TONUS PEREGRINUS | artists
Alexander L'Estrange
Countertenor
Name
Alexander L'Estrange
Biography
Alexander L’Estrange (b.1974) is an award-winning British choral composer, arranger and workshop leader of international acclaim. Educated at Oxford, first as a chorister in New College Choir and later at Merton College, he gained a First Class Honours Master of Arts degree in Music. His compositional voice is characterised by his love for jazz harmony and groove (he is a professional jazz pianist and double bassist as well as a jazz examiner and trainer for the ABRSM) and his background in the English choral tradition. Known for his charismatic and engaging leadership style, L’Estrange presents his music at the annual ACDA conference in the States. L’Estrange is best known for his series of large-scale choral works which draw together singers of all ages across the community. The first of these was Zimbe! Come sing the songs of Africa!, a 40-minute fusion of African song and jazz, which received over 150 performances worldwide within its first five years, establishing his reputation as one of Britain’s most popular living composers. Zadok Rules – Hallelujah! , commissioned by the Hanover Band to commemorate the 60th anniversary for Queen Elizabeth II’s reign, is based on Royal music through the ages; Ahoy! Sing for the Mary Rose is an uplifting fusion of sea shanties and Tudor music, commissioned to mark the opening of the Mary Rose Museum; Song Cycle: vive la vélorution! was commissioned for the 2014 grand départ in Yorkshire of the Tour de France, its ten entertaining songs telling the story of cycling; Wassail! Carols of Comfort and Joy, for which he won the Music Teachers Award for Best Classical Education Initiative in 2018, is a joyous sequence of Christmas songs from the folk tradition and; most recently, Freedom! The power of song, written in collaboration with his wife Joanna Forbes L’Estrange, celebrates the role of singing to effect positive change in the world. With the exception of Zadok, each of these works is scored for an SATB choir, unison children’s choir and jazz quintet. Many of L’Estrange’s sacred choral works have been recorded by the award-winning chamber choir Tenebrae, conducted by Nigel Short, on a disc entitled On Eagles’ Wings (SIGNUM label.) His song output includes Love’s Philosophy, three stunning settings of poems by Shelley, Tennyson and Byron, currently on the ABRSM Singing Syllabus, and Winter Songs, another collaboration with Joanna, commissioned to mark the 60th anniversary of the Finchley Children’s Music Group. Most recent is a setting of three movements from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran for unaccompanied 8-part choir. L’Estrange is the go-to arranger for world-class a cappella groups including The Swingles, Voces 8 and The King’s Singers, for whom he wrote and produced the acclaimed Great American Songbook album. As Consultant Editor of Faber Music’s popular Choral Basics series, he has written hundreds of arrangements of songs from across the musical spectrum. Television credits include the theme tune for the popular CBeebies programme Magic Hands.
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