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Composer-vocalist Lisa Bielawa was born in San Francisco into a musical family. She played the violin and piano, sang, and wrote music from early childhood. Ms. Bielawa 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. Ms. Bielawa takes inspiration for her work from literary sources and close artistic collaborations. The New York Times describes her music as, “ruminative, pointillistic and harmonically slightly tart,” and Time Out New York praised her “prodigious gift for mingling persuasive melodicism with organic experimentation.”
Ms. Bielawa has received fellowships and awards from the Alpert-Ucross Foundation, the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Italy, the Fund for U.S. Artists at International Festivals, the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Joyce Dutka Arts Foundation, ASCAP, and the Fondation Royaumont in France. In 2007–2008, Lisa Bielawa was a Radcliffe Institute Fellow.
An enthusiastic advocate for the field, Ms. Bielawa now serves on the board of the MATA Festival. In addition, she has served on the board of the American Music Center and taught composition through the New York Youth Symphony Making Score program. In addition to her work as a vocalist with the Philip Glass Ensemble, she tours and records with John Zorn and has premiered and recorded works by numerous other composer colleagues.