OPERA America Announces Recipients of Opera Grants for Female Composers: Commissioning Grants
Supported by the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation
A Total of $98,000 Awarded for Five Operas
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 Commissioning Grants from the Opera Grants for Female Composers program, made possible through the generosity of the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.
Opera Grants for Female Composers promote the development of works by women and raise the visibility of women writing for the operatic medium. The 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 for commissions by female composers. Since its inception, the program has awarded a total of $898,000 to opera companies and composers.
A total of $98,000 was awarded to the following companies to support the commissioning of five projects:
- Beth Morrison Projects (New York, NY) for Adoration by Mary Kouyoumdjian
- On Site Opera (New York, NY) for Lady Murasaki and the Tale of Genji (working title) by Michi Wiancko
- Opera on Tap (New York, NY) for Looking at You by Kamala Sankaram
- Opera Philadelphia for Ashes (working title) by Jennifer Higdon
- Washington National Opera for Taking Up Serpents by Kamala Sankaram
These grants, which were awarded by an independent adjudication panel, provide funds that cover up to 50 percent of each composer’s commissioning fee. (See below for descriptions of the funded works.)
Over the past 30 years, OPERA America has awarded nearly $18 million to its Professional Company Members to support the work of opera creators, companies and administrators. However, until the launch of Opera Grants for Female Composers in 2013, fewer than five percent of the organization’s grants for repertoire development had been awarded to works by female composers.
“Works by female composers are gaining traction on stages across North America, as our member companies commission an unprecedented number of operas by women,” stated Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “We are grateful to the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation for enabling us to continue this important work, which has brought noteworthy composers to the forefront and enlivened our operatic repertoire with new works.”
An independent panel of experts reviewed a total of 13 applications. This cycle’s panelists were Jeremy Geffen, senior director and artistic adviser, Carnegie Hall; Heather Johnson, mezzo-soprano; Kristin Kuster, composer; John de los Santos, director, choreographer and librettist; and Viswa Subbaraman, conductor.
Information about the next round of Commissioning Grants will be available in winter 2018/2019.