We keep trying, always, to find each other.

—Pina Bausch

 As a composer I am most excited by the possibility of opera. I also find I’m frequently more interested in how people say things than in what they say, and so much of my opera work makes use of transcribed real speech, generally  set with refashioned, found musical materials, from folk musics to the canon of classical music. Deeply rooted and informed by literature, theater, and music history, my opera work concentrates on language and how through it we strive for human connection. I’m interested in storytelling and narrative, but less so “plot,” so most of the “action” in these opera works takes the form of psychological shifts or concentration on the subtleties of expression rather than movement on stage or grand events. In these operas, “nothing” happens actively. Watch and listen to a sampling of excerpts by clicking on the highlighted links below:

Tim Gunn’s Podcast (a reality chamber opera) — opera for baritone and piano, excerpt performed by John Schenkel at the New York International Fringe Festival, composer at the piano.

American Lit: The Hawthorne/Melville Correspondence — opera for multiple singers, chorus and orchestra, libretto by Jeffrey Jullich, excerpt (“In A Wood”) performed by Hell’s Kitchen Opera in workshop, at American Opera Projects, William Maxfield conducting, composer at the piano.

If I Could Sit, If I Could Stand, or, Oh, Bill, Oh, Susan — opera for soprano, baritone and string quartet, libretto by Stuart Sherman, performed by Amy Neuburg and John Schenkel, with the Eribeth Chamber Players: If I Could Sit (excerpt)

The Art of Eating — opera for soprano, baritone and string quartet, based on a short story by MFK Fisher, libretto by Joseph Goodrich, excerpt performed by New York Metro Vocal Arts Ensemble: Art of Eating—final duet

The Shari Lewis Show — an electronic requiem opera for soprano with two rubber dishwashing gloves, libretto by Jeffrey Jullich, performed by Elizabeth Eakin.

Say It With Flowers (an opera in waiting) — based on the play by Gertrude Stein, for singers and orchestra, excerpt (final duet and chorus) performed with piano, by Hell’s Kitchen Opera, Mimi Stern-Wolfe conducting, Center for Contemporary Opera: Say It With Flowers: Final Duet and Chorus