Born 1949 in Kingston, Jamaica, Alberga decided at the age of five to be a concert pianist. Five years later she was composing works for the piano. In 1968 she won the biennial Royal Schools of Music Scholarship for the West Indies, which she took up in 1970 at the Royal Academy of Music in London, studying piano and singing. But a budding career as a solo pianist — she was one of three finalists in the International Piano Concerto Competition in Dudley, UK in 1974 — was further augmented by composition with her arrival at The London Contemporary Dance Theatre in 1978. Under the inspirational leadership of its Artistic Director, Robert Cohan, she became one of the very few pianists with the deepest understanding of modern dance and her company class improvisations became the stuff of legend. These in turn led to works commissioned and conceived for dance from the company and Alberga later became the company’s Musical Director, conducting, composing, and playing on LCDT’s many tours.

It was on leaving LCDT that Alberga was able to fully embark on the journey towards her calling as a composer. Since then, interest in her music across all genres — orchestral, chamber, vocal, and works for stage and screen — has accelerated, while her output has continued to grow. In 2015, her commissioned work Arise Athena! for the opening of the Last Night of the BBC Proms, was seen and heard by millions and cemented her reputation as a composer of huge originality and consummate skill.

Alberga has gathered a number of awards—notably a NESTA fellowship in 2000 and a Paul Hamlyn Award in 2019. In 2020, she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music.

At different times, Alberga was a member of the African Dance Company Fontomfrom and played guitar and sang with the Jamaican Folk Singers. She was part of the duo Double Exposure with her husband, the violinist Thomas Bowes, and more recently they have together founded and nurtured Arcadia, an original festival in the English countryside where they live.

Albums

Figments Vol. 3

Release Date: May 27, 2022
Catalog Number: NV6419
21st Century
Chamber
Oboe
Piano Trio
Violin
On FIGMENTS VOL. 3 from Navona Records, the imaginations of composers Jacob E. Goodman, Gary D. Belshaw, Andrew Lewinter, Thomas Mann Jr, Elliott Miles McKinley, and Eleanor Alberga are brought to life in a dynamic breadth of emotional performances, from soothing to exhilarating and natural to mythical. A dynamic assortment of contemporary chamber music, fantasy and reality collide to bring forth exhilarating stories spanning scenes from Greek Mythology to those of spirited animals and surreal scenic portraits. Universal melodies and rhythms find their form, short sketches evoke seasonal qualities, and fantasies float into reality in this collection.
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Wild Blue Yonder

Release Date: April 23, 2021
Catalog Number: NV6346
20th Century
21st Century
Chamber
Cello
Oboe
Violin
Eleanor Alberga explores the whole gamut of the human experience in  WILD BLUE YONDER, an equally diverse and coherent set of four contemporary chamber music pieces. While written over the course of twenty-two years, these pieces burst the limits of both space and time. No-Man’s-Land Lullaby reaches back over a century to World War I; Shining Gate of Morpheus enters the realm of the mystical; Succubus Moon explores the dark sides of the  human psyche; and The Wild Blue Yonder offers a glimpse into a world that is at once alien and  wonderful. Undauntedly, positively unsettling album; perfect listening for these unsettling times and a worthy addition to the much hailed album of Alberga's three string quartets from 2019.
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String Quartets 1, 2, & 3

Release Date: June 14, 2019
Catalog Number: NV6234
20th Century
21st Century
Chamber
String Quartet
With her richly diverse background and commissions from the BBC Proms and The Royal Opera, one would expect that composer Eleanor Alberga’s Navona Records release would be nothing short of a showstopper. It is just that and more. The three pieces on her STRING QUARTETS 1, 2 & 3 offer a penetrating view into Alberga’s creative genius. The album pulls the absolute best from the gifted Ensemble Arcadiana.
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