“If you had to create from scratch the perfect 21st century musician, Alexander L’Estrange would be your template.” Howard Goodall
This accolade from composer and broadcaster, Howard Goodall, acknowledges not only L’Estrange’s huge versatility, but also his outstanding musicianship – he graduated with a First in Music from Merton College Oxford, and was a chorister in the famous New College Choir. A composer, arranger, workshop leader, MD of musicals, professional countertenor, jazz double bass player and pianist, he has carved a successful career working in a variety of musical fields and with respected musicians around the world. L’Estrange’s compositions are testament to this eclectic mix of styles, with echoes not just of the English choral tradition, but also jazz, pop, musical theatre and world music. Since the publication of his stunning Christmas choral anthem Lute-book lullaby, he has been inundated with commissions from festivals, schools, a cappella groups, choirs and choral societies.
The commission for Ahoy! Sing for the Mary Rose came about following the enormous success of its predecessor, Zimbe! Come, sing the songs of Africa!. L’Estrange’s ingenious fusion of traditional African song with jazz proved so popular with choirs all over the world that Zimbe! received over 150 performances within its first five years, something of a record for a new choral piece. It has become L’Estrange’s flagship work, cementing his reputation as one of the world’s most popular choral composers of the 21st century. (zimbe.net) L’Estrange’s output as a songwriter includes Love’s Philosophy, three stunning settings of poems by Shelley, Tennyson and Byron (currently on the ABRSM syllabus), and an award-winning one-woman show entitled Hello Life! In 2013 internationally acclaimed a cappella sextet The King’s Singers released their much-anticipated album of songs from the Great American Songbook, all of which are arranged by L’Estrange.
Collaboration with Joanna Forbes L’Estrange
Alexander has also written several more songs which are featured on the album New things to say by L’Estranges in the Night, the jazz duo he has with wife Joanna Forbes L’Estrange. In collaboration with Joanna, (professional soprano and former member and Musical Director of the Swingle Singers), Alexander writes choral works, including for Sing Up, and music for television. Together they devised the popular choral workshop You can sing … but can you swing?! which they present throughout the UK. Recently their two young sons have joined the family business by performing the title song (written by Alexander) for CBeebies’ new children’s programme Magic Hands.
More about Alexander L’Estrange at alexanderlestrange.com