ALEXINA LOUIE (b 1949 )
Alexina Louie was born in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1949. Ms Louie completed undergraduate work at the University of British Columbia and continued her graduate studies with Pauline Oliveros and Robert Erickson in California where she received a Master’s degree in composition at the University of California at San Diego. Since returning to Canada in 1980 she has been commissioned by all the country’s major new music groups as well as by many well known performers. Named Composer of the Year in 1986 by the Canadian Music Council, her works have been recognized by a Juno award for best classical composition in 1988 and the selection of Music For a Thousand Autumns for performance in Hong Kong in 1988 by the International Society for Contemporary Music.
In the music of Louie one finds an emphasis on craft and imagination stemming from a wide variety of influences ranging from her Chinese heritage to her thorough theoretical and historical studies. Besides her work in California with Pauline Oliveros in sonic meditation and composition, her other studies at the University of California at San Diego introduced her to a new way of listening to sound. Having never studied orchestration formally, she credits her unique approach to instrumental colour to timbric experiments done with Robert Erickson, her work with the meditation ensemble, as well as explorations in the electronic medium.
At this time she was also exposed to the music of China, Japan, Korea, India and Indonesia and began studies in the ancient Chinese zither, the ch’in, with Lui Trun-Yuen at UCLA. Many of her works explore the contrasting principles of yin and yang. In a single work one might find extremes of dark and light, lyricism and percussiveness, or intense personal introspection and exhuberant extroversion. Through her on-going investigations of scores, recordings, literature, poetry, visual arts, personal introspection as well as continuous composition, she has developed a uniquely personal, expressive style which has as its root a blending of east and west.
Since 1980 Louie has made her home in Toronto where she works as a free-lance composer, working in all media including dance, film, and television.