It’s a fascinating play about the Marquis de Sade, Jean-Paul Marat, and the French Revolution, with a fair dose of historical ideas of madness as well. Wikipedia sums it up pretty well: “a bloody and unrelenting depiction of human struggle and suffering which asks whether true revolution comes from changing society or changing oneself.”

The music is a tricky thing. It was written without a score, but with sections of the script labeled “song”. Lots of them – about 30 songs in all. Since the 1960s, the common score to use was Richard Peaslee’s. Rachel wanted to set her production in the future, with a fresh score. Certain actors are asked to play instruments in the original play. We ended up with a small ensemble in the cast: clarinet, 2 alto saxophones, a flute, and some percussion. We decided to make the majority of the score electronic, to show a more futuristic sense.

I called on my two favorite collaborators to get the job done: Noah Keesecker and Joshua Clausen. We work together from time to time under the moniker Ballet Mech, and it was a logical step to make this a Ballet Mech project.

The show ran from Feb. 26 – March 6 at Macalester College (St. Paul, MN). It was a great time, and has me really interested in doing more theater.

Below is a promo video that Noah Keesecker made. It shows some of the intensity of our production, as well as our score.