Press Released: 17 Nov 2014

OPERA America Renews Hugely Successful Grant Program for Female Composers

Discovery Grants identify, support and advance the work of female opera composers

Applications Now Available | Due December 11, 2014

OPERA America, the national service organization for opera, is pleased to announce it is now accepting applications for a second two-year cycle of its Opera Grants for Female Composers, made possible through the generosity of The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

OPERA America has awarded nearly $13 million over 25 years to Professional Company Members in support of new American operas. However, fewer than five percent of the organization’s grants for repertoire development have been awarded to works by female composers. Opera Grants for Female Composers provide direct support both to individual composers and to opera companies for the development of new operas by women, advancing the important objective of increasing diversity across the field.

Opera Grants for Female Composers, first launched in December 2013, was originally planned as a two-year cycle, with a different focus each year. After the tremendous success of the program in its first year, The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation renewed its support, enabling OPERA America to initiate a second two-year cycle.

The first year of each cycle focuses on Discovery Grants. Awards of up to $15,000 each 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. In addition to financial assistance, grant recipients are introduced to leaders in the field through a feature in Opera America Magazine, at the New Works Forum convening in New York in January and at the annual conference in the spring.

"The acknowledgment and support I received through this program was huge. It enabled me to move my work forward with confidence, allowing my collaborators — co-librettists Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed — and me to go on to make something very special together," stated Laura Kaminsky, an award recipient in the first round of Discovery Grants and composer of As One, which premiered at BAM in September. "For an organization to actually seek out composers to write opera and then give them this level of support is essential to creating a diverse opera ecosystem. I am tremendously grateful to OPERA America and to the Toulmin Foundation for this opportunity," she continued.

Applications for the second round of Discovery Grants are available now at operaamerica.org/Grants, and the Intent to Apply must be submitted by December 11, 2014. Full applications are due on January 22, 2015. Applicants must be female composers and United States citizens or permanent residents. Membership in OPERA America is not required for this grant.

The second year of each Opera Grants for Female Composers program focuses on Commissioning Grants. These awards help support the commissioning and production of works by talented women composing for the stages of OPERA America Professional Company Members. Applications for the first round of Commissioning Grants have already been submitted and will be adjudicated in early December 2014. A second round of Commissioning Grants will be announced in 2015.

"OPERA America is uniquely positioned as the field’s convener and connector to advance the careers of the most talented creative artists," declared Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. "Opera Grants for Female Composers enables us to identify and support the development of new works by emerging and established female composers. By helping to increase the quality and quantity of works by women, we will broaden and deepen the existing opera repertoire with exciting new works. We are grateful to the Toulmin Foundation for enabling us to continue this important work."

Information about the Opera Grants for Female Composers program, including guidelines and application instructions, may be found at operaamerica.org/Grants.

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