photo: Ed Hensley

Alexis Alrich started piano lessons at age eight with a rare teacher who encouraged her to start music composition at the same time. Her studies continued at the New England Conservatory of Music, California Institute of the Arts, and with Lou Harrison at Mills College in California.

Harrison was a key mentor, and Alrich’s music is also influenced by West Coast Minimalism, French Impressionism, Asian music, and American roots music. Her compositional style is tonal and melodic, using lively rhythms and colorful timbres to weave a musical narrative.

She was composer-in-residence for the San Francisco Choral Artists for the 2019-2020 season and was commissioned by them to write three pieces, Pedacitos de Cielo, The Railway Train, and Psalm 104.

She has received numerous grants and commissions from the American Composers Forum, ensembles and individuals, most recently Onward for solo marimba and Voice of the Forest for solo piano. The Orphic Ensemble recently commissioned and took on tour a percussion quartet, Muse of Fire. While living in Hong Kong she was commissioned to write two pieces for mixed Chinese and Western instrument ensembles and narrator, The Shadow in the Moon and The Beat of the Dragon Boat.

Her Marimba Concerto was performed by Dame Evelyn Glennie and the City Chamber Orchestra of Hong Kong. The Bachtrack classical music website reviewed the performance: “…an electric performance of composer Alexis Alrich’s Marimba Concerto…this action-packed piece injected fresh energy into the whole room…it stole the show.” Her erhu concerto Song of Eternal Regret was performed in Shanghai, China by the Shanghai Chinese Orchestra.

As a pianist, Alrich also plays and composes chamber music. Recent compositions include Water Colors for oboe and strings and String Quartet No. 3. Alrich collaborates frequently with Cambodian choreographer Charya Burt, writing original dance scores as well as transcriptions of traditional Cambodian music. The Bay Area Women’s Philharmonic premiered her piece Avenues in 1991, which has been since performed numerous times. She was a founding member and pianist for the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra.

Her music is published by Alto Publications in Bristol, England


Prisma Vol. 5

Release Date: April 9, 2021
Catalog Number: NV6344
21st Century
Navona Records’ acclaimed PRISMA series continues with a fifth installment, again showcasing the Janáček Philharmonic Orchestra’s riveting take on contemporary composition. With a focus on innovation and imaginative performance, the orchestra brings a breath of fresh air to a repertoire that’s all-too-often dominated by mainstream works.