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The American Opera Project Announces Applications for 11th Season Of Composers & The Voice Training Program

Applications available March 1. Program begins in Fall 2021.

The American Opera Project Announces Applications for 11th Season Of Composers & The Voice Training Program

The American Opera Project announces the return of its Composers & the Voice program for its 2021-2023 seasons. Created and led by Composers & the Voice Artistic Director Steven Osgood, six composers and up to three librettists will be selected for two-year fellowships to explore the fundamentals of writing for the voice and lyric theater. Workshop sessions with professional opera singers, mentors, and instructors will be held at AOP's home base in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, as well as online, as necessitated by CDC guidelines.

Applications and complete information will be available beginning March 1st at www.aopopera.org/composers-voice. The deadline for applications is April 1st with fellowships being announced by July 1st.

Composers & the Voice, a tuition-free training program, is a competitive two-year fellowship offered to composers and librettists. AOP welcomes applications from musicians of all backgrounds interested in composing for opera and lyric theater and seeks to present a group of fellows that represent the diversity of our community and country. Applications are reviewed and fellowships are selected by the C&V Artistic team and a panel of industry professionals also chosen with an emphasis on diversity.
In a continued effort to expand the Composers & the Voice opportunity to a wider range of applicants, AOP will no longer require a fee to apply, has relaxed the application's work sample requirements, added remote workshop sessions, and for the first time will award a need-based travel and lodging grant to one selected composer or librettist based outside of the NYC Metropolitan area.

The Composers & the Voice fellowships include a highly structured year of working with the company's Resident Ensemble of Singers and Artistic Team followed by a year of continued promotion and career development through AOP and its strategic partnerships. The workshop sessions between October 2021 and April 2022 include composition of solo works for six voice types (coloratura soprano, lyric soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, and bass).

In addition, over 45 hours of "Skill-Building Sessions" - including Acting with Mary Birnbaum (Associate Director, Opera Studies program at Juilliard), Theatrical Improvisation with Terry Greiss (Co-Founder, Ensemble Actor, Executive Director of Irondale Ensemble Project), and Libretto Development with librettist Mark Campbell (As One, Silent Night) - will provide in-depth knowledge of how singers build characters, act in scenes, and sing text.

Fellows will also receive individual guidance from "Artistic Chairs," sponsorships named in honor of mentors and their support of Composers & the Voice.

Artistic Chairs in previous seasons have included composers Du Yun (Angel's Bone), Ricky Ian Gordon (27, The Grapes of Wrath), Huang Ruo (Paradise Interrupted, An American Soldier), David T. Little (Dog Days, JFK), Missy Mazzoli (Breaking the Waves, Songs From the Uproar), Tobias Picker (An American Tragedy, Emmeline), Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Godspell), and Gregory Spears (Fellow Travelers, Paul's Case), Tan Dun (Peony Pavilion, The First Emperor), and librettists Kimberly Reed (As One), Gene Scheer (Cold Mountain, Moby Dick), and Royce Vavrek (Dog Days, JFK).

At the end of the workshop sessions, AOP will present selections from the participants' work in public performances - First Glimpse, a concert of songs, and Six Scenes, an evening of short opera scenes.

The second year of the Composers & the Voice fellowship focuses on the development and further promotion of the fellows' C&V-created works. This includes career guidance from AOP's staff and potential workshops and presentations in AOP's "First Chance" opera development program.

Since launching in 2002, C&V has fostered the development of 71 composers and librettists. Alumni works that continued through AOP's opera development program and went on to a world premiere include Love/Hate (ODC/San Francisco Opera 2012, Jack Perla), Paul's Case (UrbanArias 2013, Gregory Spears), The Scarlet Ibis (PROTOTYPE 2015, Stefan Weisman), Three Way (Nashville Opera and AOP 2017, Robert Paterson), The Summer King (Pittsburgh Opera 2017, Daniel Sonenberg), and Independence Eve (UrbanArias 2017, Sidney Marquez Boquiren), and The Echo Drift (PROTOTYPE 2018, Mikael Karlsson).

During his tenure as Artistic Director of American Opera Projects (2001 to 2008), Steven Osgood created Composers & the Voice and conducted the premieres of over two dozen operas, including the world premieres of Paula Kimper and Wende Persons' Patience & Sarah at the Lincoln Center Festival and Janice Hamer and Mary Azrael's Lost Childhood at the International Vocal Arts Institute (Tel Aviv). He has conducted the premieres of over a dozen operas, including As One, The Scarlet Ibis, Thumbprint, Peony Pavilion, Oresteia, Song from the Uproar, Breaking the Waves, JFK, and Little Nemo in Slumberland and has served as Conductor Mentor for Washington National Opera's American Opera Initiative. As General and Artistic Director of The Chautauqua Opera Company he has programmed Song from the Uproar, As One, Hydrogen Jukebox and The Ghosts of Versailles as an ongoing commitment to contemporary repertoire. He created the company's Composer-in-Residence position in 2016 as a partnership with AOP and Composers & the Voice.

"The philosophy of Composers & the Voice since its beginning has been that by immersing composers and librettists in hands-on work with skilled singers and music directors, we empower them to create groundbreaking works that are true to each of their artistic languages," says Osgood. "Composers rarely have the opportunity to work with opera singers during their training, and C&V was designed to address this void. I could not be more proud of the commissions and premieres that have flowed to the alumni of C&V."

AOP's Composers & the Voice is a two-year, tuition-free fellowship for composers and librettists that provides experience writing for the voice and lyric theater. The Composers & the Voice training program is a competitive biannual fellowship offered to composers, librettists, and composer/librettist teams. Created and led by Composers & the Voice Artistic Director Steven Osgood, the two-year fellowship includes a year of working with the company's Resident Ensemble of Singers and professional instructors followed by a year of continued promotion and career development through AOP and its strategic partnerships. Since launching in 2002, C&V has fostered the development of 71 composers and librettists.

More information can be found at https://www.aopopera.org/composers-voice.


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