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Photo of Nkeiru Okoye

Nkeiru Okoye


A composer with a gift for incorporating many influences and styles within her work, Guggenheim Fellow Nkeiru Okoye is perhaps best known for her opera, “Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed that Line to Freedom,” the orchestral work, “Voices Shouting Out,” which is an artistic response to 9/11, and her suite, “African Sketches,” which has been performed by pianists around the globe. Dr. Okoye is profiled in the, “Music of Black Composers Coloring Book,” and Routledge’s “African American Music: An Introduction” textbook. She is the inaugural recipient of the International Florence Price Award for Composition. A recent New York Times article mentioned, “Okoye’s work would make a fitting grand opening for an opera company’s post-pandemic relaunch.”

The State of Michigan issued a proclamation acknowledging Dr. Okoye’s “extraordinary contributions” to the history of Detroit, Michigan, for “Black Bottom,” a symphonic experience commissioned by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, in celebration of the centennial season of Orchestra Hall. Her other recent works include “Tales from the Briar Patch,” commissioned by The American Opera Project, and “Charlotte Mecklenburg,” commissioned by the Charlotte Symphony. Some of her upcoming compositions for the 2021-2022 season include “Euba’s Dance,” for cellist Matt Haimowitz, “When young spring comes” for pianist and NPR Host, Laura Downes, and a micro-opera, “600 Square Feet,” for Cleveland Opera Theatre.

Dr. Okoye is a board member of Composers Now!. She holds a BM in Composition from Oberlin Conservatory, and a PhD in Music Theory and Composition from Rutgers University.