A composer with a gift for incorporating many influences and styles within her work, 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 she composed as an artistic response to 9/11, and her suite, African Sketches, which has been performed by pianists around the globe. Profiled in both the Music of Black Composers Coloring Book and Routledge’s African American Music: An Introduction textbook, Dr. Okoye is also the inaugural recipient of the 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.”
In March 2020, 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, a sung story, 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 the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and a PhD in Music Theory and Composition from Rutgers University.