Composer: Daron Hagen
Composer Bio: One of America's most respected and prolific full-time composers of concert music and opera, Hagen's music enjoys more than a hundred performances a year. All seven of his operas, Amelia, Shining Brow, Bandanna, Vera of Las Vegas, New York Stories, The Antient Concert and Little Nemo in Slumberland, are currently in production internationally—some under Hagen's stage direction or under his baton. His songs and song cycles are too frequently performed to track.

Hagen's list of commissioners and premiering ensembles is extensive and includes The Philadelphia Orchestra, The New York Philharmonic, The National Symphony, The Milwaukee Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, The Albany Symphony, The Seattle Symphony, and The Buffalo Philharmonic. Most recently, Hagen has written concertos for Joel Fan, Gary Graffman, Jeffrey Khaner, Yumi Kurosawa, Michael Ludwig, Sara Sant'Ambrogio, the Amelia Piano Trio, Jaime Laredo, and Sharon Robinson, among others.

Hagen taught himself to read music at the age of 11, began piano lessons at the age of 12, completed his first symphony at 14, conducted his first orchestral première at 16, and at 19 became the youngest composer since Samuel Barber to have a work premièred by the Philadelphia Orchestra. Commissions during his early twenties from the New York Philharmonic and the Kings Singers launched his career before the first of his seven major operas, Shining Brow (1992), garnered international critical and audience acclaim and established him as one of America's most successful and respected opera composers.

He has received awards from the Rockefeller Foundation (twice), the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, Meet-the-Composer, the Bearns Prize from Columbia University, the Barlow Endowment Prize, Opera America, the ASCAP-Nissim Prize, and the Kennedy Center Friedheim Prize. In 2010, his Suite for Piano was a commissioned work for the Van Cliburn piano competition, resulting in hundreds of performances of the piece worldwide.

Hagen has been a Featured Composer at festivals including Tanglewood, Wintergreen, and Aspen and currently serves as Artistic Director for the Seasons Music Festival. He has served as Composer-in-residence with the Long Beach Symphony and the Denver Chamber Orchestra. As Artistic and Executive Director of the Perpetuum Mobile Concerts in New York and Philadelphia during the eighties, he presented premieres of over one hundred American composers' works.

Hagen's works have been commercially recorded on the Arsis, Albany, Bleecker Street, Bridge, CRI, Josara, Klavier, Naxos, Mark, Sanctus, Sierra Classical, Troppe Note, and New World record labels. In 2009, Naxos released Shining Brow (Buffalo Philharmonic / Falletta) and the complete Hagen Piano Trios (Finisterra Trio). Bandanna was released on Albany under his baton in 2007; Vera of Las Vegas on the CRI label. Nearly all of Hagen's vocal music is recorded and available commercially. Hagen's music is published by E.C. Schirmer, Carl Fischer, and Burning Sled.

Hagen is a trustee of the Douglas Moore Fund for American Opera, former president of the Lotte Lehmann Foundation, and a Lifetime Member of the Corporation of Yaddo. He serves frequently as an admissions and grants panelist for numerous national organizations including Opera America, the Copland House, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, among others.

Hagen is a graduate of Curtis and Juilliard. He served two years on the musical studies faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music; nine years on the composition faculty of Bard College; as a Visiting Professor at the City College of New York; and as a Lecturer in Music at New York University. He has served twice as Composer-in-Residence for the Princeton University Atelier; as Composer-in-Residence at the Chicago Conservatory of Music of the Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University, as Franz Lehar Composer-in-Residence at the University of Pittsburgh; as Artist-in-Residence at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Sigma-Chi-William P. Huffman Composer-in-Residence at Miami University; and for a year as Artist-in-Residence at Baylor University.

During 2012-13, Hagen's operas will receive new productions and / or premieres in Austin, Chicago, Como (Italy), Lexington, New York City, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Sarasota, and Sondrio (Italy). LyricFest (Philadelphia) and Virginia Tech will premiere new song cycles. The Hawaii and Seattle Symphony Orchestras will premiere new works. The Voxare String Quartet will premiere String Quartet No. 3 in Washington and release a CD of Hagen's works on Naxos.

