American Lyric Theatre to Receive $20,000 NEA Art Works Grant


American Lyric Theater has been selected by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to receive a $20,000 grant to support its Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP), a full-time resident artist program for emerging opera composers and librettists. Artists are selected through an open application process to participate in the tuition-free program that provides professional training by renowned and respected artists including composer-librettist Mark Adamo, composer Anthony Davis, librettist Michael Korie, and dramaturg Cori Ellison.

Announced by Chairman Rocco Landesman as one of 788 not-for-profit national, regional, state, and local organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant, this marks the third consecutive grant American Lyric Theater has received from the NEA for this program. The Composer Librettist Development Program is ALT's flagship initiative to provide unprecedented professional training and mentorship to gifted emerging operatic writers.

Of the Art Works Grants, Chairman Landesman said, "The arts should be a part of everyday life. Whether it's seeing a performance, visiting a gallery, participating in an art class, or simply taking a walk around a neighborhood enhanced by public art, these grants are ensuring that across the nation, the public is able to experience how art works."

American Lyric Theater Founder and Producing Artistic Director Lawrence Edelson further explained, "In order to make opera part of everyday life, opera has to evolve to keep up with the exciting changes in contemporary society. New operas that speak to contemporary audiences on their own terms are a vital component of keeping opera relevant in the 21st Century - and the development of new works must begin with the development of the artists who are going to write those works. We are incredibly grateful that the NEA recognizes the value of mentoring gifted emerging operatic writers. This grant will help us to continue providing the CLDP to a diverse group of composers and librettists - artists who are the vibrant voices that will define the future of opera in America."

The NEA received 1,624 eligible applications under the Art Works category for this round of funding, requesting more than $78 million in funding. The Composer Librettist Development Program at ALT was the only program specifically dedicated to the training of operatic writers that received support from the NEA during this round of funding. The 788 Art Works grants total $24.81 million and support the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts. For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at

About American Lyric Theater and the Composer Librettist Development Program

Founded in 2005 by Producing Artistic Director Lawrence Edelson, American Lyric Theater (ALT) is the only company in the United States that offers extensive, full-time mentorship for emerging operatic writers as its primary program area. The goal of ALT is to build a new body of operatic repertoire for new audiences by nurturing composers and librettists, developing sustainable artistic collaborations, and contributing new works to the national canon.

While the traditional company model focuses on producing a season, ALT's programs focus on serving the needs of artists, developing new works, and collaborating with producing companies to help usher those works into the repertoire.

ALT is the home of the Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP), the first - and still the most extensive - full-time professional mentorship program for emerging opera composers and librettists in the United States. A tuition-free initiative, it is open to artists selected through a competitive application process. The program includes a core curriculum of classroom training and hands-on workshops with some of the country's leading working artists. CLDP faculty members include composer/librettist Mark Adamo, conductor Lucy Arner, librettist Mark Campbell, composer Anthony Davis, dramaturg Cori Ellison, and librettist Michael Korie. Recent guest teachers and lecturers have included composers Kaija Saariaho, Nico Muhly, StewArt Wallace, Christopher Theofanidis, Ricky Ian Gordon, John Musto, and Paul Moravec, and librettists Donna DiNovelli, Stephen Karam, and Gene Scheer. As part of the first year of the CLDP, Resident Artists create a short, one-act opera uniquely inspired by themes of temptation found in the story of Adam and Eve. The works-in-progress are presented in concert as the culmination of a workshop led by Mr. Adamo. This season's Opera in Eden concert takes place on Monday, June 25, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia at Symphony Space.

ALT also presents a series of concerts, masterclasses and public symposia during the season, including Freshly Brewed, an artist brunch series held at OPERA America. This fall, ALT will release its first CD of its first commissioned opera, The Golden Ticket, by American composer Peter Ash and British librettist Donald Sturrock. Based on Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Golden Ticket was given its world premiere in 2010 in partnership with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, followed by its international premiere at Ireland's Wexford Festival Opera. The opera was recorded during its third presentation this past spring by ALT in partnership with The Altanta Opera. ALT's second main stage commission is The Poe Project, a trilogy of one-act operas inspired by the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe. ALT will announce three new full-length opera commissions, to be developed through the CLDP, this fall. Further details can be found at

In addition to The National Endowment for the Arts, The Composer Librettist Development Program, and American Lyric Theater's public performance programs, are made possible by generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, OPERA America, and The Dorothy Loudon Foundation.