Andrew Norman Joins Opera Philadelphia as Third Composer in Residence

Opera Philadelphia’s renowned Composer in Residence program, in collaboration with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group in New York, is adding a third young composer to its ranks.

Andrew Norman, an accomplished composer of chamber and orchestral music, was recently chosen from over 100 applicants for the position and now has the opportunity to follow a personalized development track focused on the advancement of his career as an operatic composer.

Funded by a $1.73 million grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the program fosters tomorrow’s American operatic masterpieces through personalized creative development and intensive, hands-on composition opportunities for today’s most promising opera composers.  The Composer in Residence position combines its individualized plan of study with a living stipend and health benefits. 

“Andrew’s music really stood out both in its emotional sophistication and his virtuosic control of larger forms” said David B. Devan, Opera Philadelphia’s General Director & President. “Both of these qualities are essential for composing opera. We look forward to working with Andrew as he takes this next step in his growth as an artist.”

“I am very excited and honored to be the next Composer in Residence with these three innovative companies,” said Norman.  “I love opera, both new and old, but I have much to learn about the nuts and bolts of how it gets made. This residency, with its opportunities for experimentation and immersion, comes at the perfect time for me as I dive into my first large-scale opera project.  I can't wait to get started.”

Norman, 33, is increasingly active as an orchestral composer. In May 2013, the Philadelphia Orchestra performed hiskinetic work titled "Unstuck," which refers to a moment when he overcame writers block and began composing at a furious pace. Norman’s “The Companion Guide to Rome,” which premiered on November 13, 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah, was named a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in music

He also serves as Composer in Residence for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Here is an excerpt the orchestra's performance of Norman's "The Great Swiftness" at the Alex Theatre in Glendale, CA.

Norman will begin his appointment immediately. This year, he will study the creative process of Gotham Chamber Opera’s production of Hosokawa’s The Raven and Opera Philadelphia’s production of Ricky Ian Gordon’s A Coffin in Egypt. He joins Composers in Residence Lembit Beecher, who was appointed in September 2011, and Missy Mazzoli, who was appointed in September 2012.  The program has proven to be an invaluable learning experience for the two composers.

“My second year of the Composer in Residence program was focused on writing, beginning with an intense workshop in Canada where I wrote four scenes with different librettists over the period of ten days,” said Lembit Beecher. “For much of the year I have been working with Gotham Chamber Opera on a 30-minute chamber opera, I Have No Stories to Tell You, which will be a companion piece to Monteverdi's Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda.  The double bill will premiere next February at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.”  

 “In my first year as Opera Philadelphia's Composer in Residence my knowledge and appreciation of opera has expanded exponentially,” said Missy Mazzoli. “My biggest ‘wow’ moment came during the fantastic production of Thomas Ades's Powder Her Face in June.  While listening to a rehearsal of this incredibly complex work I felt that opera was no longer a mystery; I felt that I could finally hear through all the layers and understand what made the piece truly work.”