“Undiscovered” was inspired by Maya Angelou’s remarkable, harrowing poem “America” and it’s final plea: “I beg you/Discover this country.” America is indeed beautiful. There’s a tune in there somewhere - an anthem we can sing – but there is much difficult, restless and delicate work to be done to uncover its meaning, its harmonies and dissonances, and hopefully – someday – its light.
“Arguably the world’s most popular 21st century opera and art song composer” (The Wall Street Journal), JAKE HEGGIE is best know for his acclaimed operas Dead Man Walking, Moby-Dick, It’s A Wonderful Life, Great Scott, Three Decembers, Two Remain and If I Were You. The operas and his nearly 300 art songs have been performed extensively on five continents, championed by some of the world’s most beloved artists. Major productions have taken place in San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Dresden, London, Vienna, Madrid, Sydney, Montreal, Calgary and Copenhagen. Dead Man Walking – “the most celebrated American opera of the 21st century” (Chicago Tribune) – has received 70 international productions and two live recordings since its San Francisco Opera premiere, making it the most widely performed new opera of our time. The Metropolitan Opera has announced a new production of Dead Man Walking for a future season starring Joyce DiDonato, directed by Ivo van Hove and conducted by Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Last season featured the world premiere of Intonations: Songs from the Violins of Hope (texts by Gene Scheer), a dramatic song cycle for mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke, violinist Daniel Hope and string quartet. It was commissioned by Music at Kohl Mansion to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Liberation of Auschwitz and recently released on the Pentatone label. Heggie also orchestrated this cycle for the Cabrillo Festival for performances to be conducted by Cristian Macelaru. Upcoming premieres include Songs for Murdered Sisters, a cycle to new poetry by Margaret Atwood for baritone Joshua Hopkins, and What I Miss the Most… a cycle for mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton to new texts by Joyce DiDonato, Patti LuPone, Sister Helen Prejean, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Kathleen Kelly. Jamie Barton is also featured on Unexpected Shadows, a recording of Heggie’s songs released last year by Pentatone. Heggie is currently at work on his 10th full-length opera, INTELLIGENCE (libretto by Gene Scheer), commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera. Heggie was the 2016 keynote speaker for the National Association of Schools of Music and has delivered commencement addresses at Northwestern University and the Eastman School of Music. He is also a frequent guest artist at festivals, universities and conservatories internationally. Jake Heggie lives in San Francisco with his husband, Curt Branom. www.jakeheggie.com
As the artistic director of Center for Musical Excellence, I am always on the look out for new and undiscovered talents. They come to me, sometimes, by my colleagues’ recommendations and other times through young artists’ own research about our organization. Tyson Davis and Andrew Bambridge are currently on our roster of CME Young Artists, whom we mentor. Patricio Molina is a CME alumnus. Theo Chandler, Ji-Young Ko, and Daniel Newman-Lessler applied for our Grant program, and I got to know their work through that process. I decide on young artists when I notice a deep passion and drive within them, plus a certain kind of sparkle in the personality and lots of humility. In addition to musical talents, I believe these are the qualities that will take the young artists far. CME’s motto is "Moving Musicians Forward". I’ve chosen our Discovery Composers based on these qualities, whom we felt we could easily move forward.
- Min Kwon