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Harriet Tubman info
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Feature in Opera America
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Nkeiru Okoye

Excerpt of the opera Harriet Tubman

''In vigorous march time, with the chatter of muted trumpets giving way to jazzy riffs and then an elegiac melody, Voices Shouting Out affirmed a faith in the ability of America to put tragedy behind it and move forward.”
The Grand Rapids Press

''What might have been a rough-edged run-through of a work looking to find its fullest voice turned out to be an emotionally charged and musically sublime experience…'' Mark Satola, The Plain Dealer, Feb 1, 2016.

Hailed as “achingly beautiful,” by the BALTIMORE SUN, compositions by composer Nkeiru Okoye [in KEAR roo oh KOY yeh] have been performed by performing organizations such as the Philadelphia, Detroit, Virginia, Indianapolis, Grand Rapids, Richmond, Mississippi, Tacoma, and New Jersey Symphony Orchestras, and numerous regional orchestras, nationwide. Okoye’s opera, HARRIET TUBMAN: When I Crossed that Line to Freedom received a 2013 Arts Works grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.She has earned additional awards, commissions and commendations from Make Music New York!, MEET THE COMPOSER, MetLife Creative Connections, Composer’s Collaborative, Inc., the Walt Whitman Project, Yvar Mikhashov Trust for New Music, the Beneva Foundation, the NAACP, and the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

Okoye’s music has been presented at the International Consortium for Music of Africa and its Diaspora at (Oxford University, UK), Dialogue Between China and Africa in Music and Halim el-Dabh Symposium (Central Conservatory of Music, Beijing, People’s Republic of China), the Athena Festival of Women in Music (Murray, KY), and the Gateways Festival (Eastman School of Music, Rochester, NY); and conferences of the College Music Society, National Association of Schools of Music, The African American Art Song Alliance, and National Association of Teachers of Singing.

An exciting voice in the field of contemporary classical and education/family repertoire, Okoye’s music is notable for its appeal to diverse audiences and infusion of popular music genres.Her best known works include BROOKLYN CINDERELLA (2011, commissioned by American Opera Projects), SONGS OF HARRIET TUBMAN (2007-08, recorded by the Dvorak Symphony Orchestra), PHILLIS WHEATLEY (2005 recorded by the Moscow Symphony), VOICES SHOUTING OUT (2002, commissioned by the Virginia Symphony); and AFRICAN SKETCHES (2007-08, published in the Oxford University Press ANTHOLOGY OF PIANO MUSIC OF THE AFRICAN DIASPORA).

As a frequent guest lecturer and panelist, Okoye was a composer mentor at the University of Ghana for the 2005 International Society of Contemporary Music’s World New Music Days. In 2006, she was winner of a British American Project Fellowship. A native New Yorker of African American and Nigerian decent, Okoye was honored at Nigeria’s 40under40 ceremony, in Lagos.A polymath who designed the acclaimed “Canbie Collection,” of multicultural, soft sculpture dolls, Okoye decided to pursue training as a composer at the age of 13 when her first original composition won first prize at a national competition.She went on to receive her bachelor’s degree in Music Composition and Theory from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and a Master’s and Ph.D. in Composition and Theory from Rutgers University.Dr. Okoye currently is director of Music Theory and Composition at the State University of New York at New Paltz.

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