Alexandra Coursen has been involved in music since the age of 3, when she started piano lessons with her mother. As a 14 year-old, Alexandra became dis-enchanted with school, dropped out and ran away from home. She stopped practicing until several years later she heard a Chopin waltz on the radio, and wanted to learn it. Alexandra began playing piano again, and as a high school dropout, there was plenty of time to practice. Piano lessons resumed, and after passing a General Equivalency Diploma exam, she attended Oberlin Conservatory. Deciding that she was not meant to be a professional musician, Alexandra went on to law school.
Always attracted to the sound of the harp, Alexandra purchased a 26-string lever harp during the 1990’s. She took lessons with local harpists, but is mostly self–taught. Harp related activities comprise most of her day, and include playing at various celebrations, playing with two harp ensembles, playing with Irish sessions, playing healing music, and teaching.
In 2014, Alexandra started composing NamePieces using the letters in a name as the basis for the notes in the piece. “NamePieces” is the book of seven of these compositions, and includes a section on how to compose a namepiece.
In 2016, Alexandra composed "Neshama", a NamePiece for a wedding, and entered it in an international composition competition, the Future Blend Project. She was the only woman among 13 finalists, and was runner-up to the winner. "Neshama" has been recorded for a CD featuring the Future Blend compositions, and is being published by PoppyHarp Publishing.
Alexandra is presently immersed in a year of composition for the harp with Deborah Henson-Conant.
Describing how I composed
"Nesh-ama". This NamePiece
was runner-up in The Future
Blend composition competition.