Opera Philadelphia Names New Composer in Residence

By David Salazar
Courtney Bryan has been named the Composer in Residence of Opera Philadelphia.

Bryan, the Albert and Linda Mintz Professor of Music at Newcomb College in the School of Liberal Arts at Tulane University and a Creative Partner with the Louisiana Philharmonic, previously created “Blessed,” one of the four digital commissions that Opera Philadelphia Channel released in 2021.

“I am thrilled to join as Composer in Residence with the dynamic and future-facing Opera Philadelphia,” Bryan said in an official press statement. “It is an honor to join the distinguished list of composers who have come through this program, and I look forward to the journey. Since I was in high school, I envisioned myself writing opera. As a composer and collaborator, I love to engage with narrative, history, emotion, and spirit. There are stories and sounds that I am excited to share. During my residency, I look forward to studying the practice of writing opera and to discovering what it inspires me to create.”

Bryan, a recipient of the 2018 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, is a Doctor of Musical Arts from Colombia University who also received degrees from Oberlin Conservatory (Bachelor of Music) and Rutgers University (Masters of Music) and also concluded postdoctoral studies in the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University. She is also the recipient of a 2018 Hermitage Fellow, a 2019-20 recipient of the Samuel Barber Rome Prize in Music Composition, and a 2020 United States Artists Fellow.

“Courtney is a multidimensional force with inspirational depth, spirituality, and individuality,” said Sarah Williams, Opera Philadelphia’s Director of New Works and Creative Producer. “She extends a bold and conscious artistic expression, carving out a distinguished and touching creativity that is desperately needed. I’m looking forward to digging in with Courtney and supporting her journey in opera. Our industry will be all the better for her exploration and voice in opera.”

Composers in Residence are given individualized creative development such as detail work with singers and working with the company as they explore and create opera. Past incumbents of the position include Missy Mazzoli and Tyshawn Sorey.

The Composer in Residence Program is sponsored by the Mellon Foundation.

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