Alice Shields

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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.

ACE Publications

1 AJE TO ANANDA (2017)
Baritone, piano

2 AURORA (1987)
oboe, violin


excerpt - Aurora Ensemble

3 AZURE (2003)
flute, violin, viola, cello


excerpt - the Azure Ensemble

4 Balkan Melody 2 for wind quartet (2015)
flute, clarinet in Bb, alto saxophone, bassoon

5 Balkan Melody 3 for wind quartet (2016)
oboe, clarinet, alto saxophone and bassoon

6 DAWN (2015)
Flute, Clarinet

7 Komachi at Sekidera (1999)
soprano/mezzo-soprano, alto flute, koto

Komachi at Sekidera excerpt.mp3

excerpt - Komachi at Sekidera

8 KYRIELLE (2008)
violin, tape


Airi Yoshioka, violin

Mezzo Soprano, Viola


excerpt - Levertov Song No. 2

11 Mioritza - Requiem for Rachel Corrie (2004)
trombone, tape

ShieldsMioritza excerpt1.mp3

excerpt - Mioritza, Monique Buzzarté, trombone

12 NERUDA SONGS (1980)
female voice, cello

ShieldsNeruda Songs_The Mermaid excerpt.mp3

excerpt - Neruda Songs - The Mermaid

piano, glockenspiel, vibraphone, xylophone


excerpt - Iktus Percussion with Julia Den Boer - Firehouse Concert Series

14 QUINTET for piccolo, piano, glockenspiel, vibraphone & xylophone (2016)
piccolo, piano, perc (3): glockenspiel, vibraphone, xylophone

trombone, tape

ShieldsThe River of Memory excerpt.mp3

excerpt - River of Memory - Monique Buzzarte, trombone

16 SRI MATA (English Horn) (2012)
English horn

17 SRI MATA (Violin) (2015)

18 SRI MATA - viola solo (2015)

19 TODAY IS BLISS (2016)
trumpet, piano


excerpt - midi realization Today is Bliss

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