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 draws inspiration from sources such as mythology, contemporary poetry, and her training as a percussionist. Composing for varied instrumentations and often mixing acoustic instruments with electronics, Alexandra is building new audiences for contemporary music through an expressive sound and a flair for the imaginative and unexpected.
Gardner’s compositions have been featured at festivals and venues internationally, including performances at the Aspen Music Festival, Warsaw Autumn Festival, MATA, Beijing Modern Festival, Centro de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona, Corcoran Gallery of Art, Look & Listen, Conservatory of Amsterdam, Symphony Space, Merkin Hall, The Library of Congress, Festival Cervantino, and The Kennedy Center. Her music has been commissioned and performed by acclaimed ensembles and musicians such as SOLI Chamber Ensemble, cellist Joshua Roman, Percussions de Barcelona, pianist Jenny Lin, Chicago Composers Orchestra, and The Seattle Chamber Players.
Upcoming projects include a composition for saxophone quartet and electronics, and a new work for orchestra commissioned by the Seattle Symphony for the orchestra’s 2017-18 season. In addition, Gardner will conduct a residency with Seattle Symphony during which she will create a new community composition with LGBTQ youth who are experiencing or have experienced homelessness, as part of the Seattle Symphony’s Simple Gifts initiative. She will also serve as the Merriman Family Young Composers Workshop Director and lead 10 students in a 12-week program that culminates in a performance of world premieres.
Recent performance highlights include world premieres of Ciphers and Constellations for string orchestra with electronics, commissioned by The String Orchestra of Brooklyn, and Vixen, a NEA-funded commission for the Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble‘s National Parks Project.
Gardner’s music has received honors and awards from organizations such as Meet The Composer, ASCAP, American Music Center, American Composers Forum, Mid-America Arts Alliance, D.C. Commission for the Arts and Humanities, The Netherland-America Foundation, Open Meadows Foundation, the Maryland State Arts Council, the Prix Ton Bruynèl, and the Smithsonian Institution. She has conducted residencies at the Atlantic Center for the Arts, Harvestworks Digital Media Arts Center, Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, and The MacDowell Colony. She was awarded the 2002-03 Vassar College W.K. Rose Fellowship in the Creative Arts, and from 2002-2004 served 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.
Gardner holds degrees from The Peabody Institute of The Johns Hopkins University and Vassar College. She currently resides in Baltimore, Maryland.