American arranger, composer, conductor and teacher Alice Parker was born on 16 December 1925 in Boston, Massachusetts, where she studied music theory at the New England Conservatory with Mary Mason. Later she studied organ and composition at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She also studied at Tanglewood with conductor Robert Shaw, and then studied choral conducting at Juilliard.
She worked initially as a high school teacher, but also collaborated with Robert Shaw, producing arrangements of material for the Robert Shaw Chorale to record.
During her long career she wrote forty-seven choral suites, over forty original hymns, thirty-three cantatas, eleven works for chorus and orchestra, eleven song cycles and five operas. Additionally, many of her arrangements of folk songs, hymns and spirituals have entered the repertoire of choirs internationally.
In 1985, Alice Parker set up Melodious Accord, a professional choir, with which she recorded and released fourteen albums. She also created a fellowship programme to assist mid-career musicians to study with her.
Alice Parker died at her home in Hawley, Massachusetts on 24 December 2023, aged ninety-eight.
Spotlight. Largely Traditional - Keith Bramich listens to Christmas music recorded in 1975 in Atlanta, Georgia. '... an intriguing glimpse of the work of Robert Shaw and his Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus from nearly fifty years ago.'