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Alvin  Singleton

Born: December 28th, 1940
Country of origin: United States of America
Singleton's music is soulful, with an understated simplicity that I particularly prize. Despite the studied economy of his means and the set character of his images, the music is never cold ... nor abstract. It glows with warmth, it hovers in the air, it paces itself with a glacial but palpably intuitive momentum. It refuses to pander to either academicism or populism, but is so honest and self-assured that listeners flock to it anyway.
– Kyle Gann, Chamber Music Magazine

Alvin Singleton was born in Brooklyn, New York and completed his studies at New York University and Yale. As a Fulbright Scholar, he studied with Goffredo Petrassi at Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy. After living and working in Europe for 14 years, Singleton returned to the United States to become Composer-in-Residence with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (1985-88). He subsequently served as UNISYS Composer-in-Residence with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (1996-97), and was the 2002–2003 Composer-in-Residence with the Ritz Chamber Players of Jacksonville, Florida. In addition, he has served as Visiting Professor of Composition at the Yale University School of Music. In Spring, 2004, Singleton joined the American Composers Orchestra as “Music Alive” Composer-in-Residence and Artistic Advisor for the IMPROVISE! Festival. In 2008, Singleton served as Composer-in-Residence in Tirana, Albania.

Singleton's music is notable for its rare union of influences, "from Mahler to Monk, Bird to Bernstein, James Baldwin to Bach, Santana to Prince," (Philadelphia Inquirer) as well as for its signature moments of theatricality and surprise. He has worked extensively with major orchestras worldwide, and has written significant works for chamber and vocal ensembles, as well as works for the theater. His set of Argoru pieces for solo instruments span a compositional period from 1968-2002 and have been championed by soloists across the world. His 1987 orchestral work, Shadows, was hailed by The Boston Globe as "fresh, original and entirely Singleton's own." Singleton's choral ballet TRUTH, based on the life of Sojourner Truth, was praised as "edgy and eclectic ... thought-provoking and affecting" by the Star Tribune following its premiere with VocalEssence in 2006. In 2008, his wind quintet Through it All was commissioned by The ASCAP Foundation and Spivey Hall and premiered by the Grammy-nominated Imani Winds. After Choice, for string orchestra, was commissioned and premiered in 2009 by the Orchestra of the League of Composers at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre. In 2010, Singleton’s concerto for piano and orchestra BluesKonzert had its Carnegie Hall debut with Ursula Oppens and the American Composer’s Orchestra.

Singleton has amassed numerous awards throughout his compositional life. He is the recipient of a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship and was commissioned by The Serge Koussevitsky Music Foundation and American Composers Orchestra for the orchestral work When Given a Choice, which premiered at Carnegie Hall in April 2004. His other awards include the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis by the City of Darmstadt, Germany, twice the Musikprotokoll Kompositionpreis by the Austrian Radio, the Mayor’s Fellowship in the Arts Award by the City of Atlanta, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2014, Singleton was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

His music is recorded on the Albany Records, Elektra/Nonesuch, First Edition, Tzadik, and Innova labels. Singleton’s latest CD “Sweet Chariot” was released in July, 2014 on Albany Records and is the third album in the label's series devoted to his music.

Singleton's recent large-scale orchestral work, Different River, was premiered by Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony in 2012 and his chamber work Sweet Chariot was premiered by the Philadelphia-based Astral Artists in 2013. In 2014, Singleton received the premiere of a new work for wind orchestra, Where the Good Sounds Live, commissioned by a consortium of more than 20 college and university bands, with Michael Votta leading the University of Maryland Wind Orchestra. In May, 2016, James Conlon led the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival Chamber Choir in the world premiere of Prayer as part of the Cincinnati May Festival. In February 2018, the Youth Symphonic Orchestra of Russia, led by Alexis Soriano, performed the world premiere of Across Differences at the Zimnij Theatre in Sochi as part of the 11th Anniversary Winter International Arts Festival. Currently, Singleton is working on a new piece for the Momenta String Quartet for the 2018-2019 season.
1940
Born December 28 in Brooklyn, NY
1964-67
Studied music composition and theory at New York University
1967-68
Studied composition privately with Hall Overton in New York.
1968-71
Studied composition with Mel Powell and Yehudi Wyner at Yale University School of Music.
1969
Studied composition with Gunther Schuller at the Berkshire Music Center, Tanglewood.
1971-72
Studied composition with Goffredo Petrassi as a Fulbright Scholar at Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy.
1972-85
Resided and composed in Graz and Vienna, Austria.
1982
"A Yellow Rose Petal" premiered by Houston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by William Harwood.
1985-88
Returned to the US to become Composer-in-Residence with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
1987
"Shadows" premiered by Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Robert Shaw
1988
"After Fallen Crumbs" premiered by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Palmer.
1988-91
Resident Composer at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA.
1989
Elektra/Nonesuch Records releases "Alvin Singleton" orchestral CD with "After Fallen Crumbs", "Shadows", "A Yellow Rose Petal" performed by Robert Shaw, Louis Lane and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
1996-97
UNISYS Composer-in-Residence with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
2002-03
Composer-in-Residence with the Ritz Chamber Players of Jacksonville, FL.
2002
Tzadik releases "Somehow We Can" album featuring chamber works "Somehow We Can", "Vous Compra" and "Again".
2003
Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.
2004

