Lisa Bielawa

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Lisa Bielawa is a composer and vocalist based in New York City. She is a 2009 Rome Prize winner in Musical Composition and spent a year composing as a Fellow at the American Academy in Rome.[1]


“Bielawa, who lives in New York and circles the globe for performances of her own compositions, was born in San Francisco. Her father is composer and retired San Francisco State music professor Herbert Bielawa”.[2] Having been raised in a musical environment, Lisa Bielawa has been musically active since early childhood, learning piano, voice, and violin in addition to writing music. Bielawa's beginnings as a composer were unintentional, "I'd write cabaret songs and pieces for the San Francisco Girls Chorus, but it never felt entirely serious" [3] She continued to perform and write music, but studied English at Yale for her undergraduate degree, after receiving which, resumed her career in music. "She moved to New York two weeks after receiving her B.A. in Literature in 1990 from Yale University, and became an active participant in New York musical life. She began touring with the Philip Glass Ensemble in 1992, and in 1997 co-founded the MATA Festival, which celebrates the work of young composers” [4]


Ms. Bielawa’s chamber music has been performed in New York at Judson Memorial Church, The Brooklyn Museum, and Symphony Space. She curated the Boston Modern Orchestra Project’s Club Concerts. Other performances include Chance Encounters, a piece comprising songs and arias constructed of speech overheard in transient public spaces, by soprano Susan Narucki and The Knights at the Whitney Museum of American Art; unfinish’d, sent by the Yerevan Ensemble of Soloists in Armenia; and "Topos Nostalgia" from Chance Encounters with Ms. Bielawa as the soprano in Salzburg. World premieres in 2009 included Portrait-Elegy, written for pianist Bruce Levingston, in New York; The Project of Collecting Clouds at Seattle Town Hall by cellist Joshua Roman and chamber ensemble; and in medias res, a concerto for orchestra commissioned by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), the culmination of Ms. Bielawa’s three-year residency with that orchestra.

Bielawa is currently the Artistic Director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus.


Hildegurls: Electric Ordo Virtutum (Innova 712, 2009); A Handful of World (Tzadik 8039, 2007); First Takes (Albany Records TROY941, 2007); in medias res (BMOP/sound, 2010)


  • 1995 BRIO award[5]
  • 2009 Rome Prize winner in Musical Composition


  1. ^!/people/lisa-bielawa/
  2. ^ San Francisco Classical Voice, Feb 10, 2009
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Regional Report Stern Gives City's Parks a Groundbreak," New York Daily news June 1, 1995

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