Composers & the Voice 2017-19


2017-19 Fellows

LAURA BARATI (librettist)  is a writer, performer, and deviser of new works. As a writer, her work has been performed at American Opera Projects, NYMF, Don’t Tell Mama, The Duplex, Barrington Stage Company, Prospect Theater Company, Two River Theater, Music Theatre Kansas City, Common Man Musicals, Stage Femmes, The Sidewalk Café, and Artemis Theatrical. Recent projects include the operas Henna Leaves and Uprising with composer Aleksandra Weil, the musical How To Create A Young Girl with composer TJ Rubin, and The Electric Brain’s We Regret To Inform You That Reza Is Dead. Current projects include the musical Miss Havisham’s Wedding with lyricist David Gomez and composer Jude Obermüller, and Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary with The Electric Brain. 75 Miles, her short opera with composer Matt Boehler, will premiere at The Kennedy Center as part of Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative in 2019. Laura is a founding member of the devising collective The Electric Brain, and trained at Kenyon College, the National Theater Institute, and the School at Steppenwolf, and received her M.F.A. in Graduate Musical Theatre Writing from NYU Tisch. 2017-19

LAURA BARATI (librettist) is a writer, performer, and deviser of new works. As a writer, her work has been performed at American Opera Projects, NYMF, Don’t Tell Mama, The Duplex, Barrington Stage Company, Prospect Theater Company, Two River Theater, Music Theatre Kansas City, Common Man Musicals, Stage Femmes, The Sidewalk Café, and Artemis Theatrical. Recent projects include the operas Henna Leaves and Uprising with composer Aleksandra Weil, the musical How To Create A Young Girl with composer TJ Rubin, and The Electric Brain’s We Regret To Inform You That Reza Is Dead. Current projects include the musical Miss Havisham’s Wedding with lyricist David Gomez and composer Jude Obermüller, and Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary, Mary with The Electric Brain. 75 Miles, her short opera with composer Matt Boehler, will premiere at The Kennedy Center as part of Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative in 2019. Laura is a founding member of the devising collective The Electric Brain, and trained at Kenyon College, the National Theater Institute, and the School at Steppenwolf, and received her M.F.A. in Graduate Musical Theatre Writing from NYU Tisch.
2017-19

MATT BROWNE (composer)  (b. 1988) intersects eclectic influences such as György Ligeti, Alfred Schnittke, and Igor Stravinsky. His music has been praised for its “unbridled humor” (New Music Box) and described as “witty” (The Strad) and “beautifully crafted and considered” (What’s On London). Matthew has had the privilege to collaborate with such ensembles as the Minnesota Orchestra, Alarm Will Sound, Albany Symphony, Harold Rosenbaum and the New York Virtuoso Singers, New Jersey Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, the New England Philharmonic, the Villiers Quartet, the Donald Sinta Quartet, the Tesla Quartet, the PUBLIQuartet, and SEVEN)SUNS. Recently, Matthew’s music has received honors such as winner of the ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize (2017), an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers award (2014), a BMI Student Composer award (2015), a residency at the Mizzou International Composers Festival, fellow at CULTIVATE Copland House (2017), winner of the New England Philharmonic Call for Scores (2014), a residency at the Minnesota Orchestra Composers Institute (2016), winner of the American Viola Society’s Maurice Gardner Composition award (2014), and a residency at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s First Annual Composers Institute (2013). Matthew holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Music Composition from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Previous teachers include Michael Daugherty, Kristin Kuster, Carter Pann, and Daniel Kellogg.

MATT BROWNE (composer) (b. 1988) intersects eclectic influences such as György Ligeti, Alfred Schnittke, and Igor Stravinsky. His music has been praised for its “unbridled humor” (New Music Box) and described as “witty” (The Strad) and “beautifully crafted and considered” (What’s On London). Matthew has had the privilege to collaborate with such ensembles as the Minnesota Orchestra, Alarm Will Sound, Albany Symphony, Harold Rosenbaum and the New York Virtuoso Singers, New Jersey Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony, the New England Philharmonic, the Villiers Quartet, the Donald Sinta Quartet, the Tesla Quartet, the PUBLIQuartet, and SEVEN)SUNS. Recently, Matthew’s music has received honors such as winner of the ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize (2017), an ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composers award (2014), a BMI Student Composer award (2015), a residency at the Mizzou International Composers Festival, fellow at CULTIVATE Copland House (2017), winner of the New England Philharmonic Call for Scores (2014), a residency at the Minnesota Orchestra Composers Institute (2016), winner of the American Viola Society’s Maurice Gardner Composition award (2014), and a residency at the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra’s First Annual Composers Institute (2013). Matthew holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts in Music Composition from the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Previous teachers include Michael Daugherty, Kristin Kuster, Carter Pann, and Daniel Kellogg.

KIM DAVIES (librettist)  writes for theater, television, film, opera, and new media. She is a 2017-2019 librettist fellow with American Opera Projects and a 2016 fellow in playwriting with the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her play Smoke premiered at the Flea Theater in 2014 for a thrice-extended run, was a New York Times and Time Out New York Critics’ Pick, and has been produced in cities across the United States, where it is published by both Playscripts and Overlook Press, and in translation in Brazil. Her play Stet had its world premiere at Abingdon Theatre Company in New York in 2016. With Ibsen International, Davies developed a new theater work with local artists in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou from 2015 to 2016. She is a member of Youngblood at Ensemble Studio Theatre and the New Georges Jam, and received her MFA in playwriting from Brooklyn College.

KIM DAVIES (librettist) writes for theater, television, film, opera, and new media. She is a 2017-2019 librettist fellow with American Opera Projects and a 2016 fellow in playwriting with the New York Foundation for the Arts. Her play Smoke premiered at the Flea Theater in 2014 for a thrice-extended run, was a New York Times and Time Out New York Critics’ Pick, and has been produced in cities across the United States, where it is published by both Playscripts and Overlook Press, and in translation in Brazil. Her play Stet had its world premiere at Abingdon Theatre Company in New York in 2016. With Ibsen International, Davies developed a new theater work with local artists in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou from 2015 to 2016. She is a member of Youngblood at Ensemble Studio Theatre and the New Georges Jam, and received her MFA in playwriting from Brooklyn College.

SCOTT ORDWAY (composer)  (1984, Santa Cruz, California) is a composer, conductor, and Assistant Professor of Music Composition at Rutgers University. From 2014–17, he was a member of the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music. In recent years, Ordway has created a series of extended works fusing vocal and instrumental music with original text, video, digital soundscape, and experimental theater. These compositions explore a diverse array of contemporary themes, including natural landscape, protest and revolution, and the lives of cities. His music has been called “exquisite” by The New York Times, “a marvel” by The Philadelphia Inquirer, and “an American response to Sibelius” by The Boston Globe, and has been presented by leading American and international festivals and institutions with projects in Berlin, Beijing, Tunis, Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston. In 2016, his debut recording with the Hong Kong Philharmonic was released on NAXOS Records.

SCOTT ORDWAY (composer) (1984, Santa Cruz, California) is a composer, conductor, and Assistant Professor of Music Composition at Rutgers University. From 2014–17, he was a member of the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music. In recent years, Ordway has created a series of extended works fusing vocal and instrumental music with original text, video, digital soundscape, and experimental theater. These compositions explore a diverse array of contemporary themes, including natural landscape, protest and revolution, and the lives of cities. His music has been called “exquisite” by The New York Times, “a marvel” by The Philadelphia Inquirer, and “an American response to Sibelius” by The Boston Globe, and has been presented by leading American and international festivals and institutions with projects in Berlin, Beijing, Tunis, Mexico City, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston. In 2016, his debut recording with the Hong Kong Philharmonic was released on NAXOS Records.

FRANCES POLLOCK’s (composer)  music digs its roots into jazz, blues, gospel, folk, and a variety of other styles. Her music has been performed all over the country by the Bridge Ensemble, Prima Volta, The North Carolina Governors’ School, Divine Waters Ensemble, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, and many others. In 2016, Frances was commissioned by Washington National Opera to write a one-act opera entitled “What Gets Kept” as part of the Kennedy Center’s “American Opera Initiative” Festival. In 2015, she wrote, produced and directed her first opera, Stinney, and held an open workshop to a sold-out audience in Baltimore, Maryland. Stinney’s accolades include multiple awards from Johns Hopkins University and beyond, including the Diversity Innovation Grant and a Baltimore City Paper’s “Best of Baltimore” award and will travel to New York City to be performed at the PROTOTYPE Festival in January 2019. She is a composition fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, and a “Turn the Spotlight” fellow working under the mentorship of Kamala Sankaram. Frances is a founding member of the new music non-profit, Prima Volta. She holds a Bachelors of Music in Theory and Composition from Furman University where she studied with Dr. Mark Kilstofte. She is graduated from Peabody Conservatory with a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance under the tutelage of Dr. Steve Rainbolt. She currently studies with Christopher Theofanidis at Yale University.

FRANCES POLLOCK’s (composer) music digs its roots into jazz, blues, gospel, folk, and a variety of other styles. Her music has been performed all over the country by the Bridge Ensemble, Prima Volta, The North Carolina Governors’ School, Divine Waters Ensemble, Aspen Contemporary Ensemble, and many others. In 2016, Frances was commissioned by Washington National Opera to write a one-act opera entitled “What Gets Kept” as part of the Kennedy Center’s “American Opera Initiative” Festival. In 2015, she wrote, produced and directed her first opera, Stinney, and held an open workshop to a sold-out audience in Baltimore, Maryland. Stinney’s accolades include multiple awards from Johns Hopkins University and beyond, including the Diversity Innovation Grant and a Baltimore City Paper’s “Best of Baltimore” award and will travel to New York City to be performed at the PROTOTYPE Festival in January 2019. She is a composition fellow at the Aspen Music Festival, and a “Turn the Spotlight” fellow working under the mentorship of Kamala Sankaram. Frances is a founding member of the new music non-profit, Prima Volta. She holds a Bachelors of Music in Theory and Composition from Furman University where she studied with Dr. Mark Kilstofte. She is graduated from Peabody Conservatory with a Masters of Music in Vocal Performance under the tutelage of Dr. Steve Rainbolt. She currently studies with Christopher Theofanidis at Yale University.

PAMELA STEIN LYNDE (composer)  is a versatile singer, composer, and music educator. She was a featured guest composer on the 2015 OME New Music Festival in Phoenix. Commissions include Patchwork American Song Project, Guided Imagery Opera, Contemporary Undercurrent of Song Project, Poor Puppet, andothers. She has written works for TEDx Carnegie Lake, New Hope Sound(e)scape Festival, and IVY Connect’s debut concert at the DiMenna Center. Her recent composition for mezzo soprano Kayleigh Butcher and pianist Christopher Narloch, as part of The Schoenberg Project, had its debut in Chicago at Constellation, and then toured several midwest cities. As a singer, Pamela has performed with Beth Morrison Projects, American Opera Projects, CUSP, Rhymes With Opera, Saratoga Fine Arts Festival, Yamaha Concert Artists series, New Music New Haven, Gotham Arts, and Unruly Sounds. As a member of experimental Princeton-based country-techno band Owen Lake and the Tragic Loves, she performs frequently throughout Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey. Pamela is an alumna of the Bang on a Can Summer Institute at Mass MoCA, OperaWorks, SICPP, and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme. She received her Masters degree from the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where, upon graduation, she was awarded the Phyllis Bryn-Julson Prize for Commitment to and Performance of 20th/21st Century Music.

PAMELA STEIN LYNDE (composer) is a versatile singer, composer, and music educator. She was a featured guest composer on the 2015 OME New Music Festival in Phoenix. Commissions include Patchwork American Song Project, Guided Imagery Opera, Contemporary Undercurrent of Song Project, Poor Puppet, andothers. She has written works for TEDx Carnegie Lake, New Hope Sound(e)scape Festival, and IVY Connect’s debut concert at the DiMenna Center. Her recent composition for mezzo soprano Kayleigh Butcher and pianist Christopher Narloch, as part of The Schoenberg Project, had its debut in Chicago at Constellation, and then toured several midwest cities. As a singer, Pamela has performed with Beth Morrison Projects, American Opera Projects, CUSP, Rhymes With Opera, Saratoga Fine Arts Festival, Yamaha Concert Artists series, New Music New Haven, Gotham Arts, and Unruly Sounds. As a member of experimental Princeton-based country-techno band Owen Lake and the Tragic Loves, she performs frequently throughout Philadelphia, New York, and New Jersey. Pamela is an alumna of the Bang on a Can Summer Institute at Mass MoCA, OperaWorks, SICPP, and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Programme. She received her Masters degree from the Peabody Conservatory of The Johns Hopkins University, where, upon graduation, she was awarded the Phyllis Bryn-Julson Prize for Commitment to and Performance of 20th/21st Century Music.

SOKUNTHARY SVAY (librettist)  is a Pushcart-nominated Khmer writer and musician from the Bronx, New York. She and her family were refugees from Cambodia who survived the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. She is the poetry editor for Newtown Literary, a founding member of the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association (CALAA) and a 2018 Poets House Fellow. Svay was a subject in New York Magazine’s “Living in a Sanctuary City” portfolio and featured in the New York Immigration Coalition’s This is Our NY, broadcast in Times Square. She is currently a Ph.D student in English at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her poetry collection, Apsara in New York (2017) is available from Willow Books.

SOKUNTHARY SVAY (librettist) is a Pushcart-nominated Khmer writer and musician from the Bronx, New York. She and her family were refugees from Cambodia who survived the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime. She is the poetry editor for Newtown Literary, a founding member of the Cambodian American Literary Arts Association (CALAA) and a 2018 Poets House Fellow. Svay was a subject in New York Magazine’s “Living in a Sanctuary City” portfolio and featured in the New York Immigration Coalition’s This is Our NY, broadcast in Times Square. She is currently a Ph.D student in English at the CUNY Graduate Center. Her poetry collection, Apsara in New York (2017) is available from Willow Books.

AMBER VISTEIN (composer)  (b. 1984) is a composer and sound artist who delves deeply into the poetics of timbre, texture, and gesture. Praised for the conceptual “acuity” (Big, Red, and Shiny) of her works she places “blooming phrases” (New Music Box) within texturally-rich sonic landscapes. Amber has recently had the pleasure of composing for Ensemble Dal Niente (2018), the International Contemporary Ensemble (2017), Russell Greenberg of Yarn/Wire (2016), and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (2016). She created a site-specific sound installations for the deCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA (2016); collaborated with video artist Amanda Justice to present the multi-media work Landscapes at the Peabody Essex Museum (2017), and was an artist-in-residence with ArtsIceland in Ísafjörður, Iceland (2016). Man Will Not Outlive the Weather—her chamber opera for mezzo-soprano, ensemble and electronics—premiered in 2017. Amber holds a BA in Music & Philosophy from New College of Florida and an MFA in Sonic Arts from Massachusetts College of Art. She is currently a 4th-year PhD student in the Music department at Brown University.

AMBER VISTEIN (composer) (b. 1984) is a composer and sound artist who delves deeply into the poetics of timbre, texture, and gesture. Praised for the conceptual “acuity” (Big, Red, and Shiny) of her works she places “blooming phrases” (New Music Box) within texturally-rich sonic landscapes. Amber has recently had the pleasure of composing for Ensemble Dal Niente (2018), the International Contemporary Ensemble (2017), Russell Greenberg of Yarn/Wire (2016), and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (2016). She created a site-specific sound installations for the deCordova Museum in Lincoln, MA (2016); collaborated with video artist Amanda Justice to present the multi-media work Landscapes at the Peabody Essex Museum (2017), and was an artist-in-residence with ArtsIceland in Ísafjörður, Iceland (2016). Man Will Not Outlive the Weather—her chamber opera for mezzo-soprano, ensemble and electronics—premiered in 2017. Amber holds a BA in Music & Philosophy from New College of Florida and an MFA in Sonic Arts from Massachusetts College of Art. She is currently a 4th-year PhD student in the Music department at Brown University.

Broad gestures, rich textures, and narrative sweep are hallmarks of the “compelling” (New York Times), “shapely, melody-rich” (Wall Street Journal) music of composer  ALEX WEISER (composer) . Born and raised in New York City, Weiser creates acutely cosmopolitan music combining a deeply felt historical perspective with a vibrant forward-looking creativity. Weiser has been praised for writing “insightful” music “of great poetic depth” (Feast of Music), and for having a “sophisticated ear and knack for evoking luscious textures and imaginative yet approachable harmonies.” (I Care If You Listen). An energetic advocate for contemporary classical music and for the work of his peers, Weiser co-founded and directs Kettle Corn New Music, an “ever-enjoyable,” and “engaging” concert series which “creates that ideal listening environment that so many institutions aim for: relaxed, yet allowing for concentration,” (New York Times) and was for nearly five years a director of the MATA Festival, “the city’s leading showcase for vital new music by emerging composers.” (The New Yorker). Weiser is now the Director of Public Programs at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research where he curates and produces programs that combine a fascination with and curiosity for historical context, with an eye toward influential Jewish contributions to the culture of today and tomorrow.

Broad gestures, rich textures, and narrative sweep are hallmarks of the “compelling” (New York Times), “shapely, melody-rich” (Wall Street Journal) music of composer ALEX WEISER (composer). Born and raised in New York City, Weiser creates acutely cosmopolitan music combining a deeply felt historical perspective with a vibrant forward-looking creativity. Weiser has been praised for writing “insightful” music “of great poetic depth” (Feast of Music), and for having a “sophisticated ear and knack for evoking luscious textures and imaginative yet approachable harmonies.” (I Care If You Listen). An energetic advocate for contemporary classical music and for the work of his peers, Weiser co-founded and directs Kettle Corn New Music, an “ever-enjoyable,” and “engaging” concert series which “creates that ideal listening environment that so many institutions aim for: relaxed, yet allowing for concentration,” (New York Times) and was for nearly five years a director of the MATA Festival, “the city’s leading showcase for vital new music by emerging composers.” (The New Yorker). Weiser is now the Director of Public Programs at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research where he curates and produces programs that combine a fascination with and curiosity for historical context, with an eye toward influential Jewish contributions to the culture of today and tomorrow.

 

SINGERS

JENNIFER GOODE COOPER (lyric soprano)  is a “lustrous soprano” (Wall Street Journal) with “steely eyed ferocity” (NY Times) who “fills the theater with her soaring soprano voice” (Variety). Last season, she joined Mark Delavan as Blitch to sing the title role in Floyd’s Susannah with Toledo Opera, and premiered Nathaniel Stookey’s Ivonne at Opera Memphis, which she reprised at this year’s New Works Sampler at the Opera America Conference at Wolf Trap. Other career highlights: Miss Jessel in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw (New York City Opera), Titania/Hippolyta in the first known a cappella opera, Michael Ching’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Opera Memphis), Musetta in Baz Luhrmann’s acclaimed Broadway and LA productions of La Bohème, Backup singer for Patti Lupone, Weekly Hip-Hopera singer with celebrity DJ’s Ed lover and Dr. Dre (NY’s Power 105.1). Jennifer was a 2013 Arts Envoy of the US Embassy (to Mozambique), and a 2014 recipient of a Professional Development Grant from the Weill Foundation.

JENNIFER GOODE COOPER (lyric soprano) is a “lustrous soprano” (Wall Street Journal) with “steely eyed ferocity” (NY Times) who “fills the theater with her soaring soprano voice” (Variety). Last season, she joined Mark Delavan as Blitch to sing the title role in Floyd’s Susannah with Toledo Opera, and premiered Nathaniel Stookey’s Ivonne at Opera Memphis, which she reprised at this year’s New Works Sampler at the Opera America Conference at Wolf Trap. Other career highlights: Miss Jessel in Britten’s The Turn of the Screw (New York City Opera), Titania/Hippolyta in the first known a cappella opera, Michael Ching’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Opera Memphis), Musetta in Baz Luhrmann’s acclaimed Broadway and LA productions of La Bohème, Backup singer for Patti Lupone, Weekly Hip-Hopera singer with celebrity DJ’s Ed lover and Dr. Dre (NY’s Power 105.1). Jennifer was a 2013 Arts Envoy of the US Embassy (to Mozambique), and a 2014 recipient of a Professional Development Grant from the Weill Foundation.

An active interpreter of Art Song, Opera and new music,  MARIO DIAZ-MORESCO (baritone)  is garnering attention for his versatility and strong stage presence. Mr. Diaz-Moresco studied at the University of Colorado, the University of Southern California and recently completed the Professional Studies Diploma program at Mannes The New School, where he is a student of Diana Soviero. He has been a young artist with Central City Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Chautauqua Opera, a Stern Fellow at Songfest, and this summer will be a vocal fellow at the Ravinia Steans Music Institute. Highlights from recent seasons include recitals with pianist Spencer Myer on California’s “InConcert Sierra” series, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Series in Chicago and the Rocky River Chamber Music Society of Ohio, in addition to Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Baritone in Hydrogen Jukebox, William in The Fall of the House of Usher, playing the lead role in Robert Ashley’s Dust, which was named one of the 10 best classical music performances of 2017 by the New York Times, and premiering the song cycle The Wanderlusting of Joseph C. by Joan La Barbara at Roulette, a performance that was repeated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

An active interpreter of Art Song, Opera and new music, MARIO DIAZ-MORESCO (baritone) is garnering attention for his versatility and strong stage presence. Mr. Diaz-Moresco studied at the University of Colorado, the University of Southern California and recently completed the Professional Studies Diploma program at Mannes The New School, where he is a student of Diana Soviero. He has been a young artist with Central City Opera, The Glimmerglass Festival, Chautauqua Opera, a Stern Fellow at Songfest, and this summer will be a vocal fellow at the Ravinia Steans Music Institute. Highlights from recent seasons include recitals with pianist Spencer Myer on California’s “InConcert Sierra” series, the Dame Myra Hess Memorial Series in Chicago and the Rocky River Chamber Music Society of Ohio, in addition to Guglielmo in Così fan tutte, Baritone in Hydrogen Jukebox, William in The Fall of the House of Usher, playing the lead role in Robert Ashley’s Dust, which was named one of the 10 best classical music performances of 2017 by the New York Times, and premiering the song cycle The Wanderlusting of Joseph C. by Joan La Barbara at Roulette, a performance that was repeated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

“The charming, sunny  BLAKE FRIEDMAN (tenor) “ (Dayton’s Most Metro) praised for his “ardent singing” (Broadway World) is a “glorious tenor” (The Berkshire Edge) originally from Chicago. His “silken and strong” (Tampa Bay Times), “fresh lyric tenor” (OperaNews Online), has most recently been featured as Soloist in the Liebeslieder Walzer with New York City Ballet. Other career highlights include Tenor Soloist at Geffen Hall in Mozart’s Vespri Sollemnes de Confessore, Singer in Tchaikovsky: None but the Lonely Heart with Ensemble for the Romantic Century, and Conte Almaviva in Barbiere di Siviglia, with St. Pete Opera. Blake’s awards include A Schuyler Foundation for Career Bridges Award, Winner of The American Prize Friederich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Art Song Award and finalist in The Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Vocal Competition. Blake holds a Master’s and Professional Studies Diploma from Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor’s from The Eastman School of Music.

“The charming, sunny BLAKE FRIEDMAN (tenor)“ (Dayton’s Most Metro) praised for his “ardent singing” (Broadway World) is a “glorious tenor” (The Berkshire Edge) originally from Chicago. His “silken and strong” (Tampa Bay Times), “fresh lyric tenor” (OperaNews Online), has most recently been featured as Soloist in the Liebeslieder Walzer with New York City Ballet. Other career highlights include Tenor Soloist at Geffen Hall in Mozart’s Vespri Sollemnes de Confessore, Singer in Tchaikovsky: None but the Lonely Heart with Ensemble for the Romantic Century, and Conte Almaviva in Barbiere di Siviglia, with St. Pete Opera. Blake’s awards include A Schuyler Foundation for Career Bridges Award, Winner of The American Prize Friederich and Virginia Schorr Memorial Art Song Award and finalist in The Fritz and Lavinia Jensen Vocal Competition. Blake holds a Master’s and Professional Studies Diploma from Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor’s from The Eastman School of Music.

BLYTHE GAISSERT (Mezzo-soprano)  has established herself as one of the preeminent interpreters of some of the brightest stars of new classical music. In the 2018-19 season, Ms. Gaissert will be creating the role of Georgia O’Keefe in Today It Rains (AOP and San Francisco’s Opera Parallele), the world premiere of the third opera by the highly acclaimed and record setting team of As One, Laura Kaminsky, Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed. She will also be reprising her role as Hannah After in her 6th production of As One with New York City Opera and AOP, singing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with both the Buffalo Symphony and Sarasota Orchestra, and performing a workshop performance of Laura Kaminsky’s fourth opera, also with librettist Kimberly Reed, Postville: Hometown to the World with Opera Fusion: New Works in conjunction with Cincinnati Opera and her Alma mater Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.

BLYTHE GAISSERT (Mezzo-soprano) has established herself as one of the preeminent interpreters of some of the brightest stars of new classical music. In the 2018-19 season, Ms. Gaissert will be creating the role of Georgia O’Keefe in Today It Rains (AOP and San Francisco’s Opera Parallele), the world premiere of the third opera by the highly acclaimed and record setting team of As One, Laura Kaminsky, Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed. She will also be reprising her role as Hannah After in her 6th production of As One with New York City Opera and AOP, singing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with both the Buffalo Symphony and Sarasota Orchestra, and performing a workshop performance of Laura Kaminsky’s fourth opera, also with librettist Kimberly Reed, Postville: Hometown to the World with Opera Fusion: New Works in conjunction with Cincinnati Opera and her Alma mater Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music.

Hailed by the New York Times as “a stalwart bass-baritone with a burnished voice” and in Opera News as a “mellifluous bass-baritone [with] theatrical flair”,  ADRIAN ROSAS (bass-baritone)  is an artist with “impressive experience and talent” (The Boston Globe). Mr. Rosas has performed with the Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera Saratoga, Houston’s Opera in the Heights, and the Michigan Opera Theatre. As a champion of new and modern music, he has had the opportunity to work on a variety of newly written works, including Peter Ash’s The Golden Ticket, Robert Xavier Rodriguez’s Frida, Petr Kotik’s Master-Pieces, Matt Aucoin’s Whitman, newly written operas with the American Lyric Theater in New York City, and with the Ostrava Center for New Music in the Czech Republic. In addition to his career as a singer, Adrian has a passion for education and entrepreneurship. As a Co-Founding Director of Arts On Site NYC (artsonsite.org), a nonprofit dedicated to the development of artists and encouraging community collaboration, he helped to create a home for the arts in the East Village of New York City, which offers artists of all disciplines affordable rehearsal studios, monthly performance events, and a residency and retreat center in upstate New York.

Hailed by the New York Times as “a stalwart bass-baritone with a burnished voice” and in Opera News as a “mellifluous bass-baritone [with] theatrical flair”, ADRIAN ROSAS (bass-baritone) is an artist with “impressive experience and talent” (The Boston Globe). Mr. Rosas has performed with the Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of St. Louis, Opera Saratoga, Houston’s Opera in the Heights, and the Michigan Opera Theatre. As a champion of new and modern music, he has had the opportunity to work on a variety of newly written works, including Peter Ash’s The Golden Ticket, Robert Xavier Rodriguez’s Frida, Petr Kotik’s Master-Pieces, Matt Aucoin’s Whitman, newly written operas with the American Lyric Theater in New York City, and with the Ostrava Center for New Music in the Czech Republic. In addition to his career as a singer, Adrian has a passion for education and entrepreneurship. As a Co-Founding Director of Arts On Site NYC (artsonsite.org), a nonprofit dedicated to the development of artists and encouraging community collaboration, he helped to create a home for the arts in the East Village of New York City, which offers artists of all disciplines affordable rehearsal studios, monthly performance events, and a residency and retreat center in upstate New York.

Cherokee soprano,  TOOKAH SAPPER (coloratura-soprano) , from Oklahoma City, holds a Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Central Oklahoma. “Tookah” means, clear sight and far vision, in the Cherokee language, and is derived from the Cherokee word meaning, “watch tower.” She is thrilled to perform and collaborate with American Opera Projects, for a second season, as a member of their Resident Ensemble. In May 2018, she collaborated and performed with guitarist, Luigi Attademo, The Divan of Moses-Ibn-Ezra by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, at the Italian Cultural Institute in New York City. In summer of 2017, she performed as a Studio Artist with The Chautauqua Opera Company. She has performed as soloist in concert works such as, Haydn’s Theresienmesse, Mozart’s Vesperae Solemnes di Confessore and Mass in C Minor, Schubert’s Mass in G Major, and Handel’s Messiah. She also sings in churches as a cantor and choir member, accompanies ballet classes at the piano, and teaches private voice lessons.

Cherokee soprano, TOOKAH SAPPER (coloratura-soprano), from Oklahoma City, holds a Master of Music degree from Manhattan School of Music and a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Central Oklahoma. “Tookah” means, clear sight and far vision, in the Cherokee language, and is derived from the Cherokee word meaning, “watch tower.” She is thrilled to perform and collaborate with American Opera Projects, for a second season, as a member of their Resident Ensemble. In May 2018, she collaborated and performed with guitarist, Luigi Attademo, The Divan of Moses-Ibn-Ezra by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, at the Italian Cultural Institute in New York City. In summer of 2017, she performed as a Studio Artist with The Chautauqua Opera Company. She has performed as soloist in concert works such as, Haydn’s Theresienmesse, Mozart’s Vesperae Solemnes di Confessore and Mass in C Minor, Schubert’s Mass in G Major, and Handel’s Messiah. She also sings in churches as a cantor and choir member, accompanies ballet classes at the piano, and teaches private voice lessons.


Instructors

Mark Campbell     Libretto Writing

Mark Campbell
Libretto Writing

Matt Gray  Head of Drama

Matt Gray
Head of Drama

Terry Greiss   Improv Studies

Terry Greiss
Improv Studies

Mila Henry   Head of Music

Mila Henry
Head of Music

 

Mentors

Ricky Ian Gordon   Composer  27, The Grapes of Wrath, Morning Star

Ricky Ian Gordon
Composer
27, The Grapes of Wrath, Morning Star

Gene Scheer   Librettist  Three Decembers ,  Moby Dick ,  Cold Mountain

Gene Scheer
Librettist
Three Decembers, Moby Dick, Cold Mountain

David T. Little   Composer  Dog Days, JFK, Soldier Songs

David T. Little
Composer
Dog Days, JFK, Soldier Songs

Stephen Schwartz   Composer / Librettist  Wicked, Pippin, Godspell, Seance on a Wet Afternoon

Stephen Schwartz
Composer / Librettist
Wicked, Pippin, Godspell, Seance on a Wet Afternoon

Missy Mazzoli     Composer  Breaking the Waves, Proving Up, Songs From the Uproar

Missy Mazzoli
Composer
Breaking the Waves, Proving Up, Songs From the Uproar

Gregory Spears   composer  Fellow Travelers, Paul’s Case

Gregory Spears
composer
Fellow Travelers, Paul’s Case

Tobias Picker     Composer  Emmeline, Dolores Claiborne, Thérèse Raquin

Tobias Picker
Composer
Emmeline, Dolores Claiborne, Thérèse Raquin

Royce Vavrek   librettist  JFK ,  Dog Days ,  27 ,  Breaking the Waves

Royce Vavrek
librettist
JFK, Dog Days, 27, Breaking the Waves

Six Scenes

 

Excerpt from "The Interaction Effect" - an opera-in-progress
Music by Pamela Stein Lynde;
Libretto by Laura Barati

Mikaela - Tookah Sapper (soprano)
Dean - Blythe Gaissert (mezzo-soprano)
Professor - Adrian Rosas (bass-baritone)
Music Director - Mila Henry
Stage Director - Mary Birnbaum
C&V Artistic Director - Steven Osgood

SYNOPSIS: In "The Interaction Effect", Mikaela, a senior statistics major at a liberal arts college, just wants to forget the night her friend Adam raped her at a college party, and her school administration's painful mishandling of her assault. But when Mike learns that Adam has assaulted another student - a sophomore too scared to report the assault - she is forced to confront her community and administration's desire to ignore campus sexual assault. In the opening twenty minutes, Mikaela begins her day by forcing herself to attend a statistics seminar she shares with Adam. When she arrives at the seminar, Mikaela is triggered by Adam and tries to participate in the lecture while also reliving the experience of reporting her rape to a Dean.

American Opera Projects presents Composers & the Voice: Six Scenes
Recorded: Sep. 29, 2018
South Oxford Space, Brooklyn, NY

 

Excerpt from "Better Than It Sounds" - an opera-in-progress
Music and Libretto by Matt Browne

Becky - Tookah Sapper
Tom - Adrian Rosas
Samuel Clemens - Timothy McCown Reynolds
Music Director - Kelly Horsted
Stage Director - Matt Gray
C&V Artistic Director - Steven Osgood

SYNOPSIS: This is the opening scene of a one-act comic opera that takes a skeptical look at the medium of opera as a whole through the cynical lens of Mark Twain. Over the course of the opera, William and Emma, the creators of a Tom Sawyer opera-within-the-opera, attempt to convince Twain of its merits. After this opening scene we see how high the stakes really are for William and Emma, and learn more about how opera can express things no other medium can. Twain still needs some convincing, though.

American Opera Projects presents Composers & the Voice: Six Scenes
Recorded: Sep. 29, 2018
South Oxford Space, Brooklyn, NY

 

Excerpt from "Dark Exhalation" - an opera-in-progress
Music and Libretto by Amber Vistein

Sun - Tookah Sapper
The Woman - Blythe Gaissert
Man - Mario Diaz-Moresco
Music Director - Mila Henry
Stage Director - Matt Gray
C&V Artistic Director - Steven Osgood

SYNOPSIS: "Dark Exhalation" focuses on the experiences of a character referred to only as The Woman. The events of "Dark Exhalation" take place a few weeks after The Woman's wife, Helen, has died unexpectedly in a car accident. A week before her death The Woman and Helen had an enormous fight that resulted in Helen leaving; they did not speak in the time between her departure and death. She daydreams that Helen's spirit has fused with the sun in much the same way that the heroes and loved ones of ancient Greeks became constellations.

American Opera Projects presents Composers & the Voice: Six Scenes
Recorded: Sep. 29, 2018
South Oxford Space, Brooklyn, NY

Excerpt from "Spring" - an opera-in-progress
Music by Scott Ordway; Libretto by Meryem Belkaid

Harmattan - Jenniefer Goode Cooper
Zephyr - Blythe Gaissert
Sirocco - Blake Friedman
Ghibli - Adrian Rosas
Music Director - Kelly Horsted
Stage Director - Matt Gray
C&V Artistic Director - Steven Osgood

SYNOPSIS: A cast of four singers forms a quartet of omniscient narrators, dramatized as the four winds of the ancient Mediterranean world. They embody the pristine and temperate North African landscape and observe humans with sympathy and care, but without the capacity to intervene directly. They speak about the city and the people of Tunis in English and in the third person. At times though, one or more of the winds shifts perspectives and speaks as one of the citizens. In these moments, they speak in either French or Arabic and act in the first person. The music reflects their heightened emotional state.

American Opera Projects presents Composers & the Voice: Six Scenes
Recorded: Sep. 29, 2018
South Oxford Space, Brooklyn, NY

 

Excerpt from "State Of The Jews" - an opera-in-progress
Music by Alex Weiser; Libretto by Ben Kaplan

Julie - Jennifer Goode Cooper
Pope - Blake Friedman
Herzl - Mario Diaz-Moresco
Music Director - Kelly Horsted
Stage Director - Mary Birnbaum
C&V Artistic Director - Steven Osgood

SYNOPSIS: "State of the Jews" is a historical drama about Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), the charismatic and controversial Austro-Hungarian Jewish journalist whose writings ignited a mass political movement. In response to rising anti-semitism, Herzl pursues the establishment of a Jewish state, but these poolitical choices come at a great personal cost, wrecking havoc on the Herzl home. The opera interweaves between the political turmoil of turn of the centruy Europe - the rise of nationalilst movements, the threat of mass violence, and the struggle for political autonomy - with the story of Theodor's relationship with his wife Julie, and the toll that his political work takes on their marriage and lives. In her stark, contrasting response to the same historical circumstances, Julie exposes the complex and in many ways still unresolved challenges of that political moment.

American Opera Projects presents Composers & the Voice: Six Scenes
Recorded: Sep. 29, 2018
South Oxford Space, Brooklyn, NY

Excerpt from "Salt" - an opera-in-progress
Music by Frances Pollock; Libretto by Emily Roller and Frances Pollock

Sarah - Tookah Sapper
Rachel - Jennifer Goode Cooper
Thomas - Mario Diaz-Moresco
Music Director - Kelly Horsted
Stage Director - Mary Birnbaum
C&V Artistic Director - Steven Osgood

SYNOPSIS: Salt is an adaptation of the biblical story of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorra. Set in the present day, the story explores the escalating tension between urban and rural communities and the consequences of the fundamentalism of all sides. The story is told with the help of a chorus of “Angels,” who serve many different types of Gods. This excerpt occurs halfway through the show and then jumps to the final aria. An Angel Chorus opens this segment, as tensions between the communities escalates into a riot. An Angel leads a “call to worship,” emphasizing the necessity to pick a side. As the destruction gets closer to his home, Lot frantically packs essentially belongings as he plans his family’s escape from the city. Lot’s Wife, furious at her husband’s cowardice, confronts him and chides him for running away. In a manic state, Lot turns on his wife, assaulting her verbally and frightening her. Their fight is interrupted by an explosion. The quickly run out of the house. A second angel chorus pontificates on the nature of division. Lot and his family run toward the outskirts of town. As they cross the city limits, Lot’s Wife turns back and witnesses the destruction of the city. Lot and his daughters continue on. Three weeks have passed, and the City is in the process of being repaired. Lot’s Wife has exhausted each of her family’s voicemail boxes. In a rare moment of stillness, Lot’s Wife rehashes the night of the destruction and considers her own culpability.

American Opera Projects presents Composers & the Voice: Six Scenes
Recorded: Sep. 29, 2018
South Oxford Space, Brooklyn, NY


FIRST GLIMPSE

 

"And then there was him"
Performed by Jennifer Goode Cooper
Music by Scott Ordway
Text by Meryem Balkaïd
Music Director / Piano: Kelly Horsted
First Glimpse 2018: Songs from the Great Room
Presented by American Opera Projects
Featuring music created as part of AOP's Composers & the Voice fellowship training program.
Steven Osgood, Artistic Director.
Recorded May 19, 2018
The Great Room at South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford St. Brooklyn, NY 11217

"Feels Like Old Times"
Performed by Kate Maroney
Music by Matt Browne
Text by Kimberly Davies
Music Director / Piano: Kelly Horsted
First Glimpse 2018: Songs from the Great Room
Presented by American Opera Projects
Featuring music created as part of AOP's Composers & the Voice fellowship training program.
Steven Osgood, Artistic Director.
Recorded May 20, 2018
The Great Room at South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford St. Brooklyn, NY 11217

"Beat! Beat! Drums!"
Performed by Mario Diaz Moresco
Music by Matt Browne
Text by Walt Whitman
Music Director / Piano: Mila Henry
First Glimpse 2018: Songs from the Great Room
Presented by American Opera Projects
Featuring music created as part of AOP's Composers & the Voice fellowship training program.
Steven Osgood, Artistic Director.
Recorded May 20, 2018
The Great Room at South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford St. Brooklyn, NY 11217

"Nothing Will Be As Before"
Performed by Blake Friedman
Music by Scott Ordway
Text by Meryem Belkaïd
Music Director / Piano: Mila Henry
First Glimpse 2018: Songs from the Great Room
Presented by American Opera Projects
Featuring music created as part of AOP's Composers & the Voice fellowship training program.
Steven Osgood, Artistic Director.
Recorded May 20, 2018
The Great Room at South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford St. Brooklyn, NY 11217

"The Revolution Hasn't Changed"
Performed by Mario Diaz Moresco
Music by Scott Ordway
Text by Meryem Belkaïd
Music Director / Piano: Mila Henry
First Glimpse 2018: Songs from the Great Room
Presented by American Opera Projects
Featuring music created as part of AOP's Composers & the Voice fellowship training program.
Steven Osgood, Artistic Director.
Recorded May 19, 2018
The Great Room at South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford St. Brooklyn, NY 11217

"Tenterhooks"
Performed by Tookah Sapper
Music and Text by Amber Vistein
Music Director / Piano: Mila Henry
First Glimpse 2018: Songs from the Great Room
Presented by American Opera Projects
Featuring music created as part of AOP's Composers & the Voice fellowship training program.
Steven Osgood, Artistic Director.
Recorded May 20, 2018
The Great Room at South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford St. Brooklyn, NY 11217

"Feels Like Old Times"
Performed by Adrian Rosas
Music by Pamela Stein Lynde
Text by Kimberly Davies
Music Director / Piano: Kelly Horsted
First Glimpse 2018: Songs from the Great Room
Presented by American Opera Projects
Featuring music created as part of AOP's Composers & the Voice fellowship training program.
Steven Osgood, Artistic Director.
Recorded May 19, 2018
The Great Room at South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford St. Brooklyn, NY 11217

"Sleep"
Performed by Tookah Sapper
Music by Pamela Stein Lynde
Text by Laura Barati
Music Director / Piano: Mila Henry
First Glimpse 2018: Songs from the Great Room
Presented by American Opera Projects
Featuring music created as part of AOP's Composers & the Voice fellowship training program.
Steven Osgood, Artistic Director.
Recorded May 20, 2018
The Great Room at South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford St. Brooklyn, NY 11217

"Reincarnation"
Performed by Kate Maroney
Music by Pamela Stein Lynde
Text by Sokunthary Svay
Music Director / Piano: Mila Henry
First Glimpse 2018: Songs from the Great Room
Presented by American Opera Projects
Featuring music created as part of AOP's Composers & the Voice fellowship training program.
Steven Osgood, Artistic Director.
Recorded May 20, 2018
The Great Room at South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford St. Brooklyn, NY 11217

 

"Self-portait"
Performed by Blake Friedman
Music by Alex Weiser
Text by Edward Hirsch
Music Director / Piano: Mila Henry
First Glimpse 2018: Songs from the Great Room
Presented by American Opera Projects
Featuring music created as part of AOP's Composers & the Voice fellowship training program.
Steven Osgood, Artistic Director.
Recorded May 20, 2018
The Great Room at South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford St. Brooklyn, NY 11217

"Herzl's Plea to Pope Pius X"
Performed by Mario Diaz Moresco
Music by Alex Weiser
Text by Ben Kaplan
Music Director / Piano: Kelly Horsted
First Glimpse 2018: Songs from the Great Room
Presented by American Opera Projects
Featuring music created as part of AOP's Composers & the Voice fellowship training program.
Steven Osgood, Artistic Director.
Recorded May 20, 2018
The Great Room at South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford St. Brooklyn, NY 11217

"Thursday"
Performed by Tookah Sapper
Music by Alex Weiser
Text by William Carlos Williams
Music Director / Piano: Mila Henry
First Glimpse 2018: Songs from the Great Room
Presented by American Opera Projects
Featuring music created as part of AOP's Composers & the Voice fellowship training program.
Steven Osgood, Artistic Director.
Recorded May 20, 2018
The Great Room at South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford St. Brooklyn, NY 11217

"Refugee Instructional"
Performed by: Blake Friedman
Music by Frances Pollock
Text by Sokunthary Svay
Music Director / Piano: Horsted
First Glimpse 2018: Songs from the Great Room
Presented by American Opera Projects
Featuring music created as part of AOP's Composers & the Voice fellowship training program.
Steven Osgood, Artistic Director.
Recorded May 19, 2018
The Great Room at South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford St. Brooklyn, NY 11217

"In Twenty Minutes"
Performed by Kate Maroney
Music by Frances Pollock
Text by Frances Pollock and Emily Roller
Music Director / Piano: Mila Henry
First Glimpse 2018: Songs from the Great Room
Presented by American Opera Projects
Featuring music created as part of AOP's Composers & the Voice fellowship training program.
Steven Osgood, Artistic Director.
Recorded May 20, 2018
The Great Room at South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford St. Brooklyn, NY 11217

"Grandfather"
Performed by: Adrian Rosas
Music by Frances Pollock
Text by Laura Barati
Music Director / Piano: Kelly Horsted
First Glimpse 2018: Songs from the Great Room
Presented by American Opera Projects
Featuring music created as part of AOP's Composers & the Voice fellowship training program.
Steven Osgood, Artistic Director.
Recorded May 20, 2018
The Great Room at South Oxford Space
138 South Oxford St. Brooklyn, NY 11217