Hagen lives in New York City with his wife, composer / singer / visual artist Gilda Lyons, and his sons Atticus and Seamus.
Librettist: Gardner McFall
Other Artistic Personnel: Stephen Wadsworth (Director)
Gerard Schwarz (Conductor)
Thomas Lynch (Set Designer)
Ann Hould Ward (Costume Designer)
Duane Schuler (Lighting Designer)
Jonathan Dean (Titles)
Original Cast: Kate Lindsey (Amelia)
William Burden (Dodge)
Luretta Bybee (Amanda)
Nathan Gunn (Paul)
Jennifer Zetlan (the Flier)
Jane Eaglen (Helen)
Karen Vuong (Trang/Nurse)
David Won (Huy/Doctor/Chaplain)
Work Web Site:
Premiere Date: May 08, 2010
Producing Company: Seattle Opera
Description: A first time mother-to-be, whose psyche has been scarred by the loss of her pilot-father in Vietnam, must break free from anxiety to embrace healing and renewal for the sake of her husband and child in this original story unfolding over a 30-year period beginning in 1966. Amelia interweaves one woman’s emotional journey, the American experience in Vietnam, and elements of the Daedalus and Icarus myth to explore man’s fascination with flight and the dilemmas that arise when vehicles of flight are used for exploration, adventure, and war. With an intensely personal libretto by American poet Gardner McFall (The Pilot’s Daughter), whose father was a Navy pilot lost during Vietnam, this new American opera moves from loss to recuperation, paralysis to flight, as the protagonist, Amelia, ultimately embraces her life and the creative force of love and family.
Character List (Major): The Flier (lyric soprano)
Young Amelia (lyric soprano)
Helen (soprano) Amelia (mezzo-soprano)
Amanda (mezzo) Young Boy / Icarus (tenor)
Dodge (tenor) Paul (baritone)
Daedalus / Father (bass) Trang / Nurse (lyric soprano)
Huy / Doctor (baritone)
Character List (Minor): Interpreter / 2nd Doctor (lyric baritone)
C.O. / Political Official (tenor) Chaplain / Government Official / Priest (baritone)
NVA Commander / Grief Counselor (spoken)
Bit Parts: 3 NVA Army Soldiers (spoken)
Several Supers (mute)
Reviews: World Premiere of Daron Hagen's New Opera, Amelia - Huffington Post 5/11/2010
On So Many Levels, A Success - Wall Street Journal 5/15/2010
A Woman's Flights of Fantasy and Fear - New York Times 5/9/2010
Amelia, Seattle Opera - Financial Times 5/12/2010
Opera review: 'Amelia' is a profoundly personal, American story - Seattle Times 5/10/2010
Other Matters: Amelia - Arts 5/24/10
Video Clip:
Length: 02:00
Total Acts: 2
Chorus: NO
Orchestration: Large Version: 2 fl (I,II=picc), 2 ob (II=EH), 2 cl (I=Ebcl,II=bcl), 2 bsn - 2 hrn, 2 tpt, 2 tbn, tba - timp - perc (2) - hp - pft – str
Small Version: 1 fl (=picc), 1 ob (=EH), 2 cl (I=Ebcl,II=bcl), 1 bsn – 1 hrn, 1 tpt, 1 tbn, timp – perc (1) – pft – synth – str (3-3-2-2-1, in players)
Ballet/Dance: NO
Musical Style: Romantic, tonal, sweepingly melodic
Contact: Bill Rhodes
Address: Burning Sled Music
3505 Broadway #52
New York, NY 10031
E-mail Address:
Phone: 347-684-1640
Composer Web Site:
Publisher Web Site:
The Opera Fund Awardee Information
Award Category: 2006 Repertoire Development
Project Name: Amelia
Awardee: Seattle Opera
Director: Stephen Wadsworth
Award Category: 2007 Audience Development Design
Project Name: AMELIA: Museum of Flight Meetings
Awardee: Seattle Opera
Audio Visual Materials
Seattle Opera

Schedule of Performances Listings
Amelia (Hagen)
Saturday, May 8, 2010 - Seattle Opera
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