Four Female Composers You Should Know About | KCET
Four Female Composers You Should Know About
Vireo, the groundbreaking made-for-TV opera, is now available for streaming. Watch the 12 full episodes and dive into the world of Vireo through librettos, essays and production notes. Find more bonus content on KCET.org and LinkTV.org.
Earlier this season, for the first time since 1903, the Metropolitan Opera staged an opera composed by a woman – Kaija Saariaho’s “L’Amour de Loin.” Across the country, other operas by female composers are also finally getting their day in the sun. Below, we’ve curated a list of opera wonder women that you should know about.
Missy Mazzoli’s inventive and otherworldly music has been performed all over the world. Her upcoming opera “Proving Up,” commissioned by Washington National Opera, Opera Omaha and New York’s Miller Theatre, will premiere in January 2018 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Based on a short story by Karen Russell, “Proving Up” explores the nature of the American Dream through the eyes of a 19th-century Nebraskan family. Her other operas include “Breaking the Waves,” based on the 1996 Lars Von Trier film, which premiered at Opera Philadelphia to rave reviews in September 2016, and “Song from the Uproar,” staged by LA Opera in 2015.
Listen: “Here Where Footprints Erase the Graves” from “Song from the Uproar”
Lisa Bielawa has changed how the opera game is played. Her latest opera, “Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser,” is a 12-episode journey exploring the treatment of hysteria across centuries. Rather than staging her opera in the traditional sense, Bielawa composed the piece for online and broadcast – for the modern viewer trained on binge-watching. It’s a breakthrough piece that gives audiences yet another way to experience this great art form.
“Vireo” is only the latest in Bielawa’s decades-long career that’s seen touring as a soloist with the Philip Glass Ensemble, co-founding the MATA Festival celebrating the work of young composers, and composing multiple orchestra works and operas (including “The Trojan Women”).
Watch: All 12 episodes on KCET
Kalama Sankaram is the celebrated composer of “Thumbprint” and “Miranda” (in addition to many chamber music pieces). “Thumbprint,” which LA Opera is now presenting at REDCAT, tracks the transformation of Mukhtar Mai into a champion for women’s rights in Pakistan. “Miranda” is a murder-mystery steampunk opera. Throughout her career as a composer, Sankaram has blended various musical styles together from traditional Hindustani music to tango to hip-hop. In addition to composing, Sankaram is also a celebrated coloratura soprano (who stars in her own operas) and frontwoman of the band Bombay Rickey.
Listen to: “Mukhtar’s Aria” from “Thumbprint” (get tickets to the show here)
Listen to: “Queen of the Rhumba” by Bombay Rickey
Jennifer Higdon is one of the most performed American composers. Her Percussion Concerto won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition, while her Violin Concerto won her the Pulitzer Prize in Music that same year. Her first opera, “Cold Mountain,” based on the book by Charles Frazier, premiered at Santa Fe Opera and has made a great mark on the history of American opera.
Listen: “What Was His Name?” from “Cold Mountain”
To learn more about female opera composers, check out this piece on women in opera.
Read More About Vireo
Can Online Avatars Define Us? Animator Jenna Caravello Dives Into This, the Art of Online Storytelling and Pepe the Frog
Meet Jenna Caravello, the mind-bendingly creative brain who uses video games, interactive installations and animated short films as ways to help us make sense of memory, loss and meaning.
Distributing the COVID-19 vaccines now being developed is shaping up to be the largest and most complex public health effort in L.A. County's history, and concerns are growing that officials are already falling behind, it was reported Nov. 20.
Kai Anderson’s eye-catching, multi-colored, hand-drawn thematic maps have developed a cult following in conservation circles in the American West. He walks us through a map he created of Sen. Harry Reid's major environmental campaigns.
Based in the Peruvian Amazon, Chaikuni Institute blends an Indigenous agricultural practice known as chacras integrales with agroforestry, a permaculture method from Brazil.
- 1 of 397
- next ›
Robert Irwin, Larry Bell and Helen Pashgian explore perception, material and experience.
Drummer Mekala Session and other artists carry forward Los Angeles’ rich jazz legacy.
Artists created works to spark conversation about L.A. and sustainable futures.
The Watts Towers Arts Center was born out of the resilience of 1960s Black L.A.
From the typeface of “The Godfather” book cover to the Noguchi table, the influence of Japanese American artists and designers in postwar American art and design is unparalleled. Learn how the World War II incarceration affected their lives and creations.
- 1 of 12
- next ›