Alice Shields earned three degrees from Columbia University: Doctor of Musical Arts in music composition (1975), Master of Arts in music composition (1967), and Bachelor of Science in music (1965), studying with Jack Beeson, Vladimir Ussachevsky, Otto Luening and Chou Wen-Chung. At Columbia she served as Associate Director of the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center (1978-1982) and Associate Director for Development of the Columbia University Computer Music Center (1994-1996). She has taught the psychology of music as Assistant Professor of Psychology at NYU and Rutgers’ Mason Gross School of the Arts, and lectures on the psychology of music at institutions such as the Santa Fe Opera, CUNY Center for Developmental Neuroscience, International Society for Research on Emotion, American Psychological Association and the National Association for the Advancement of Psychoanalysis.
Through her operas, electronic and vocal music, Alice Shields explores socio-political events by creating stories rich with the language, music and theatrical techniques of different cultures, and different times. Her opera Criseyde, which she re-wrote in Chaucer's medieval English as a heroic feminist tale, was performed by the New York City Opera singers and orchestra (VOX Festival, 2008) and called "intense, richly scored" by the New York Times. The mini-opera Komachi at Sekidera, inspired by a Japanese Noh play, was performed at the National Opera Center in Manhattan (2015). Shields' electronic operas include Shivatanz (Akademie der Künste, 1994), Apocalypse recorded on New World Records (1994), and Mass for the Dead (1992) — "the spookiest thing heard in New York this year" – New York Times. The Mud Oratorio (2003), a theater piece for dance, was commissioned and premiered by Frostburg State University Dept. of Dance and Theater: "mind-boggling art" – Associated Press.
Current projects include the premiere of the electronic work White Heron Dance — based on the Japanese folk ritual "Sagi Mai" — by the Association for the Promotion of New Music in NYC in April, 2017 at the National Opera Center NYC; the premiere of the electronic work Mourning Song — which is based on mourning songs from around the world — at the NYC-Electroacoustic Music Festival in June, 2017; and the premiere of a new chamber piece for the Eurasia Consort for the harpist Tomoko Sugawara.
For more information please see www.aliceshields.com