Guerilla Opera Receives Commissioning Grant For Female Composers Award For Composer Emily Koh

By: Jul. 17, 2020
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Guerilla Opera Receives Commissioning Grant For Female Composers Award For Composer Emily Koh

On July 16, 2020 OPERA America announced that Guerilla Opera received an award from OPERA America's Opera Grants for Female Composers: Commissioning Grants program, supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation for composer Emily Koh. This award is to directly commission the creation and support the premiere of her first evening length opera, HER:alive|un|dead: a media opera.

The OPERA America adjudication panel, which included composers Andrea Clearfield and Osvaldo Golijov; playwright, theater director and actress Lillian Groag; pianist and conductor Timothy Long; president and producing director of FringeArts Nick Stuccio; and baritone Jorell Williams, reviewed 24 applications submitted during the COVID-19 quarantine period in April.

Koh was one of nine recipients to receive a grant award and joins composers Du Yun (Beth Morrison Projects), Ellen Reid (Boston Lyric Opera), Heather Christian (HERE), Nell Shaw Cohen (Houston Grand Opera), Kamala Sankaram (Opera on Tap), Stella C. Y. Sung (Opera Orlando), Missy Mazzoli (Opera Philadelphia ), and Rima Fand (American Opera Project).

OPERA America's Opera Grants for Female Composers program provides financial assistance 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 to the field. Funding for this program is provided by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Program for Commissioning Women in the Performing Arts.

HER:alive|un|dead is a concert-length media opera about three generations of Asian women in a single family. Through birth and death cycles in the family and encounters in a space called the in-between, these women expound on gender biases against women, and discriminatory practices upon people of Asian descent. The opera is slated to fully premiere in Guerilla's 2023-2024 season.

Emily Koh is a Singaporean composer based in Atlanta, whose music is characterized by inventive explorations of the smallest details of sound. In addition to writing acoustic and electronic concert music, she enjoys collaborating with other creatives in projects where sound plays an important role in the creative process. Emily is currently Assistant Professor of Composition at the University of Georgia's Hugh Hodgson School of Music and received a Ph.D. in Music Composition and Theory from Brandeis University.

Hear her music featured at the Guerilla Backyard Bash on Friday, August 21, 2020 at 7pm EST and Saturday, August 22, 2020 at 3pm EST. The Guerillas will also premiere their latest "experiment, Papillon with design and direction by Deniz Khateri and featuring the music of Kaija Saariaho as well as from A Dead Body by Mischa Salkind-Pearl and Franny Zhang.


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