About Alexander L’Estrange (b.1974)
“If you had to create from scratch the perfect 21st century musician, Alexander L’Estrange would be your template.”
(Howard Goodall CBE)
Alexander L’Estrange has carved a hugely successful and varied career as a choral composer, arranger, song writer, jazz double bass player and pianist, choral workshop leader, presenter of children’s concerts, jazz examiner and trainer for the ABRSM, and passionate advocate for the importance of singing in schools. Born in Bristol in 1974, L’Estrange was a chorister under Edward Higginbottom at New College, Oxford, during which time he sang the solos on many recordings and won the prestigious Ernest Reed Young Composers Prize at the age of 11; he went on to graduate with a First Class Honours degree in Music from Merton College, Oxford.
L’Estrange’s choral output is testament to the eclectic mix of styles which shaped his musical education. Although his compositional roots are undeniably in the English cathedral tradition, there are ubiquitous echoes of jazz, pop, musical theatre or world music, most notably in his flagship work Zimbe! Come sing the songs of Africa! which he wrote in 2008. This 40-minute choral fusion of African song and jazz received over a hundred and fifty performances worldwide within its first five years, cementing L’Estrange’s growing reputation as one of Britain’s most popular living choral composers. Having hit upon the winning combination of SATB choir, unison children’s choir and jazz quintet, L’Estrange employed the same formula for his choral celebration of Henry VIII’s famous warship, Ahoy! Sing for the Mary Rose, cleverly combining sea shanties and Tudor music. Song Cycle: vive la vélorution! will mark the opening of 2014’s Tour de France.
As a consummate arranger, L’Estrange is highly sought after by the world’s leading vocal ensembles including Tenebrae, The Swingle Singers, Amarcord, Voces 8 and The King’s Singers, for whom he arranged and produced the Great American Songbook CD in 2013 to great acclaim. He has also written two Jazz “playalong” books/CDs and hundreds of arrangements of songs across the whole musical spectrum, many of which are part of Faber Music’s popular Choral Basics series, of which he is consultant editor. His output as a songwriter includes Love’s Philosophy, three stunning settings of poems by Shelley, Tennyson and Byron (currently on the ABRSM Singing Syllabus), an award-winning one-woman jazz musical entitled Hello Life! and a number of jazz originals recorded by his wife, former Swingle Singer Joanna Forbes L’Estrange, on an album entitled New things to say.
For more information and for a complete list of choral works visit www.alexanderlestrange.com
To buy or download sheet music visit www.alexanderlestrangeshop.com
You can follow Alexander L’Estrange on Twitter@ALEstrangeMusic