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Reviews & Responses

 Critics                       Conductors                      Singers                       Listeners

 

Critics:

Finally On My Way To Yes:  The Choral Music of Elizabeth Alexander (CD):  "Accomplished Minnesota-based composer Elizabeth Alexander...is very gifted, writing in an accessible style that is well tailored to the requirements of both semi-pro and amateur choruses.   ...One hopes that the release of Finally On My Way to Yes will generate enough interest to facilitate a full-on, professional quality recording of Alexander's music by a single chorus, because the fine qualities and sound artistry behind her work certainly merit that."  — David N. Lewis, All Music Guide (copyright 2006).

Folks I'm Telling You:  "The wittiest piece came from Elizabeth Alexander, whose playful setting of Langston Hughes’ 19-word epigram, Folks, I’m Telling You, was a jazzy delight."  — Rohan Preston, Minneapolis Star Tribune

For So the Children Come:  "I heard plenty of wonderful music between Thanksgiving and Twelfth Night, as I usually do.  For So the Children Come was the most personally moving piece I encountered."  — Broad Street Review (Philadelphia)

...or a musician:  "[This] collage...offers opportunities to smile, especially in its treatement of Philip Dacey's poem...  The audience gave the composer sustained applause at the conclusion of this eight-minute work."  — The Isthmus (Madison, WI)

Music for Tai Chi:  "This beautiful and calming work was effective both visually and musically."  — Ear Magazine

My Aunt Gives Me a Clarinet Lesson:  "From the worktable of composer Elizabeth Alexander...poet Gregory Djanikian's playful text was...brought to life wonderfully."  — Syracuse Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY)

Praise Wet Snow Falling Early:  "[Alexander's] mastery of prosody and declamation results in a marriage between music and text that is dynamic and indelible.  All too few pieces written today seem to have the text so firmly in mind, which is why I continue to champion this piece."  — Drew Collins, "Only the Best," published in Choral Director Magazine

Reasons for the Perpetuation of Slavery:  "The highlight of the first half was Elizabeth Alexander’s Reasons for the Perpetuation of Slavery...The work is brilliantly innovative; the chorus is asked to stomp on the ground, evoking marching in chains, and the ensuing overlapping of the phrasing gives the impression of immense frustration and chaos."  — Anthony Aibel for New York Concert Review, on Distinguished Concerts International Concert at Avery Fisher Hall, March 1, 2012

Shelter This Candle: "Stunning...some of the most exquisite moments of the concert."  — KC Metropolis (Kansas City, MO)

When the Song of the Angels Is Stilled:  "...The most memorable moment [of the concert was] the second encore, Elizabeth Alexander's contemplative and hopeful When the Song of the Angels Is Stilled" — The Wednesday Journal (Chicago, IL)

Why I Pity the Woman Who Never Spills: "...A bluesy and truly inspired musical setting for women’s chorus"  — Janine Wanée, The Boston Musical Intelligencer

 

Conductors:

“Boy do we brag about your compositions! We love your work. Let me say this: People need your compositions! Audiences need to listen to the lyrics of some of these pieces that go deep into the psyche and resurrect the feelings of complexity and profundity of each life, theirs included. People are losing faith in who they are...your music brings them back to that!” Victoria Schneider, Artistic Director, AKSARA

Bells In the High Tower: "...An accessible choral arrangement made extraordinary by an absolutely delicate and ethereal piano accompaniment...an entirely different "level" of anthem quality.  Fantastic!" Ruth Palmer, Director of Music, Unity Church-Unitarian (St. Paul, MN)

Caterpillars Crawl:  “Everyone, especially the kids, loved it.  It was a moving experience for all."  Marjorie Herman, Director of Music, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Princeton (Princeton, NJ)

Cherish Your Doubt:  "We performed it last month, and loved every minute of learning and performing it."  — Nancy Starr, Director of Music, Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church (Oak Ridge, TN)

Do Not Leave Your Cares At the Door:  "Another Elizabeth Alexander Hit.  The choir was rocking."  — Steve Finner, Music Director, Unitarian Universalist Church (St. Johnsbury, VT)

Faith Is the Bird That Feels the Light:  "My kids absolutely LOVE singing Faith Is the Bird...they are just crazy about it."  — Joy Hirokawa, Bel Canto Children's Chorus (Red Hill, PA)