"When Given A Choice", commissioned by the Serge Koussevitsky Foundation and American Composers Orchestra, premieres at Carnegie Hall.

Joined American Composers Orchestra as "Music Alive" Composer-in-Residence and Artistic Adviser for the IMPROVISE! Festival.

2005
"After Fallen Crumbs", "Shadows", "A Yellow Rose Petal" become available on the First Edition album "Alvin Singleton", performed by Robert Shaw, Louis Lane and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
2006
"TRUTH", for chorus, ensemble and dance, premieres at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, MN by VocalEssence and Tu Dance.
2007
The album "Sing to the Sun" is released by Albany Records, marking the fourth all-Singleton CD release.
2008

"Through it All", commissioned by ASCAP Foundation and Spivey Hall, premiered by Imani Winds.

Served as Composer-in-Residence at the Fine Arts Academy in Tirana, Albania.

"Brooklyn Bones" premieres in Brooklyn, with Mark Shapiro leading the Monmouth Civic Chorus and Orchestra.

2010

Telarc releases "The Singing Rooms" CD including Singleton's "PraiseMaker" performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Robert Spano, conductor.

Orchestra of the League of Composers/ISCM debut "After Choice" for string orchestra, Louis Karchin, conductor.

2012
"Different River" debuts with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, led by Robert Spano
2014

Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Michael Votta leads the University of Maryland Wind Orchestra in the world premiere of "Where the Good Sounds Live", commissioned by a consortium of more than 20 college and university bands.

Albany Records releases "Sweet Chariot", featuring solo and chamber works composed between 1970 and 2012.

2016
World premiere of "Prayer" as part of the Cincinnati May Festival, with James Conlon conducting the May Festival Chamber Choir and members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

per page
  1. Baked in the Cake

    Baked in the Cake

    for piano
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: piano
    Edition: single sheet
    Order No.: ED 30063
    €1.99  *
  2. Greed Machine

    Greed Machine

    for vibraphone and piano
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: vibraphone and piano
    Order No.: ED 30086
    €13.99  *
  3. Argoru V/a

    Argoru V/a

    for bass clarinet
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: bass clarinet
    Order No.: ED 30005
    €22.99  *
  4. Argoru I

    Argoru I

    for piano
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: piano
    Order No.: ED 30022
    €17.99  *
  5. Between Sisters

    Between Sisters

    for soprano, alto flute, vibraphone and piano
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: soprano, alto flute, vibraphone and piano
    Edition: score and parts
    Language: English
    Order No.: ED 30040
    €27.99  *
  6. Jasper Drag

    Jasper Drag

    for clarinet, violin and piano
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: clarinet, violin and piano
    Edition: score and parts
    Order No.: ED 30053
    €31.99  *
  7. In Our Own House

    In Our Own House

    for chamber ensemble
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: soprano saxophone, trumpet, snare drum, piano
    Edition: score and parts
    Order No.: ED 30071
    €23.99  *
  8. Ishirini

    Ishirini

    for two violins
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: 2 violins
    Edition: score (also performance score)
    Order No.: ED 30072
    €17.99  *
  9. Helga

    Helga

    for violin, viola and cello
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: violin, viola and cello
    Edition: score and parts
    Order No.: ED 30073
    €13.99  *
  10. 50 Times Around the Sun

