News and Events
Lori Laitman
photo by: Christian Steiner

COMPOSER LORI LAITMAN


Bio updated January 2017

Described by Fanfare Magazine as “one of the most talented and intriguing of living composers,” Lori Laitman has composed multiple operas and choral works, and over 250 songs, setting texts by classical and contemporary poets (including those who perished in the Holocaust). Her music is widely performed, internationally and throughout the United States, and has generated substantial critical acclaim. The Journal of Singing wrote “It is difficult to think of anyone before the public today who equals her exceptional gifts for embracing a poetic text and giving it new and deeper life through music.” 

 

Opera Colorado presented the World Premiere of Laitman’s opera The Scarlet Letter in May 2016. Laura Claycomb, Dominic Armstrong and Malcolm MacKenzie starred in a production directed by Beth Greenberg and conducted by Ari Pelto. The libretto, based on the Hawthorne classic, is by Colorado’s former Poet Laureate, David Mason. Naxos will release the CD in August 2017. Laitman and Mason also collaborated on Vedem, a Holocaust oratorio commissioned by Music of Remembrance, and are developing the opera Ludlow, based on Mason’s award-winning verse novel about the 1914 Colorado mining town disaster.

 

The Three Feathers, Laitman’s children’s opera with librettist Dana Gioia, is based on a Grimm’s fairy tale and was commissioned by the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech. The work premiered in conjunction with VA Tech, Opera Roanoke and the Blacksburg Children’s Chorale in Oct. 2014 in a production directed by Greenberg and conducted by Scott Williamson. 

 

Laitman has received numerous prestigious commissions, including from Opera America, Opera Colorado, Washington Master Chorale, Wolfgang Holzmair and Music of Remembrance. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra commissioned an orchestral piece to celebrate the BSO’s 100th anniversary. The work, entitled Unsung, premiered in September 2016. Also in September 2016, Laitman and librettist Leah Lax were finalists for the 2018 Pellicciotti Opera Prize. The first scene of their opera, Uncovered, based on Lax's memoir Uncovered: How I Left Hasidic Life and Finally Came Home, was performed. Her latest commission, from the Hanson Institute for American Music at the Eastman School of Music and the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Leadership, will premiere in March 2017.


A magna cum laude Yale graduate with an MM from Yale’s School of Music, Laitman was featured on Thomas Hampson’s Song of America radio series and website and in The Grove Dictionary of American Music. For more information, please visit www.artsongs.com.


 

 

 

David Mason
photo by: Anne Lennox

 

Librettist DAVID MASON

David Mason’s books of poems include The Buried Houses (winner of the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize), The Country I Remember (winner of the Alice Fay Di Castagnola Award), and Arrivals. His verse novel, Ludlow, was published in 2007, and named best poetry book of the year by the Contemporary Poetry Review and the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. It was also featured on the PBS News Hour. Author of a collection of essays, The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry, his memoir, News from the Village, appeared in 2010. A new collection of essays, Two Minds of a Western Poet, followed in 2011. Mason has also co-edited several textbooks and anthologies, including Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry, Rebel Angels: 25 Poets of the New Formalism, Twentieth Century American Poetry, and Twentieth Century American Poetics: Poets on the Art of Poetry. His poetry, prose and translations have appeared in such periodicals as The New Yorker, Harper’s, The Nation, The New Republic, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Times Literary Supplement, Poetry, Agenda, Modern Poetry in Translation, The New Criterion, The Yale Review, The Hudson Review, The American Scholar, The Irish Times, and The Southern Review. Anthologies include Best American Poetry and others. He has also written the libretti for composer Lori Laitman’s opera of The Scarlet Letter and her oratorio, Vedem. He recently won the Thatcher Hoffman Smith Creativity in Motion Prize for the development of a new libretto based upon Ludlow. His one-act opera with composer Tom Cipullo, After Life, premiered in Seattle and San Francisco in 2015. A former Fulbright Fellow to Greece, he served as Poet Laureate of Colorado from 2010 to 2014, and teaches at Colorado College.

In 2014-15 Mason published two new poetry collections: Sea Salt: Poems of a Decade and Davey McGravy: Tales to Be Read Aloud to Children and Adult Children.