Lisa DeSpain is a New York City based composer of jazz and theater. Her awards include the 2000 ASCAP/IAJE Commission Honoring Duke Ellington, an NEA Jazz Fellowship, and an Aaron Copland Fellowship. She studied jazz piano under Eliane Elias and Ellis Marsalis and jazz composition under Manny Album. She currently serves as Music Director for 60’s pop icon, Lesley Gore.
Ms. DeSpain specializes in training young voices for the theater. She serves as vocal coach for the Harlem School for the Arts and at Professional Performing Arts School. Her students appear in Broadway productions such as Mary Poppins, The Lion King, and Hairspray. She is the editor and creator of Alfred Music Publishing’s new series of Broadway Anthologies for the teen and young voice titled Broadway Presents!
Also highly decorated in the musical theater and modern dance communities, Ms. DeSpain is the recipient of a Dramatist Guild Jonathen Larson Fellowship, Eugene O’Neil Fellowship, and a New Dramatists development grant. The New York Times has heralded her work with modern dance legend, Donlin Foreman as “intoxicating“ and ”witty and intelligent.” She has worked as arranger for Madeleine Peyroux, Kelly Clarkson, The Big Apple Circus, and for the charities Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang.