Alexina Louie

Last updated: July 27, 2022

One of Canadaʼs most sought after composers, Alexina Louie has written for many of the countryʼs leading soloists, chamber ensembles, new music groups and orchestras. Her works have become part of the standard repertoire, in particular her many compositions for piano which are frequently performed by students and professionals alike. Perhaps best known of these is Scenes From A Jade Terrace, commissioned by Jon Kimura Parker.

Louie’s orchestral works have received a multitude of important international performances. Some of the world renowned conductors who have performed her music include Sir Andrew Davis, Leonard Slatkin, Alexander Lazarev, Charles Dutoit, Bramwell Tovey, Gunther Herbig, Pinchas Zukerman, Kent Nagano, Peter Oundjian, Carlos Kalmar, James Judd, and Ingo Metzmacher.

Louie’s music has also been selected for productions by The National Ballet of Canada. Dominique Dumais’ a hundred words for snow (2003) was set to Louieʼs O Magnum Mysterium: In Memoriam Glenn Gould, which The Globe and Mail described as Louie’s “profoundly beautiful” homage to the late Glenn Gould. In 2007, The National Ballet of Canada commissioned Louie to write Wolf’s Court, a new work in collaboration with choreographer Matjash Mrozewski.

In 2009, the Canadian Opera Company presented Louie’s full-length, mainstage opera The Scarlet Princess (with libretto by Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang (M. Butterfly) in concert before a sold-out audience in Toronto. The live recorded concert was broadcast across Canada and was received with enormous praise.

Her vocal and operatic works have been sung by widely celebrated singers, including Barbara Hannigan, Russell Braun, Daniel Okulitch, and John Relyea. Louie’s expertise in vocal writing are highlighted in her ground-breaking international award-winning humorous made-for-TV mini-operas Toothpaste and Burnt Toast, both of which were created in collaboration with director Larry Weinstein and librettist Dan Redican.

In 2014, acclaimed violinist James Ehnes commissioned Beyond Time, a highly virtuosic, colourful work for violin and piano which he has taken on tour. Audiences and critics alike have been thrilled by his performances of the piece.

Most recently, Louie’s highly anticipated Triple Concerto For Three Violins And Orchestra, jointly commissioned by the Toronto Symphony, the National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Montreal Symphony for their three concertmasters, was performed by all three orchestras during Canada’s celebratory 150th Anniversary year.

Louie has twice won JUNO awards (Canada’s equivalent of the Grammy) for Best Classical Composition. In addition to the JUNOs, she is the recipient of many awards and honours including the Jules Léger Prize for Chamber Music, the National Arts Centre Composers Award, the Chalmer’s Award in Composition, an honourary doctorate from the University of Calgary, as well as many other distinctions.

Upcoming events

NAC media featuring Alexina Louie