Alvin Singleton was born in Brooklyn, New York and completed his studies at New York University and Yale. As a Fulbright Scholar, he studied with Goffredo Petrassi at Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, Italy. After living and working in Europe for 14 years, Singleton returned to the United States to become Composer-in-Residence with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra (1985-88). He subsequently served as UNISYS Composer-in-Residence with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (1996-97), and was the 2002–2003 Composer-in-Residence with the Ritz Chamber Players of Jacksonville, Florida. In addition, he has served as Visiting Professor of Composition at the Yale University School of Music.
He is a member of The MacDowell Colony Board of Directors and was elected to The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2014. In addition to his 14 MacDowell residencies, Singleton has amassed numerous awards throughout his compositional life, including a 2003 Guggenheim Fellowship, the Kranichsteiner Musikpreis by the City of Darmstadt, Germany, twice the Musikprotokoll Kompositionpreis by the Austrian Radio, the Mayor’s Fellowship in the Arts Award by the City of Atlanta, and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
His newest large-scale orchestral work, Different River, premiered by Robert Spano and the Atlanta Symphony in May of 2012 and his most recent work, Sweet Chariot, was presented by the Philadelphia-based Astral Artists in February of 2013. His work Where the Good Sounds Live, commissioned by a consortium of more than 20 college and university bands, was premiered on November 7, 2014 with Michael Votta leading the University of Maryland Wind Orchestra. His music is published by Schott Music Corporation and is recorded on the Albany Records, Elektra/Nonesuch, First Edition, Tzadik, and Innova labels.