Attention Emerging Maestros: The Nation's First Composer in Residence Program is Now Taking Applications

Opera Philadelphia, in collaboration with New York's Music-Theatre Group and the Gotham Chamber Opera, is now accepting applications for the nation's first comprehensive operatic Composer in Residence program. It's gonna be a doozy.

The program "fosters tomorrow's masterpieces of American opera through individualized creative development." That may sound like boring boilerplate language, but don't be fooled. This isn't your typical composer-in-residence program, thanks in no small part to the funder lurking behind the proverbial curtain — the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

As IP readers know, the foundation has a bold vision for the future of opera. To get a better idea of this vision, simply look at who they've been funding as of late. For example, Mellon awarded $750,000 to the Minnesota Opera's New Works Initiative, which aims to invigorate "the operatic art form with an infusion of contemporary works."

Mellon also gave $200,000 to the American Opera Project's plan to once again invigorate opera by employing a test-screening model in which the general public provides feedback into the composition and production process. In short, Mellon's vision for next-generation opera is inter-disciplinary, collaborative, and thoroughly modern.

Composer in Residence applicants can expect a similarly innovative and forward-looking experience. Applicants should expect to "step beyond his or her musical comfort zones" to "take this timeless art form and infuse it with artistic, technological, creating, and collaborative sensibilities most relevant to our time."

To that end, winners get to collaborate with what can only be described as an opera Dream Team, joining fellow composers Missy Mazzoli, Andrew Norman, and David T. Little in cultivating his/her skills in all aspects of opera production, learning from colleagues like composer Jennifer Higdon, librettist Mark Campbell, mezzo-soprano Isabel Leonard, dramaturge Cori Ellison, baritone Nathan Gunn, and opera/vocal coach Mikael Eliasen.

This residency includes a yearly salary of $60,000 and benefits as well as substantial work and career development resources. The composer's term will begin on a date as yet to be determined, contingent on funding, but no sooner than June 1, 2015. The program is directed to composers of all professional levels and, interestingly enough, there is no required creative output.

Click here for more information and to apply.