Praised as “highly lyrical and provocative of thought” (San Francisco Classical Voice), “mesmerizing” (The New York Times), and “pungently attractive” (The Washington Post), the music of composer Alexandra Gardner is thrilling audiences and performers alike with a clear, expressive sound and a flair for the imaginative and unexpected. She composes for varied instrumentations and often mixes acoustic instruments with electronics, drawing inspiration from mythology, the natural sciences, and her training as a 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.
As the Seattle Symphony 2017-18 Season Composer-in-Residence, Alexandra’s new symphonic work, Significant Others, was commissioned by SSO and premiered on the orchestra’s subscription series under the baton of Music Director Ludovic Morlot. She also led workshops with LGBTQ+ youth affected by homelessness to create a collaborative composition entitled Stay Elevated, which was performed by musicians of the symphony at the Seattle Art Museum, and directed the Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop, leading 10 pre-college students in a 12-week program culminating in a performance of world premieres.
Recent projects include Fade for flute and soundtrack, commissioned by the National Flute Association, Hummingbird Dreams commissioned by Astral Artists for pianist Natalia Kazaryan, and an adaptation of her orchestra work Just Say Yes for a consortium of wind ensembles. Current commissions include a piece for oboe and electronics for Seattle Symphony principal oboist Mary Lynch, a trio for flute, harp and percussion for the American Harp Society, a string quartet for Quartet ES of the Hartt School of Music, and a duo for two marimbas and electronics for the Threshold Music Project.
Among Alexandra’s honors and awards are recognitions from the American Composers Forum, American Music Center, ASCAP, Mid-America Arts Alliance, Maryland State Arts Council, The Netherland-America Foundation, the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution. She has conducted residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Harvestworks, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, The MacDowell Colony, and Willapa Bay AiR, and she spent two years as a visiting composer at the Institut Universitari de l’Audiovisual in Barcelona, Spain. Her music is recorded on the Innova, Ars Harmonica, and Naxos labels.
Alexandra is also active as an arts advocate, educator, and consultant. She enjoys helping people of all ages and abilities explore and create music through masterclasses and workshops, coaching and mentoring musicians, and facilitating dialog and discussion related to artistic career development and the nature of creativity.
Born and raised in Washington, D.C., Gardner holds degrees from The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University (M.M.) and Vassar College (B.A.). She currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland.