Press Room


Opera Philadelphia, in Collaboration with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group, Announces Third Round of Composer In Residence Program

Opera Philadelphia, in collaboration with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group in New York, is proud to offer a third track in the nation’s first comprehensive, operatic Composer In Residence program. Funded initially by a $1.4 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the program has received an additional $330,000 from the foundation to provide a third professional development path for one of today’s most promising opera composers, selected on a competitive basis.  Applications are being accepted from June 20-July 18, 2013.

The program provides a highly individualized professional development path for today’s most promising opera composers, fostering tomorrow’s American operatic masterpieces through personalized creative development and intensive, hands-on composition opportunities.  

“In its first two years, the Composer In Residence program has quickly grown into a model for a developing composer to hone his or her compositional voice and learn the crucial skills required to produce authentic new work,” said David B. Devan, General Director & President of Opera Philadelphia.  “With our partners and with the continued support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation we are helping to create future generations of great American opera composers.”

The ideal Composer In Residence (CIR) will be eager to step beyond his or her musical comfort zones, and challenge preconceived notions of what opera and music can be. He or she will work zealously with the resident companies to take this timeless art form and infuse it with the technological, creative, and collaborative sensibilities most relevant to our time.

“Our aim is to choose the best candidate and tailor a comprehensive curriculum to develop his/her operatic gifts to the fullest while instilling an awareness of the exigencies of opera,” said Neal Goren, Artistic Director of Gotham Chamber Opera.

The CIR will receive highly individualized opportunities to cultivate his/her skills in all aspects of opera production, from working one-on-one with librettists and dramaturges to workshops and scene treatments with world-class performers.  The CIR will have exceptional access to observe and work hands-on in every aspect of creative development, production, and performance.

“Together our companies offer a smorgasbord of artistic experiences and production opportunities for those aspiring to write opera and music-theatre for new and known audiences,” said Diane Wondisford, Producing Director of Music-Theatre Group.

The program is directed to composers of all professional levels who see opera as a significant new component of their future creative work, from emerging composers to midcareer artists moving into opera for the first time. There is no required creative output however composers are encouraged to make best use of resources by focusing their residency around one or more musical works. The resulting works may be considered for performance by the collaborators.

The program has proven to be an invaluable learning experience for the first two composers chosen for the role. Lembit Beecher (2011-2013), chosen during a competitive search in 2011, has completed two years of this three-year residency, while Missy Mazzoli (2012-2014), appointed in 2012, is completing her first season with the companies. The program has afforded each of them with a rare and in-depth understanding of the development and production of opera through integral involvement in the rehearsal process for multiple operas with the three companies. 

This residency includes a yearly salary of $60,000 and benefits as well as substantial work and career development resources. Two years of the residency are funded, contingent upon appropriate progress, with the potential for a third year. This composer’s term will begin September, 2013.

A more detailed description of the residency program may be found at

Eligibility Requirements

The chosen composer:

·         Must be a US citizen based in the United States

·         Must not be enrolled or designated ABD in a degree-granting program at time of residency

·         Must be in residence in Philadelphia and New York City for a minimum of four to six weeks, twice per year (housing and travel expenses provided)

·         Will participate in monthly meetings with senior executive and artistic staff

·         Will participate in youth and audience development programs across a variety of media

The selection process for the residency consists of two parts: a first round open to all; and a second round by invitation only. Applications for Round I will be accepted starting June 20, 2013. The deadline for Round I is 5:00 pm Eastern time, July 18, 2013.

For more information, and to apply, go to

Composers invited to apply to Round II will be notified by August 1, 2013. These composers will be asked to submit additional scores and recordings, references, and a personal essay by August 15, 2013, and may be invited to interview in New York City or Philadelphia. The winning composer will be announced in mid-September, 2013.

Any questions regarding the application process or the residency program may be directed to