Composer and librettist Alice Shields has been praised for the startling blend of emotional power and sensitivity in her compositions and for the dramatic impact of her writing for the human voice. Her compositions embrace an exotic array of vibrant forms of world music theater, ranging from the profoundly eerie Noh Theater of Japan to the intensely percussive Bharata Natyam dance-drama of South India and the wildly exciting theatrical techniques of China, carving dramatic tales of women and human rights and the paranormal around the world.
Current performances include the world premiere of White Heron Dance for Noh Theater dancer Mayo Miwa and electronic music on April 17, 2017 by the Association for the Promotion of New Music at Opera America, and additional performance with video by Tom Barratt on July 14, 2017 for the NYC-Electroacoustic Music Festival at National Sawdust, Brooklyn, and Mioritza – Requiem for Rachel Corrie for trombone and electronic music at Abrons Art Center on June 19, 2017 with trombonist Haim Avitsur.
Shields’ operas include the chamber opera Criseyde (2010) performed by the New York City Opera VOX Festival, for which she wrote both music and libretto, adapting and twisting the plot of Chaucer’s poem Troilus and Criseyde ---in Chaucer’s own Middle English--- into a very different story in which Criseyde becomes the heroine. The New York Times reviewed Criseyde as "intense, and richly scored". Earlier operas include the monodrama Shivatanz premiered at the Akademie der Künste in Berlin; Shaman and Mass for the Dead for the American Chamber Opera Company in NYC, and Apocalypse recorded on New World Records.
Shields’ audiences are often struck by the sense of movement and dance in her music, even when there is nothing to actually be seen. This sense of bodily movement is even more compelling in her many works for dance, such as Shenandoah (2002) for James Madison University and Dust (2001) for Dance Alloy of Pittsburgh and the Arangham Dance Theatre of Madras, India which toured India in 2002 (New Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai).
Her works are recorded on New World Records/CRI, Albany Records, Koch International Classics and Tellus, and can be heard on YouTube and SoundCloud. For more information please see www. aliceshields.com