Coastal Shift

This past week I was offered a fellowship that will give me the chance to work with several opera companies and acquire some hands-on experience in the way that companies with all kinds of budgets—from Opera Memphis to the Met—manage to pull off producing contemporary works. This is not only an exceptional opportunity and honor in its own right, but it comes at an auspicious time directly before I will undertake composing my own first opera in earnest.

For the first leg of the journey I’ll be moving to Seattle for two months, effective on April 1. I’ll be working with Daron Hagen during the production of his new opera Amelia by Seattle Opera, and as a result my posts on these pages will (for a stretch) take up the mantle of reportage rather than the topical pieces on composing and creativity I’ve grown accustomed to contributing. I doubt this will come as an unwelcome change to any readers of this site, least of all to me. In all creative lives there’s a necessity to balance the internal and external, and while I’ve been doing a lot of composing this past year my external life hasn’t really been much worth posting about! I’ll be finishing up a cello sonata next month and then focusing mainly on learning and reporting what I see and hear. My entries may be brief at times, but I’m going to make an effort to select those brief experiences from inside the opera world that might be most surprising, illuminating, or instructive.

As you might imagine, I’ve got a lot to take care of this week before the move, both musically and otherwise. It’s more than a little intimidating, but I’m looking forward to having a “day job” of sorts after much time shambling around in pajamas with a somewhat raggedy stubble during my composing stints. I’ll be doing a bit of composing in Seattle—conveniently, for a work that will premiere there in June for cellist Joshua Roman and pianist Helen Huang—but it’s going to be more like a hobbyist’s late-hour noodling than days on unbroken, concerted effort. I’m hoping I can respond to this change in environment and still deliver a great piece, but right now I’ll settle for just making it out to Seattle without forgetting to pack pants.

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