Elizabeth Alexander (b.1962) grew up in the Carolinas and Appalachian Ohio, the daughter of a piano teacher and a minister/prison warden. The music, stories and challenging questions that filled her childhood are reflected in her catalogue of over 100 songs and choral works, and a style which moves easily between concert stage, choir loft and jam session. Her acclaimed text settings of both original lyrics and the words of others prompted Choral Director Magazine to write that her “mastery of prosody and declamation results in a marriage between music and text that is dynamic and indelible.” Other reviewers have described her music as “brilliantly innovative” (New York Concert Review), “truly inspired” (Boston Intelligencer) and “stunning…exquisite…sculpting light into sound” (Kansas City Metropolis).
Elizabeth’s many commissions have included works for orchestra, chamber ensembles, solo instruments and voice, but she is best known for her choral pieces, which have been performed by thousands of choruses worldwide. A recent McKnight Composition Fellow, she has also received grants, awards and fellowships from the Jerome Foundation, New Music USA, Minnesota State Arts Board, New York Council on the Arts, Wisconsin Arts Board, National Orchestral Association, International League of Women Composers, American Composers Forum. She studied composition with Steven Stucky, Jack Gallagher, Yehudi Wyner and Karel Husa, receiving her doctorate in Music Composition from Cornell University.
She lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she reads voraciously, makes pretty good biscuits, looks for all kinds of excuses to visit her two grown sons, and gardens during the three month period in Minnesota which is not winter.
1: (Easy) No divisi in voice parts, accompaniment doubles or supports vocal parts, diatonic, symmetrical phrases, textures mostly homophonic, simple rhythms, stepwise voice leading (conjunct), moderate ranges, no extended techniques, and limited sustained singing.
2: (Medium Easy) Limited divisi, voices somewhat independent from accompaniment, some chromatics, phrases may be longer or more fragmented, mostly homophonic, moderate rhythmic complexity, some difficult intervals (disjunct motion), moderate ranges, extended techniques are simple, limited sustained singing.
3. (Medium) Limited divisi, unaccompanied, or with independent accompaniment (voice parts not doubled), many chromatics, phrases of varying lengths, more contrapuntal textures, moderately complex rhythms, some difficult intervals (disjunct motion), moderately difficult/challenging ranges, extended techniques are potentially challenging, and some sustained singing.
4. (Medium Difficult) Abundant divisi, unaccompanied, or accompanying instruments are fully independent from voice parts, many chromatics and/or key changes, long and/or broken phrases, potentially little homophony, complex rhythms, many difficult intervals (disjunct motion), difficult/challenging ranges, potentially difficult extended techniques, and a demand for sustained singing.
5. (Difficult) Adundant divis, unaccompanied, or accompanying instruments are fully independent from voice parts, many chromatics and/or key changes, long and/or broken phrases, potentially little homophony, complex rhythms, extreme ranges, use of challenging or unusual extended vocal techniques, abundant sustained singing.