OPERA GRANTS FOR FEMALE COMPOSERS
Seven composers awarded a total of $100,000
Discovery Grants identify, support and help advance the
work of female opera composers
New York, NY—OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, is pleased to announce the recipients of Discovery Grants from the Opera Grants for Female Composers program, made possible through the generosity of The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation. From among 61 eligible applicants, an independent adjudication panel selected seven composers to receive a total of $100,000 to support the development of their opera compositions.
The recipients of Discovery Grants are Kitty Brazelton for The Art of Memory, Laura Karpman for Balls, Patricia Leonard for My Dearest Friend, Jing Jing Luo for Ashima, Odaline de la Martinez for Imoinda, Kamala Sankaram for The Privacy Show, and Su Lian Tan for Lotus Lives. See below for composer biographies and summaries of their operas.
OPERA America has awarded nearly $13 million over the past 30 years to Professional Company Members in support of new American operas. Fewer than five percent of the organization’s grants supporting repertoire development have been awarded to works by female composers. Opera Grants for Female Composers provide support for the development of new operas by women, both directly to individual composers and to opera companies producing their work, advancing the important objective to increase diversity across the field.
The Opera Grants for Female Composers program, launched in December 2013, is implemented in two-year cycles. The focus of the program alternates between Discovery Grants, which are awarded directly to composers, and Commissioning Grants, which are given to opera companies. This recent group of Discovery Grants initiates the second cycle of granting. Discovery Grants aim to identify, support and help develop the work of female composers writing for the operatic medium, raising their visibility and promoting awareness of their compositions. In addition to receiving financial assistance, grant recipients will be introduced to leaders in the field through a feature in Opera America Magazine and at future New Works Forum meetings and annual conferences. Supported works will be considered for presentation at future annual conference New Works Samplers.
“Through this second round of Discovery Grants, we continue our commitment to supporting talented female composers and connecting them with other artists and producers who can advance their careers,” declared Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “Our field will be strengthened by a more diverse repertoire that reflects the skill and sensibilities of these extraordinary composers. We are grateful to the Toulmin Foundation for enabling us to continue this important initiative.”
The independent adjudication panelists for the Discovery Grants included director Sam Helfrich, composer Laura Kaminsky, composer Libby Larsen, mezzo-soprano Margaret Lattimore, conductor Anne Manson and coach/conductor Laurie Rogers.
Evergreen Symphony Orchestra in Taipei, Taiwan at National Symphonic Hall on Dec 6, 2014
New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras just announced that Jing Jing Luo has been awarded for the Music Alive New Partnership Residency as the Composer-in-Residence with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra for 2015-16.
OpenICE at The Hideout
Sun, November 9, 2014
Doors: 5:00 pm / Show: 6:00 pm
1354 W Wabansia Ave
Chicago, IL 60642
ICE’s newest member, saxophone legend Ryan Muncy, presents this concert of new music alongside ICE founder and CEO Claire Chase and ICE cellist Katinka Kleijn. Featuring a world premiere by Jing Jing Luo, a rare work by James Tenney, and a recent work by Chicago-based composer and saxophonist David Reminick.
This free concert at the Hideout is followed by a discussion of the works presented on the show.
Jing Jing Luo: Spirare (WORLD PREMIERE), for flute and cello
Mario Diaz de Leon: Luciform, for flute and electronics
James Tenney: Saxony, for saxophone and electronics
David Reminick: Grey Faces, for saxophone
Project Lead: Ryan Muncy
OpenICE is a program designed to bring every aspect of ICE’s music-making—performances, commissions, videos, workshops, hands-on educational activities, blogs, and community gatherings, as well as ICE’s work behind the scenes—out into the open for the benefit of new audiences, all free of charge. 2014-2015 OpenICE shows are produced in partnership with the Illinois Humanities Council.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of this release, above and beyond the excellence of Ernst’s playing, is the stylistic diversity of the material. The program opens with Vivian Fung’s rapid-fire, almost minimalist homage to the gamelan, and continues with the chocolate-hued music of Jennifer Higdon. This is the first solo piano music of Higdon I have heard, and it impresses with its idiomatic grasp of the potential for intricate texture in a dense piano score. Katherine Hoover’s music, even when it is employing big gestures, is very economical. Every note counts. Dream Dances is an aptly descriptive title for the music, which is expressed in a lyrical, rhythmically alert flow. Jing Jing Luo breaks the mood with her agitated, and yes, highly whimsical flight of the mosquito, an insect that seems to fly much more erratically than a bumblebee. You get quite a bite at the end of the piece.
Judith Shatin’s music has been well received in the pages of this magazine, including by myself. I have commented on her strong ability to create a narrative pulse in her work, calling her a natural story teller. That quality is much in evidence in this large and compelling composition. Chai Variations takes its main theme from Jewish liturgical music (and its name from the Hebrew word for life). The brooding theme is followed by 18 variations, with such titles as “Yearning” and “Pensive,” reflecting differing aspects of the human condition, before settling back to the original theme.
Stefania de Kenessey dedicated her Spontaneous D-Combustion to Ernst. I wasn’t sure what to expect, given this rather snarky title, and was surprised by the sprightly three movement work (which she plans to expand into a concerto), which sounds inspired by popular American music from the early jazz age. Even the drawling molto tranquillo at the center seems to wear a quietly contented smile.
The program closes with a gentle, lovely short work by Nancy Bloomer Deussen that seems to reflect the personality of the performer. Mary Kathleen Ernst has many opportunities to dazzle the ear in this recital, and careful listening reveals a formidable virtuosity. But she seems to understand that her primary responsibility is to share the work of this excellent group of American women composers, making the honest and faithful expression of their music her utmost goal. As it should be. Peter Burwasser
Hakka for large orchestra was commissioned by the Evergreen Symphony Orchestra in Taipei, Taiwan . The world premiere will take place at the National Theatre in Taipei, Taiwan on Dec 17, 2014.
The video below is of the World Premiere of jingjingLuo’s Cercel de la Lune at her Art work and Calligraphy Exhibition Opening Night at The Beck Center for the Arts on January 11, 2013.
‘Cercel de la Lune’ for violin, piano and three Javanese gong ageng
Performers: Piano, Haewon Song, Violin, Clara Shannon, conductor, Chiachi Yen, Page turn E.J. Lee, percussion, jingjingLuo and Randall Chaves Camacho