Ricky Ian Gordon was born on May 15, 1956 in Oceanside, NY and raised on Long Island. After studying composition at Carnegie Mellon University, he settled in New York City, where he quickly emerged as a leading writer of vocal music that spans art song, opera, and musical theater.
Mr. Gordon's songs have been performed and or recorded by such internationally renowned singers as Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Nathan Gunn, Kelli O'Hara, Audra MacDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Nicole Cabell, the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Frederica Von Stade, Andrea Marcovicci, Harolyn Blackwell, and Betty Buckley, among many others.
Mr. Gordon is very interested in musical theater and he has written many musicals including My Life with Albertine, Dream True, The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Only Heaven and Morning Star. In 2010 a new musical, Sycamore Trees, debuted at the Signature Theater, for which it was written. Sycamore Trees was nominated for The Charles MacArthur Award for Outstanding Play or Musical by The Helen Hayes Awards Organization, and won a Helen Hayes Award for Best Ensemble.
His OBIE Award winning, hour-long song cycle in two acts, Orpheus and Euridice, was given a very well received stage debut as part of the Lincoln Center New Visions/ American Songbook series under the auspices of the Great Performers series on October 5, 2005.
Other recent works include Five Songs for High Voice and Orchestra on poems by e.e. cummings and The Grapes of Wrath, a full-scale opera in three acts with a libretto by Michael Korie based on John Steinbeck’s celebrated novel of the same name. The Grapes of Wrath had its hugely successful premiere at the Minnesota Opera in 2007 in a production that traveled to Utah Opera in May. The summer of 2008 saw the premiere of Gordon’s hour-long song cycle, Green Sneakers, for Baritone and String Quartet. This powerful piece, a setting of 14 poems by the composer, chronicles the final days of Gordon’s longtime partner, Jeffrey Grossi, who died of AIDS in 1996.
Ricky Ian Gordon has recently been commissioned by both The Minnesota Opera to compose a work to be based on the novel, The Garden of the Finzi-Continis, and by The Metropolitan Opera using the story of Victor Hugo’s daughter, Adele, in Nova Scotia. His newest opera, A Coffin in Egypt, with a libretto by Leonard Foglia based on a play by Horton Foote, and directed by the librettist, was co-commissioned by Opera Philadelphia and Houston Grand Opera to premiere in 2014. A Coffin in Egypt follows the 90-year-old grand dame Myrtle Bledsoe as she reminisces about her life on and off an Egypt, Texas ranch. The beloved mezzo-soprano Frederica von Stade makes her Opera Philadelphia debut in this new production in 2014.
- from rickyiangordon.com/