Press Room

09-18-2013

Opera Philadelphia, in Collaboration with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group, Appoints Andrew Norman as third Composer in Residence

Philadelphia, PA:   Opera Philadelphia, in collaboration with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music-Theatre Group in New York, is proud to announce that composer Andrew Norman has been selected as its third Composer in Residence (CIR).   Norman, already an accomplished composer of chamber and orchestral music, was 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.”

“Andrew Norman’s vocal writing shows an understanding of the possibilities and limitations of the human voice that is rare, even among well-established contemporary opera composers,” said Neal Goren, Artistic Director of Gotham Chamber Opera. “We are very excited to be working with him.”

“I'm eager to hear the new dimension operatic texts add to Andrew Norman's singular musical narrative,” said Diane Wondisford, Producing Director of Music-Theatre Group.

“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. His symphonic works, often noted for their clarity and vigor, have been commissioned and premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Minnesota Orchestra, among others.  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. A lifelong enthusiast for all things architectural, he writes music that is often inspired by forms and textures he encounters in the visual world. His music draws on an eclectic mix of instrumental sounds and notational practices, and it has been cited in the New York Times for its “daring juxtapositions and dazzling colors” and in the L.A. Times for its “Chaplinesque” wit.

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.  The Pulitzer Prize Board called it “an impressive musical portrait of nine historic churches, written for a string trio but sometimes giving the illusion of being played by a much larger group, changing mood and mode on a dime.”

Norman’s chamber music has been featured at numerous venues in recent seasons, including the Wordless Music Series at Le Poisson Rouge, the MATA Festival, the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Series, the Juilliard School Focus Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival.  Upcoming projects include performances by the New York Philharmonic, the Melbourne Symphony and the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra as well as commissions from the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, where Norman also serves as Composer in Residence.

A native Midwesterner raised in central California, Norman studied the piano and viola before attending the University of Southern California and Yale. He lives and works in Brooklyn, New York, and his works are published by Schott Music.

Norman will begin his appointment immediately. 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 first two composers chosen for the role. Lembit Beecher (2011-2013), chosen during a competitive search in 2011, is entering the final season of his three-year residency, while Missy Mazzoli (2012-2014), appointed in 2012, is entering her second season with the companies.

Opera Philadelphia continues to help shape the future of opera with initiatives like the Composer in Residence program and the American Repertoire Program (ARP), a commitment to producing an American opera in ten consecutive seasons, launched in 2012.   The most recent work in the American Repertoire Program was Silent Night, featuring music by composer Kevin Puts, for which he won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music.  Additional announced co-commissions include A Coffin in Egypt by Ricky Ian Gordon with a libretto by Leonard Foglia, slated for the Aurora Series for Chamber Opera at the Perelman Theater in 2014; Oscar by Theodore Morrison, with a libretto by the composer and John Coxslated for the Academy of Music in 2015; and Cold Mountain by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon with a libretto by Gene Scheer, which is produced at the Academy in 2016.  A Coffin in Egypt is co-commissioned and co-produced with Houston Grand Opera; both Oscar and Cold Mountain are co-commissioned and co-produced with The Santa Fe Opera.