Opera Philadelphia

Published27 Feb 2015

Dawn Upshaw Leads a Master Class with Composers Missy Mazzoli, Andrew Norman, and David T. Little on March 17

FREE tickets to Perelman Theater event available March 3; Master Class to include live webcast at operaphila.org/live

Opera Philadelphia is inviting the public to witness the artistic development of its three Composers in Residence as they participate in a Master Class conducted by acclaimed soprano Dawn Upshaw.  This unique, “opera in the making” event, spotlighting new music being written composers Missy Mazzoli, Andrew Norman, and David T. Little, takes place on Tuesday, March 17, at 7:00 p.m. in the Perelman Theater at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts.

Tickets to the Master Class are FREE and are available at operaphila.org beginning on Tuesday, March 3, at 10 a.m. Can’t make it to the theater? The Master Class will be webcast live on March 17 at operaphila.org/live.

“This Master Class led by the great Dawn Upshaw is an Opera Philadelphia Lab initiative that should prove both highly engaging as well as informative for both our audience and our composers,” said David B. Devan, General Director and President of Opera Philadelphia. “Acclaimed for her great Mozart roles, Dawn is also one of the great advocates for new opera, having championed numerous new works created for her including Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar, The Great Gatsby by John Harbison, and the Grawemeyer Award-winning opera, L’Amour de Loin by Kaija Saariaho. I cannot think of a better artist and educator to lead this Master Class. Over the past four years, the Composer in Residence program has quickly grown into a central element of Opera Philadelphia’s commitment to the creation of new operatic work and our deeply held belief in supporting composers with equal measure as we do performing artists.”

A longtime advocate of new music, Ms. Upshaw will facilitate a dialogue between each composer and performer, revealing the composition process to the audience and providing a vital step in the artistic development of each composer.  Scheduled performers include singers Lauren Eberwein, Emily Pogorelc, Jazimina MacNeill, and Evan LeRoy Johnson from the Curtis Institute of Music, accompanied by Lisa Keller on piano.

Dawn Upshaw has achieved worldwide celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire ranging from the sacred works of Bach to the freshest sounds of today. A five-time Grammy Award winner, she most recently received the 2014 Best Classical Vocal Solo Grammy for Maria Schneider's Winter Morning Walks on the ArtistShare Label. Her ability to reach to the heart of music and text has earned her both the devotion of an exceptionally diverse audience, and the awards and distinctions accorded to only the most distinguished of artists. In 2007, she was named a Fellow of the MacArthur Foundation, the first vocal artist to be awarded the five-year “genius” prize, and in 2008 she was named a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. She is Artistic Director of the Vocal Arts Program at the Bard College Conservatory of Music, and the recently announced Head of the Vocal Arts Program at the Tanglewood Music Center.

About the Composer in Residence Program

Since 2011, Opera Philadelphia, in collaboration with Music-Theatre Group and Gotham Chamber Opera in New York, has offered the nation’s first comprehensive, operatic Composer in Residence program. Funded by grants from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the program provides a highly individualized professional development path for today’s most promising opera composers, selected on a competitive basis.  The goal of the Composer in Residence program is to foster tomorrow’s masterpieces of American opera through individualized creative development. The composers in the program are eager to step beyond his or her musical comfort zones, and challenge preconceived notions of what opera and music can be. They 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.

Lembit Beecher was appointed the first Composer in Residence in September 2011 and concluded his residency in 2014. Missy Mazzoli was appointed in September 2012, with Andrew Norman joining the program in September 2013. David T. Little is currently completing his first year in the program. A fifth composer will join the program in summer 2015.

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