Finally On My Way To Yes:  "Awesomely fresh music…  The solo has freedom of improvisation, and comfort is found in [the] soulful harmonies toward the end."  — Jan Chamberlin, Music Director, Eliot Chapel (Kirkwood, MO)

Folks, I'm Telling You:  "I just read through Folks.  What a kick-ass piece of music that is!!  Thank you for offering it to the world!"  — Jason Shelton, Music Director, First Unitarian Universalist Church (Nashville, TN)

How To Sing Like a Planet:  "The students LOVE your piece. Of course, this makes me very happy  :-) "  — Eugene Rogers, Artistic Director, Michigan Youth Chamber Singers (Ann Arbor, MI)

Immortal Love:  "I really appreciate the elegance of your lines, the subtle, unexpected harmonic turns and generally how you achieve freshness within a well-known language."  — Simon Andrews, Director of Music, First Presbyterian (Lancaster, PA)

One More Redeemer:  "Hey Elizabeth, it's Jason Shelton.  It's Thursday evening.  Just finished choir practice and want to tell you how much I love One More Redeemer.  That piece makes me happy.  Thank you for that."  — Jason Shelton, Music Director of First Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashville (Nashville, TN)

A Palette To Paint Us As We Are:  "You have inspired more people than you will ever know. People of all colors were there and some had tears rolling down their face.  I was so moved."  — Susan Moninger, Director of choral ensembles at Elmhurst College (Elmhurst, IL)

Reasons for the Perpetuation of Slavery:  "Reasons for the Perpetuation of Slavery...was EXTREMELY well received.  In fact, there were about 10 seconds of silence after we finished before the applause began.  It's such a powerful piece of music."  — Jessica Corbin, Artistic Director of Bella Voce Singers (Brooklyn, NY)

Trust the Seeds:  "The poetry is exquisite. And the changing meter matches the natural flow of the text so beautifully."  — Jodi Rinehimer, Director of Music, MasterSingers of the Berks Classical Children's Chorus (Reading, PA)

When the Song of the Angels Is Stilled:  "Your setting does a beautiful job supporting and enhancing the text without getting in the way of the message.  In fact, it brings life to the message."  — Paul Eschmann, Director of Choirs, Math Valley Lutheran High School (Saginaw, MI)

Where There is Light in the Soul:  "I'm very glad to have found your music, and appreciate both the quality of the texts and music, as well as their accessibility."  — Darryl Dewalt, Music Director, Camrose United Church (Alberta, CANADA)

 

Singers:

A Love Like That:  "Seriously...Oh. My. God!  The new piece is amazing!  It's...it's...just perfect for me!  I LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!"  — Marti Mendenhall, Jazz, Classical and Studio Vocalist (Portland, OR)

Climb:  "Climb took me on a musical journey, from the somewhat dissonant beginning...through the ascending lines powerfully urging the falcon to climb into the stratosphere. The last notes of the piano do not even resolve (which would bring the feeling of the piece back down to earth); rather, the falcon is allowed to continue climbing beyond the bounds of the song."  — Brett Hanisko, singer, Cedarburg High School Choir (Cedarbury, WI)

Faith Is the Bird That Feels the Light:  "Our vocal group...sang through Faith is the Bird last night, and enjoyed it so much.  The lyric is so wonderful, the music a real joy to sing and hear."  — Molly MacMillan, Scola Singers (Ithaca, NY)

Oath Taking:  "This is such an incredible song.  There is something very deep and evocative about it...   Immediate connection to some divine place...you are amazing!!!"   Deborah Berioli, Founder of Venice Performing Arts Series (Venice, FL)

Why I Pity the Woman Who Never Spills:  "We always vote on our favorite song -- Pity won hands down!!"  — Kay Bryant, Director of Pacific Women's Chorus (San Diego, CA)

 

Listeners:

Fighting Over What We Believe: "This piece brought tears to my ears.  Thank you for your beautiful work."  - Linda Jo Reinhard (Portland, OR)

When the Song of the Angels is Stilled:  "I want you to know that When the Song of the Angels Is Stilled was my "WOW" moment for this Christmas season.  What a beautiful poem by Howard Thurman and what a wonderful piece of music... and fantastically performed by Chicago A Cappella!!!  Thank you for your Christmas gift!"  — Linda McConnell, audience member (Geneva, IL)

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