OPERA America Announces Recipients of Opera Grants for Female Composers
Supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation
Seven Composers and Seven Opera Companies Awarded a Total of $200,00
OPERA America, the national service organization for opera and the nation’s leading champion for American opera, is pleased to announce the latest recipients of Discovery Grants and Commissioning Grants from the Opera Grants for Female Composers program, made possible through the generosity of The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.
Launched in December 2013, the Opera Grants for Female Composers program consists of two granting components: Discovery Grants of up to $15,000 that are awarded directly to female composers to advance new works, and Commissioning Grants of up to $50,000 that are awarded to opera companies in support of commissions of female composers.
The most recent round of Discovery Grants attracted 68 applicants, and an independent adjudication panel selected seven composers to receive a total of $100,000. The recipients are:
- Julia Adolphe for So Donia Speaks
- Mary Ellen Childs for On Beyond
- Emily Doolittle for Jan Tait and the Bear
- Nkeiru Okoye for We’ve Got Our Eye On You
- Rene Orth for Machine
- Elena Ruehr for Crafting the Bonds
- Laura Elise Schwendinger for Artemisia
This is the third round of Discovery Grants to be awarded since the program’s inception. See below for composer biographies and summaries of their operas.
A separate independent adjudication panel selected seven Professional Company Members of OPERA America to receive Commissioning Grants totaling $100,000. The recipients are:
- American Opera Projects (Brooklyn, NY) for Victoria Bond’s Gulliver’s Travels
- Ardea Arts/Family Opera Initiative (New York, NY) for Kitty Brazelton’s Animal Tales
- Beth Morrison Projects (Brooklyn, NY) for Sarah Kirkland Snider’s The Living Light
- The Glimmerglass Festival (Cooperstown, NY) for an opera by Jeanine Tesori (title to be announced)
- Houston Grand Opera for Laura Kaminsky’s Some Light Emerges
- Opera Colorado (Denver, CO) for Lori Laitman’s The Scarlet Letter
- Opera Columbus for Korine Fujiwara’s The Flood of 1913
This is the second round of Commissioning Grants to be awarded since the program’s inception. See below for summaries of the operas.
OPERA America has awarded almost $13 million over the past 30 years in support of new American operas. Until the launch of the Opera Grants for Female Composers program in 2013, however, fewer than five percent of the organization’s grants supporting repertoire development had been awarded to works by female composers. Opera Grants for Female Composers seek to promote the development of works by women, increase diversity across the field and raise the visibility of women writing for the operatic medium. In its three years, the Opera Grants for Female Composers grant program has garnered applications from 198 individual composers and 18 opera companies.
“Leaders in the opera field have made a bold commitment to address gender parity across all sectors of the industry, both artistic and administrative. We are proud to be a driver of this movement through Opera Grants for Female Composers and the response from the field has greatly exceeded our expectations,” stated Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “The generosity of The Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation has enabled us to award half a million dollars over the past three years to female composers and the companies producing their work. These grants have invigorated our art form with a wealth of new works that display the extraordinary skill of their composers, as well as a diverse range of artistic sensibilities.”
The independent adjudication panelists for the Discovery Grants were director Jennifer Aylmer, soprano; Mark Campbell, librettist; Robin Guarino, stage director; Miah Im, conductor/coach; Welz Kauffman, president and CEO, Ravinia; and Anne LeBaron, composer. The panelists for the Commissioning Grants were Robin Guarino, director; John Musto, composer; Emily Pulley, soprano; Gene Scheer, librettist; and Ted Taylor, conductor/coach.
Information about the next round of Discovery Grants will be available in October 2016, and Commissioning Grants will be announced in February 2017.