CU NOW

From Score to Floor: Opera from the Ground Up

By the time an opera production hits the floorboards, composers and performers have spent years transforming theatrical ideas and music for the stage. The CU New Opera Workshop (CU NOW) gives you the rare opportunity to observe this process and share your suggestions with the composers. The interactive workshop-style performances feature acclaimed opera composers working with CU singers on new operas, on their way to professional world premieres. You'll leave with exciting insights into the creative process when you experience opera from the ground up at CU NOW!

Composer Fellows' Initiative

For the Summer of 2015, CU NOW is excited to announce that we will workshop the opera Susan Smith by librettist and CU-Boulder alumnus Mark Campbell and composer Zach Redler. They will both be coming to Boulder for the entire CU NOW workshop and will also work with the CU NOW Composer Fellows' Initiative. The Composer Fellows' Initiative is an extension of the new opera celebration. Several CU-Boulder composition students will be selected to compose an opera scene for a performance by the CU NOW artistic team at the music theater at Imig on Saturday, June 13. This includes Professor Bud Coleman and Professor Emeritus, Bob Spillman.  

The culmination of the Composer Fellows' Initiative will be presented at the Music Theatre in Imig Music Building, while the performances of Susan Smith will take place at the Atlas Black Box Theatre on the campus of CU-Boulder. This unique space provides a birds-eye view of the performance and offers a perfect atmosphere for a post-performance Q&A with the composer, librettist, singers and artistic team. Have you ever wondered what a composer does to a score before the first performance? Now is your chance to find out!

2015 Student Composer Fellows

Daniel Cox, from Kansas City, Mo., is a young composer of exciting instrumental and vocal works that often incorporate his love for jazz, soul, musical theater and world music. He received a B.A. in Music and Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia and is currently finishing up his Masters in Music at the University of Colorado-Boulder studying under Daniel Kellogg. A two-time featured student composer at the CU New Opera Workshop, he is excited to premiere at this year's workshop his new chamber opera "Dreams Of Stonewall," which ties together the gay community in Berlin right before Hitler came into power with the 1969 Stonewall Riots in New York City's Greenwich Village.

Ryan Dakota Farris, from Nederland, Colo., is an emerging composer of primarily instrumental music who is beginning to dip his toe into the vast ocean of vocal and operatic music with which he has long been enamored. He is currently pursuing dual B.M. degrees in Composition and Cello Performance at the University of Colorado Boulder. His most recent project is an opera scene that explores and pokes fun at the use of smart phones in the lives of American college students today. This scene will be presented at the CU New Opera Workshop this summer.

Brian D. Kelly is an internationally performed composer of multimedia sound works that are often both acoustic and electronic in nature. Sound, visuals, poetry and drama are freely combined in works that often explore social themes and challenge the status quo of Western ideals of culture, gender, theism and sexuality. He is currently pursuing his D.M.A. in Music Composition at CU-Boulder. He is a composition student of Michael Theodore.

Egemen Kesikli is a young Turkish composer honored with numerous performances and awards across the United States, as well as Canada, Austria, Greece and his home country Turkey. He received his bachelor's degree from St. Olaf College with Distinction, and master’s from the University of Texas at Austin. He is recently working on a chamber opera entitled "Behrouz: An Untold Story," excerpts of which will be presented at the CU New Opera Workshop this summer. Egemen is currently pursuing his D.M.A. in Composition at CU-Boulder, studying with Carter Pann. 

Katie Mueller is a contemporary composer who seeks to build relationships between the performer, the audience and the music and whose music is reflective of a variety of styles. She has a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of Michigan and a Master of Music degree from the University of Colorado Boulder. She was recently commissioned by Chamber Ensemble con Grazia and Nevin Platt Middle School. The murder scene from her first opera will be workshopped as part of CU New Opera Workshop this summer.


CU NOW Events

Susan Smith
Friday, June 12
7:30 p.m.
ATLAS Black Box Theatre

Composer Fellows' Initiative
Saturday, June 13
7:30 p.m.
Imig Music Theatre
This production contains sexually suggestive content.

Susan Smith
Sunday, June 14
2 p.m.
ATLAS Black Box Theatre


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