Composer & Librettist
…vivid use of the tensions between electronic scoring, onstage voices,
directional movement and choreography…. an almost surreal emotional dynamic,
…a telling and eclectic sense of theatre
— SRUTI, INDIA’S MUSIC AND DANCE MAGAZINE
on Alice Shields’ opera Mass for the Dead
Alice Shields spins stories rich with the cultures of the world. Her operas and other music for voice, instruments and media morph together Western and non-Western forms of classical music and theater, such as the Noh Theater of Japan and the Bharata Natyam dance-drama of India. The result is Shields’ intense body of work: highly sculptured sound and singing with impassioned, complex movement and powerful drama.
Shields holds a doctorate in music composition from Columbia University, has taught psychology of music at NYU and has been Associate Director of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center and Director of Development of the Columbia University Computer Music Center. One of the pioneers of electronic music, she is also unique as a composer in having become a professional opera singer, singing traditional and modern roles with the New York City Opera, Washington National Opera, the Clarion Music Society and other companies. Her expertise as a composer and librettist is highly informed by her training and onstage experience as a singer.
Her music has been performed by the Akademie der Künste in Berlin, Venice Biennale, New York City Opera’s Vox festival, New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, Columbia- Princeton Electronic Music Center, American Chamber Opera Company, Composers Chamber Theater, Santa Fe Opera Gallery Concerts, American Virtuosi Opera Theater, Lake George Opera Festival, Dance Alloy, Frostburg State University Dept. of Theater and Dance, George Mason University Dept. of Theater and Dance, Arangham Dance Theater (India), Azure Ensemble, American Composers Alliance and the Association for the Promotion of New Music.
Shields has received grants and awards from Chamber Music America, Meet the Composer, NEA, NYFA, the National Opera Institute, Mary Flagler Cary Trust and other institutions. Her music is recorded on New World Records, CRI, American Composers Alliance, Albany Records, Koch International Classics, Opus One and Tellus. Her work is published by the American Composers Alliance: https://composers.com/alice-shields