    50 Times Around the Sun

    for clarinet and piano
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: clarinet and piano
    Order No.: ED 30087
    €20.99  *

per page
Profile
Singleton's music is soulful, with an understated simplicity that I particularly prize. Despite the studied economy of his means and the set character of his images, the music is never cold ... nor abstract. It glows with warmth, it hovers in the air, it paces itself with a glacial but palpably intuitive momentum. It refuses to pander to either academicism or populism, but is so honest and self-assured that listeners flock to it anyway.
– Kyle Gann, Chamber Music Magazine

Alvin Singleton was born in Brooklyn, New York and completed his studies at New York University and Yale. As a Fulbright Scholar, he studied with Goffredo Petrassi at Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy. After living and working in Europe for 14 years, Singleton returned to the United States to become Composer-in-Residence with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (1985-88). He subsequently served as UNISYS Composer-in-Residence with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (1996-97), and was the 2002–2003 Composer-in-Residence with the Ritz Chamber Players of Jacksonville, Florida. In addition, he has served as Visiting Professor of Composition at the Yale University School of Music. In Spring, 2004, Singleton joined the American Composers Orchestra as “Music Alive” Composer-in-Residence and Artistic Advisor for the IMPROVISE! Festival. In 2008, Singleton served as Composer-in-Residence in Tirana, Albania.

Singleton's music is notable for its rare union of influences, "from Mahler to Monk, Bird to Bernstein, James Baldwin to Bach, Santana to Prince," (Philadelphia Inquirer) as well as for its signature moments of theatricality and surprise. He has worked extensively with major orchestras worldwide, and has written significant works for chamber and vocal ensembles, as well as works for the theater. His set of Argoru pieces for solo instruments span a compositional period from 1968-2002 and have been championed by soloists across the world. His 1987 orchestral work, Shadows, was hailed by The Boston Globe as "fresh, original and entirely Singleton's own." Singleton's choral ballet TRUTH, based on the life of Sojourner Truth, was praised as "edgy and eclectic ... thought-provoking and affecting" by the Star Tribune following its premiere with VocalEssence in 2006. In 2008, his wind quintet Through it All was commissioned by The ASCAP Foundation and Spivey Hall and premiered by the Grammy-nominated Imani Winds. After Choice, for string orchestra, was commissioned and premiered in 2009 by the Orchestra of the League of Composers at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre. In 2010, Singleton’s concerto for piano and orchestra BluesKonzert had its Carnegie Hall debut with Ursula Oppens and the American Composer’s Orchestra.

Singleton has amassed numerous awards throughout his compositional life. He is the recipient of a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship and was commissioned by The Serge Koussevitsky Music Foundation and American Composers Orchestra for the orchestral work When Given a Choice, which premiered at Carnegie Hall in April 2004. His other awards include the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis by the City of Darmstadt, Germany, twice the Musikprotokoll Kompositionpreis by the Austrian Radio, the Mayor’s Fellowship in the Arts Award by the City of Atlanta, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2014, Singleton was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

His music is recorded on the Albany Records, Elektra/Nonesuch, First Edition, Tzadik, and Innova labels. Singleton’s latest CD “Sweet Chariot” was released in July, 2014 on Albany Records and is the third album in the label's series devoted to his music.

Singleton's recent large-scale orchestral work, Different River, was premiered by Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony in 2012 and his chamber work Sweet Chariot was premiered by the Philadelphia-based Astral Artists in 2013. In 2014, Singleton received the premiere of a new work for wind orchestra, Where the Good Sounds Live, commissioned by a consortium of more than 20 college and university bands, with Michael Votta leading the University of Maryland Wind Orchestra. In May, 2016, James Conlon led the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and May Festival Chamber Choir in the world premiere of Prayer as part of the Cincinnati May Festival. In February 2018, the Youth Symphonic Orchestra of Russia, led by Alexis Soriano, performed the world premiere of Across Differences at the Zimnij Theatre in Sochi as part of the 11th Anniversary Winter International Arts Festival. Currently, Singleton is working on a new piece for the Momenta String Quartet for the 2018-2019 season.
Works
Chronology
1940
Born December 28 in Brooklyn, NY
1964-67
Studied music composition and theory at New York University
1967-68
Studied composition privately with Hall Overton in New York.
1968-71
Studied composition with Mel Powell and Yehudi Wyner at Yale University School of Music.
1969
Studied composition with Gunther Schuller at the Berkshire Music Center, Tanglewood.
1971-72
Studied composition with Goffredo Petrassi as a Fulbright Scholar at Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy.
1972-85
Resided and composed in Graz and Vienna, Austria.
1982
"A Yellow Rose Petal" premiered by Houston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by William Harwood.
1985-88
Returned to the US to become Composer-in-Residence with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
1987
"Shadows" premiered by Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Robert Shaw
1988
"After Fallen Crumbs" premiered by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra conducted by Michael Palmer.
1988-91
Resident Composer at Spelman College in Atlanta, GA.
1989
Elektra/Nonesuch Records releases "Alvin Singleton" orchestral CD with "After Fallen Crumbs", "Shadows", "A Yellow Rose Petal" performed by Robert Shaw, Louis Lane and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.
1996-97
UNISYS Composer-in-Residence with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.
2002-03
Composer-in-Residence with the Ritz Chamber Players of Jacksonville, FL.
2002
Tzadik releases "Somehow We Can" album featuring chamber works "Somehow We Can", "Vous Compra" and "Again".
2003
Recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship.
2004

