Praised as “highly lyrical and provocative of thought” (San Francisco Classical Voice) and “mesmerizing” (The New York Times), the music of composer Alexandra Gardner is thrilling audiences and performers alike with a “particular alchemy of craft, whimsy, and sensual appeal” (The New Yorker). She composes for varied instrumentations and often mixes acoustic instruments with electronic music and field recordings, drawing inspiration from mythology, the natural sciences, and contemporary literature.
Alexandra’s compositions are regularly featured at festivals and venues around the world, including the Aspen Music Festival, Beijing Modern Festival, Centro de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona, Festival Cervantino, Grand Teton Music Festival, The Kennedy Center, The Library of Congress, Merkin Hall, Strathmore Music Center, Symphony Space, and the Warsaw Autumn Festival. Her music has been commissioned and presented by leading organizations and ensembles such as the National Flute Association, the American Harp Society, Astral Artists, Boulanger Initiative, Chicago Composers Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, SOLI Chamber Ensemble, Strathmore Music Center, Tesla Quartet, and the United States Navy Band.
Recent works include the string quartet Watershed, commissioned by Tesla Quartet, ImmerSphere, and The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center; Lantana for Seattle Symphony principal oboist Mary Lynch VanderKolk; and Sanctuary of Joy for organist Joy-Leilani Garbutt and violinist Laura Colgate, co-founders of Boulanger Initiative. Upcoming projects include a concerto for alto saxophone and wind ensemble inspired by the recent discoveries of the James Webb Telescope and a collaboration with New Music Detroit exploring the local history of a major medical invention from the 1950s.
Among Alexandra’s honors and awards are recognitions from American Composers Forum, ASCAP, Maryland State Arts Council, Mid-America Arts Alliance, The National Endowment for the Arts, The Netherland-America Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution. She is a recipient of the Vassar College W.K. Rose Fellowship in the Creative Arts and a Rubys Artist Project Grant from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation. She has conducted residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, MacDowell, and Willapa Bay AiR. She spent two years as a visiting composer at the Institut Universitari de l’Audiovisual in Barcelona, Spain, and served as Composer-In-Residence for the Seattle Symphony during the 2017-2018 concert season. Her music is recorded on the Innova, Ars Harmonica, Naxos, and Neuma labels.
Committed to nurturing the creative advancement of sound-makers of various ages and backgrounds, Alexandra maintains a consulting practice and teaching studio. She helps artists lead creative and fruitful lives through consulting, mentoring, and dialog facilitation related to artistic career development and the nature of creativity. Her teaching and training experience spans instrumental and electronic composition, audio production, and practical business skills for artists. She has worked for organizations such as National Public Radio and New Music USA and has served as Director of the Seattle Symphony Merriman-Ross Family Young Composers Workshop.
Alexandra holds degrees from The Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University and Vassar College. She lives in Baltimore, MD.