FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
American Lyric Theater’s work in the Opera Field
Recognized with a $35,000 Grant from
the National Endowment for the Arts
to Support the Composer Librettist Development Program
New York, NY – Lawrence Edelson, Founder and Producing Artistic Director of American Lyric Theater (ALT), announced today that the company has been selected by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to receive a $35,000 Art Works grant to support its Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP), the only full-time professional mentorship initiative for emerging operatic writers in the country.
Announced by Acting Chairman Joan Shigekawa as one of 817 nonprofit organizations nationwide to receive an NEA Art Works grant, this marks the fourth consecutive grant ALT has received from the NEA for this program. ALT’s flagship initiative, the CLDP provides unprecedented professional instruction and guidance to gifted emerging operatic writers. The CLDP faculty includes some of the country’s foremost artists, including composer/librettist Mark Adamo, composer Paul Moravec, librettists Mark Campbell and Michael Korie, and dramaturg Cori Ellison. Earlier this year, ALT announced the national expansion of the CLDP, allowing artists nationwide to participate in the program through the use of newly acquired HD teleconferencing technology. Previously, only artists living in the New York area were able to participate. The upcoming season of the CLDP will run from September 15, 2013 to June 18, 2014.
Acting Chairman Shigekawa stated, “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support these exciting and diverse arts projects that will take place throughout the United States. Whether it is through a focus on education, engagement or innovation, these projects all contribute to vibrant communities and memorable opportunities for the public to engage with the arts.”
Marc Scorca, President and CEO of OPERA America, has said of the CLDP, “ALT’s Composer Librettist Development Program has been an important contributing force to the flow of new American operas in recent years. Outstanding works and strong new relationships among artists and producers have resulted from Edelson’s visionary leadership of American Lyric Theater. I look forward to the expanded, national impact of this program.”
Mr. Edelson commented on the grant, stating, “We are honored and thrilled by the increased support we have received from the NEA this year. Previously, ALT has only been able to offer the CLDP to artists living in the metropolitan New York City area. While the program has been a tremendous success, our goal for the CLDP has always been to become a truly national initiative, whereby we are providing mentorship to the most diverse group of gifted emerging operatic writers from across the United States. The NEA’s increased support will help us to make the CLDP resources available to artists from around the country – artists who are the vibrant voices that will define the future of opera in America.”
The NEA received 1,547 eligible applications under the Art Works category for this round of funding, requesting more than $80 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 817 Art Works grants total $26.3 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 across 13 artistic disciplines and fields. Applications were reviewed by panels of outside experts convened by NEA staff and each project was judged on its artistic excellence and artistic merit.
For a complete listing of projects recommended for Art Works grant support, please visit the NEA website at arts.gov.
About American Lyric Theater and the Composer Librettist Development Program
American Lyric Theater (ALT) was founded in 2005 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. ALT is not an opera company by the traditional definition. Many opera companies commission and perform new works; but ALT is the only company in the United States that offers extensive, full-time mentorship for emerging operatic writers. While the traditional company model focuses on producing a season, ALT’s focus is on serving the needs of composers and librettists, developing new works, and collaborating with larger producing companies to help usher those works into the repertoire.
In 2006, ALT commissioned The Golden Ticket, a new opera based on Roald Dah’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” from American composer Peter Ash and librettists Donald Sturrock. ALT then developed a partnership with Opera Theatre of Saint Louis to present the world premiere of The Golden Ticket, which took place in June 2010 to tremendous critical and audience acclaim. The opera was subsequently presented in partnership with The Wexford Festival and The Atlanta Opera. A live recording of The Golden Ticket was produced by ALT in conjunction with the most recent performances in Atlanta, and released in December 2012 on Albany Records.
In 2007, ALT launched its core initiative, the Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP). Led by Producing Artistic Director Lawrence Edelson, the CLDP faculty features some of the country’s foremost artists, including composer/librettist Mark Adamo, composer Paul Moravec, librettists Mark Campbell and Michael Korie, and dramaturg Cori Ellison. Recent guest teachers and lecturers have included composers Kaija Saariaho, Nico Muhly, Stewart Wallace, Christopher Theofanidis, Ricky Ian Gordon, John Musto, and Anthony Davis, and librettists Donna DiNovelli, Stephen Karam, and Gene Scheer.
To date, the CLDP has provided intensive, personalized mentorship to 30 gifted emerging artists, and 11 short chamber operas have been developed under the auspices of the program. Operas developed through the CLDP and by CLDP alumni have been presented by a wide variety of companies, including Tulsa Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Urban Arias, Center City Opera, San Francisco Conservatory, New York City Opera VOX, and Beth Morrison Projects. In 2009, ALT commissioned The Poe Project, a trilogy of one-act operas inspired by the fiction of Edgar Allan Poe from six CLDP Resident Artists which will receive its world premiere in 2014. In 2012, ALT announced three new opera commissions being written by returning CLDP artists: La Reina, an opera in Spanish and English that explores the war on drugs between Mexico and the United States, by Jorge Sosa and Laura Sosa Pedroza; The Turing Project, a historical fantasia that explores the life of British scientist Alan Turing, by Justine F. Chen and David Simpatico; and The Long Walk, based on Brian Castner’s critically acclaimed memoir of the same name, by Jeremy Howard Beck and Stephanie Fleischmann. All three operas-in-progress will be presented as part of InsightALT, a festival of new works in development by the company, from May 28 to June 3, 2013.
In 2012, ALT was the first company dedicated to artist mentorship rather than operatic production to be recognized by OPERA America as a Professional Company Member – a testament to ALT’s service to the field.
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, OPERA America/The Opera Fund, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Esther B. Kahn Charitable Foundation, The Amphion Foundation, The Dorothy Loudon Foundation, and The Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University.
For more information, please contact:
Laura Grant, Grant Communications
978.208.0552; 212.600.0649; 917.359.7319