LJ White's music serves ideals of direct, focused and socially relevant expression, assimilating an unrestricted array of influences through unpredictable-yet-contagious rhythms, strange and evocative sonorities, self-evident gestures, and apposite forms. He has worked with some of the most exciting players in contemporary music, including Alarm Will Sound, Ensemble SIGNAL, Ensemble Dal Niente, the JACK Quartet, the Spektral Quartet, Third Coast Percussion, Volti, and members of the International Contemporary Ensemble, Roomful of Teeth, the Talea Ensemble, and the Bang on a Can All-Stars.
White’s current and upcoming projects include new works for the La Jolla Symphony Orchestra conducted by Steven Schick, violist Ammie Brod of Ensemble Dal Niente, saxophonist Noa Even, the Pushback Duo, and the Spektral Quartet. He recently completed an evening-length work based on Elliot Smith’s music with the Sleeping Giant Composers Collective, Everything Means Nothing To Me, commissioned by Third Angle Ensemble, which will be released as an album in late 2018. White also recently composed a 30-minute song cycle for three sopranos and mezzo-soprano with live electronic processing, The Best Place for This, commissioned by the Quince Vocal Ensemble with support from a Chamber Music America grant. The work, which combines poetry by nine different contemporary poets along the lines of a search for one’s ideal geographic, social, relational, or emotional place, was performed in Kansas City, Omaha, St. Louis, and Cambridge, MA in 2017-18.
White’s string quartet, Zin zin zin zin, was included on the Spektral Quartet’s 2013 album CHAMBERS, released by Parlour Tapes+, and singled out for critical acclaim by numerous publications. The piece, which elaborates a fragment from a song by the Roots and considers aural characteristics of group speech and rap, has been performed extensively in concerts across the world and has been hailed by the New York Times as a "confident miniature, rich in implications," by New Music Box as "a tour-de-force of quartet writing," and by the Washington Post as “a terrific satire on the inflections that give language meaning.”
White has won the Craig and Janet Swan Prize, the Margaret Blackburn Composition Competition, an Emil and Ruth Beyer Award from the National Federation of Music Clubs, the Dolce Suono Ensemble Young Composer Competition, the North American Saxophone Alliance Composition Competition, and the American Prize, as well as grants from the American Composers Forum and Chamber Music America. He has been in residence at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Banff Arts Centre, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and his work has been featured at venues and festivals including the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival, CULTIVATE at Copland House, the Ecstatic Music Festival, the Resonant Bodies Festival, REDCAT, and the Composers Conference at Wellesley College.
White lives in St. Louis and teaches composition and music theory at Washington University.