2020 MUSICAL AMERICA DIRECTORY 39
Year in music
King Lear Overture, commissioned by the New York Phil-
harmonic, opened that orchestra’s season.
GLOrY AND HONOr
Both the Pulitzer Prize and the Music Critics Prize
were awarded to Ellen Reid for her opera, Prism, which
uses sophisticated vocal writing and striking instrumental
timbres to confront effects of sexual and emotional abuse.
Its libretto is by Roxie Perkins, and it was commissioned
and produced by Beth Morrison
Projects in association with
Trinity Wall Street, and presented
with the Los Angeles Opera and
also the PROTOTYPE Festival.
The Grawemeyer Award
went to Nomaden, by Joel Bons,
for cello and chamber orchestra.
Soprano Lisette Oropesa
won both the Richard Tucker
and Beverly Sills awards, and
the George London Foundation
awarded its Kirsten Flagstad prize to
tenor Kyle van Schoonhoven. •
Leslie Kandell has contributed to
MusicalAmerica.com, the New
York Times, Opera News, Los
Angeles Times, Classical Voice
North America, American
Record Guide, Berkshire Eagle,
and other publications.
by Tom Stoppard, was completed by Previn’s colleagues
and put on with such luminaries as Renée Fleming and
Uma Thurman. (Otherwise it would not be mentioned.)
The Boston Symphony Orchestra produced a Kevin Puts
co-commission (with U. of Texas Austin, Colorado SO,
National SO, Eastman, and Naples Phil), The Brightness
of Light, about Georgia O’Keeffe’s romance with pho-tographer-husband Alfred Stieglitz. H. K. Gruber’s new
trumpet concerto was composed for Håkan Hagegård and
Music Director Andris Nelsons—both trumpet players,
except that Nelsons now conducts the orchestra and plays
trumpet only in private moments.
New oratorios included Dreamers by Jimmy Lopez,
with a “poetic and poignant” libretto by Nilo Cruz, led at
Berkeley by Esa-Pekka Salonen. It is about young undocumented immigrants whose right to remain in the U.S. is
being disputed. Another oratorio, introduced at the New
York Philharmonic, was Julia Wolfe’s Fire in my mouth,
about the deadly fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in
1911. This affecting work included photos used as videos
and voices of the Young People’s Chorus of New York City,
whose members wore aprons and snapped scissors.
AGENCY, David T. Little’s “brooding, politically
charged” chamber piece, introduced by the American
Contemporary Music Ensemble at Columbia University’s
Miller Theater, was, typically, not easy to absorb, but a
composer talk helped.
Three years after the death of David Bowie, John Adams
conducted the premiere of Philip Glass’s Symphony No.
12, “Lodger,” inspired by Bowie’s 1979 collaboration with
Brian Eno, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. Glass’s
Soprano Lisette Oropesa,
winner of the richard
Tucker and Beverly
Sills awards, as Norina
production of Donizetti’s
Don Pasquale, July 2017.
Photo: © Bill Cooper.