Composer Rene Orth, whose music has been called “whimsical, spikey, sometimes show-bizy, always dramatic, reflective, rarely predictable, and often electronic” (Musical America), is a star on the rise. Originally from Dallas, Orth recently completed her studies at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, where she held the Edward B. Garrigues Fellowship and studied with David Ludwig, Jennifer Higdon, and Richard Danielpour.
Her chamber opera, Empty the House, with a libretto by Mark Campbell, received its world premiere with Curtis Opera Theatre in a sold-out run in January 2016. An intimate, poignant exploration of the complex nature of forgiveness, the opera centers on a mother who invites her grown daughter home for a last weekend in a house filled with painful memories, which nearly overwhelm them both. The piece was also selected to be a part of Fort Worth Opera’s FRONTIERS showcase in May 2016.
Down in the Basement
Orth is a recipient of a 2016 OPERA America Discovery Grant for Female Composers, which will help provide funding for the development of Machine, a new chamber opera with librettist Jason Kim. In 2014, Washington National Opera commissioned Orth for a chamber opera, An American Man. With a libretto by Jason Kim, the work premiered at the Kennedy Center as part of WNO’s American Opera Initiative. She has also held residencies at Yaddo and the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and she currently serves on the theory and composition faculty for Luzerne Music Center. Recent and upcoming projects include commissions from Festival d’Aix-en- Provence, Women’s Sacred Music Project, The Louisville Orchestra and the Barnes Foundation. In the summer of 2016, she will be returning to Festival d’Aix en Provence as one of three composers selected for the Song and Creation Residency. Other previous commissions and performances from notable ensembles include the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, the Dover Quartet, the Rock School of Dance, the Philadelphia Fringe Festival and the Pennsylvania Ballet.