Compressor stall phenomena are analyzed from the point of view of nonlinear control theory, based on bifurcation-catastrophe techniques. This new approach appears promising and offers insight into such well-known compressor instability problems as surge and rotating stall and suggests strategies for recovery. Three interlocking dynamic nonlinear state space models are developed. It is shown that the problem of rotating stall can be viewed as an induced bifurcation of solution of the unstalled model. Hysteresis effects are shown to exist in the stall/recovery process. Surge cycles are observed for some critical parameter values. The oscillatory behavior is seen to be due to development of limit cycles, generated by Hopf bifurcation of solutions. More specifically, it is observed that at certain critical values of parameters, a family of stable limit cycles with growning and then diminishing amplitudes is generated, then giving rise to an unstable family of limit cycles. This unstable family in turn bifurcates into other unstable families. To further illustrate the utility of the methodology, some partial computation of domains is carried out, and parameter sensitivity analysis is performed.