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Alexandra Gardner headphone portrait

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 sources such as mythology, the natural sciences, contemporary literature, and her background as an audio engineer and percussionist.

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, the Boulanger Initiative, Chicago Composers Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, String Orchestra of Brooklyn, SOLI Chamber Ensemble, Strathmore Music Center, Town Hall Seattle, and the United States Navy Band.

Current projects include a string quartet commissioned by the Tesla Quartet with The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and ImmerSphere, Inc., a concerto for saxophone and symphonic band and a collaborative project with the ensemble New Music Detroit.

Among Alexandra’s honors and awards are recognitions from American Composers Forum, ASCAP, D.C. Commission for the Arts and Humanities, 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, 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 coaching and consulting practice and teaching studio. She helps artists lead creative and fruitful lives through coaching, consulting, and mentoring, presenting masterclasses and workshops, and facilitating dialog and discussion 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.

An active member of the arts community, Alexandra regularly serves as a panelist and adjudicator for granting organizations and artist competitions. She is a Leadership Circle member of the Boulanger Initiative.

Alexandra’s primary musical mentors have been Annea Lockwood, Pauline Oliveros, Richard Wilson, Morton Subotnick, Augusta Read Thomas, and Chen Yi. She holds degrees from The Peabody Institute of Johns Hopkins University and Vassar College. Currently she lives in Baltimore, MD.