Composer, Conductor, Pianist and Writer Matthew Aucoin Named as LA Opera's First Artist in Residence
La opera announced that 25-year-old composer, conductor, pianist and writer Matthew Aucoin has been named as the company’s first ever Artist in Residence.
In a staggeringly brief period of time, and at a shockingly young age, Aucoin has established himself as both a significant compositional voice and one of the most remarkably multifaceted artists to emerge on today's opera scene. News of today’s appointment—the latest in a series of associations between Aucoin and major opera companies—is likely to further buttress the consensus among opera administrators and critics that Aucoin’s career will be one to watch.
The appointment, which commences with the company’s 2016-17 season, will last for three years and will find Aucoin spending eight weeks each season at LA Opera, during which time he will be engaged with several facets of the company’s operations and artistic efforts.
During the first year of his association with LA Opera, Aucoin is slated to conduct the mainstage company premiere of a major twentieth-century opera, and will also curate and compose music that will be presented as part of LAO’s Off Grand program. Additionally, Aucoin will work and collaborate with the participants of LA Opera’s Domingo-Colburn-Stein Young Artist Program, and will also engage with the company’s educational and community engagement programs.
In subsequent seasons, Aucoin’s involvement in LA Opera's onstage presentations will only increase. During the 2017-18 season, he will conduct two productions there—including a staging of one of his own works—and in 2018-19 he will compose and write the libretto for a new mainstage opera, and will conduct its world premiere.
"I’m honored and humbled to be joining the LA Opera family," Aucoin said in a statement issued today by the company. "It is a thrill to work with colleagues who feel that new music is essential to the world we live in, and who also believe that the past isn’t past. Opera is one big adventure of human evolution, and LA Opera’s forward-thinking attitude is just what opera needs in order to thrive and evolve. On a personal note, it’s been a lifelong dream of mine to find an artistic home where I can unite various aspects of my artistic identity: composition and conducting, music and poetry, solitary and collaborative creation. So it’s a dream come true to be composing music for, and performing music with, the extraordinary artists of LA Opera."
"Matthew Aucoin's youth belies the wealth and breadth of his experience and our confidence in his gifts," said Christopher Koelsch, LA Opera's president and chief executive officer. "I think that he has only scratched the surface of his potential. As our first Artist in Residence, Matthew will fuel the imaginations of our own emerging artists and invite audiences of all ages to experience new forms of opera. By giving him the time and creative freedom to create and explore, we expect him to bridge the past with the present in both the pieces he creates and the experiences he elicits."
Aucoin, a graduate of Harvard College and a recipient of a graduate diploma in composition from the Juilliard School, became the youngest assistant conductor in the history of the Metropolitan Opera when he was hired in 2012 to help prepare the company premiere of Thomas Adès’s The Tempest. He has since been commissioned to write a new opera for the Metropolitan Opera/Lincoln Center Theater New Works program.
During the 2014-15 season, Aucoin led the American premieres of two of his works—Crossing at American Repertory Theater in Boston and Second Nature at Lyric Opera of Chicago—and during the current season, he will conduct the premiere of a new orchestral work commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. Aucoin has also been commissioned by Carnegie Hall and London’s Wigmore Hall to compose a new song cycle, which sets texts by James Merrill; tenor Paul Appleby and pianist Ken Noda will premiere the cycle in March in New York before performances of the work play in Boston, Chicago, Notre Dame and Miami. Likewise, violinist Jennifer Koh will present the premiere of his new work for solo violin at both the NY PHIL BIENNIAL and the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. Aucoin is currently in the process of composing a piano concert commissioned by by the Irving S. Gilmore International Keyboard Festival. Also in March, National Sawdust will present the world premiere of Aucoin's The Orphic Moment, featuring countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo; in April, Aucoin will conduct the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he is currently taking part in the orchestra's Dudamel Fellowship Program.
As an active pianist, Aucoin regularly performs in recitals with his regular collaborator, violinist Keir GoGwilt, and has also performed alongside opera singers that have included Renée Fleming, Paulo Szot, Rod Gilfry and Anthony Roth Costanzo. As a writer, Aucoin’s essays and poetry have appeared in The Yale Review, The Colorado Review, The Boston Globe and the Harvard Advocate.
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