"When Given A Choice", commissioned by the Serge Koussevitsky Foundation and American Composers Orchestra, premieres at Carnegie Hall.

Joined American Composers Orchestra as "Music Alive" Composer-in-Residence and Artistic Adviser for the IMPROVISE! Festival.

2005
"After Fallen Crumbs", "Shadows", "A Yellow Rose Petal" become available on the First Edition album "Alvin Singleton", performed by Robert Shaw, Louis Lane and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
2006
"TRUTH", for chorus, ensemble and dance, premieres at the Ordway Center for the Performing Arts in St. Paul, MN by VocalEssence and Tu Dance.
2007
The album "Sing to the Sun" is released by Albany Records, marking the fourth all-Singleton CD release.
2008

"Through it All", commissioned by ASCAP Foundation and Spivey Hall, premiered by Imani Winds.

Served as Composer-in-Residence at the Fine Arts Academy in Tirana, Albania.

"Brooklyn Bones" premieres in Brooklyn, with Mark Shapiro leading the Monmouth Civic Chorus and Orchestra.

2010

Telarc releases "The Singing Rooms" CD including Singleton's "PraiseMaker" performed by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Robert Spano, conductor.

Orchestra of the League of Composers/ISCM debut "After Choice" for string orchestra, Louis Karchin, conductor.

2012
"Different River" debuts with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, led by Robert Spano
2014

Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Michael Votta leads the University of Maryland Wind Orchestra in the world premiere of "Where the Good Sounds Live", commissioned by a consortium of more than 20 college and university bands.

Albany Records releases "Sweet Chariot", featuring solo and chamber works composed between 1970 and 2012.

2016
World premiere of "Prayer" as part of the Cincinnati May Festival, with James Conlon conducting the May Festival Chamber Choir and members of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.
Gallery Products

per page
  1. Baked in the Cake

    Baked in the Cake

    for piano
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: piano
    Edition: single sheet
    Order No.: ED 30063
    €1.99  *
  2. Greed Machine

    Greed Machine

    for vibraphone and piano
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: vibraphone and piano
    Order No.: ED 30086
    €13.99  *
  3. Argoru V/a

    Argoru V/a

    for bass clarinet
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: bass clarinet
    Order No.: ED 30005
    €22.99  *
  4. Argoru I

    Argoru I

    for piano
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: piano
    Order No.: ED 30022
    €17.99  *
  5. Between Sisters

    Between Sisters

    for soprano, alto flute, vibraphone and piano
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: soprano, alto flute, vibraphone and piano
    Edition: score and parts
    Language: English
    Order No.: ED 30040
    €27.99  *
  6. Jasper Drag

    Jasper Drag

    for clarinet, violin and piano
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: clarinet, violin and piano
    Edition: score and parts
    Order No.: ED 30053
    €31.99  *
  7. In Our Own House

    In Our Own House

    for chamber ensemble
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: soprano saxophone, trumpet, snare drum, piano
    Edition: score and parts
    Order No.: ED 30071
    €23.99  *
  8. Ishirini

    Ishirini

    for two violins
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: 2 violins
    Edition: score (also performance score)
    Order No.: ED 30072
    €17.99  *
  9. Helga

    Helga

    for violin, viola and cello
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: violin, viola and cello
    Edition: score and parts
    Order No.: ED 30073
    €13.99  *
  10. 50 Times Around the Sun

    50 Times Around the Sun

    for clarinet and piano
    Download Edition
    Composer: Singleton, Alvin
    Instrumentation: clarinet and piano
    Order No.: ED 30087
    €20.99  *

per page
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