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Alla Borzova is a composer whose music has been commissioned and performed internationally. Born in Minsk, Belarus, she arrived in the United States in 1993. When honoring her with the Goddard Lieberson Fellowship, the American Academy of Arts and Letters hailed her as a “force on the American musical scene” with the observation: “Every note she writes has an intensity and immediacy that is as startling as it is affecting.” A winner of All-Union Composition Contest before her arrival in the U.S., a winner of the Delius Composition Contest, the recipient of the Susan Rose Recording Award, bestowed by the National Foundation for Jewish Culture, she has also received awards from various foundations (ASCAP, the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, Copland Recording Program, New York Foundation for the Arts, American Music Center), held residencies (Yaddo in the U.S., Brahmshaus in Baden-Baden, Germany), and served on the panel of the New York State Council for the Arts.
Ms. Borzova’s highly imaginative music has theatrical quality and combines lyricism and “mischief” (The New Yorker), classically balanced form and refined contemporary technique. Borzova’s compositions have been presented at Aspen, Cabrillo, Delius, and Sonic Boom music festivals in the U.S. and major festivals in Russia and Belarus, such as Moscow Musical Autumn, Sound Ways (St. Petersburg) and Belarusian Musical Autumn (Minsk). Her music has also been commissioned and presented by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (Leonard Slatkin’s direction), Cabrillo Festival Orchestra (Marin Alsop’s direction), Cassatt String Quartet, Cutting Edge concert series, Da Capo Chamber Players, St. Luke’s Chamber Ensemble, Dale Warland Singers, New Amsterdam Singers, Central City Chorus, The New York Concert Singers, Gregg Smith Singers, National Symphony Orchestra of Belarus, Symphony Orchestra and Choirs of Belarusian Radio and Television, as well as individual performers from all over the world.
Two all-Borzova compact disks include the composer’s orchestral music: cantata Songs for Lada (Belarusian folk poetry) and To The New World (“American Classics”, Naxos 2012), recorded by the Michigan State University Children’s Choir, soloists, and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under Leonard Slatkin’s direction. Borzova’s chamber disk “Pinsk & Blue” (Albany Records 2007), includes, among other works, two extended compositions for tenor and ensemble: solo cantata Majnun Songs (poetry by Majnun, a 7th century Arabic poet; the performances also feature Arabic dancer) and humorous song cycle Mother Said (contemporary American poetry by Hal Sirowitz). Other compositions on the disk include Images Françaises (violin and piano), Scherzo (clarinet and piano) and Pinsk & Blue (accordion and piano.) Recorded by the Naumburg Award-winning ensemble Da Capo Chamber Players and soloists, the disk also features the composer as a pianist and conductor. Among Borzova’s many compositions for voice is the song cycle Merry Hour (poetry by Mikhail Lermontov), premiered at Merkin Hall by American/German tenor Steven Ebel and Da Capo Chamber Players under the composer’s direction. Extended choral works include The Ballad of Barnaby (W.H Auden’s paraphrase of the medieval French legend Le Jongleur de Notre Dame) and the cycle When The Wind Is Blowing (poetry by the Belarusian poet Maxim Tank). Among her theatrical works are the one-act comic opera The Wedding Gift of Pirate Granny (libretto by David Johnston, presented by the American Lyric Theatre and Hartford Opera Theatre), one-act ballet When Reason Sleeps and Wakes: Goya Images inspired by Goya’s drawings; and The Animal That Drank Up Sound, a “music telling” theatrical fairy tale for children and families, which is scored for four instruments (flute/clarinet/trombone/euphonium/and percussion), and also includes choreography and narration. Commissioned by Indiana based ensemble Tales & Scales, it was toured in all U.S. states. Among her piano compositions is Gulliver’s Travels: A Voyage to Laputa, commissioned by Susan Rose through Meet the Composer and premiered by the noted Russian-American pianist Vassily Primakov. Borzova’s organ piece, And The Greatest of These Is Love, commissioned by a concert organist and Barnard College’s professor Gail Archer, was toured all over the world. The piece was inspired by Chagall’s and Matisse’s stained glass windows at the Union Church of Pocantico Hills in Westchester county of New York State. Borzova’s collection of organ compositions will be published in 2020 by The Sacred Music Press, a division of Lorenz Corporation.
Alla Borzova began piano studies and composing at the age of six. She holds a Doctorate in Composition from the Moscow Conservatory where she studied composition with Alexander Pirumov, orchestration with Nikolai Rakov and Yury Fortinatov, and piano with Anatoly Rosanov. She has pursued additional doctoral studies in Composition at The City University of New York Graduate School with David Del Tredici. John Corigliano also championed her music. Borzova was on the faculties of at Hunter and Lehman Colleges of the City University of New York and, in addition to composing, maintains an active career as a pianist, conductor, organist, and soprano.
Alla Borzova lives in Pelham, Westchester, with her husband, composer Alexander Dmitriev. Their daughter, Vladena (Lada) Dmitriev, lives in Portland, Oregon. She is an American writer and songwriter.