We have recently converted to an online application process. The application form, references, and support materials must be submitted through this online system – no mailed or hand delivered applications will be accepted.

Applications are welcome from any emerging composer or librettist who is a U.S. Citizen or legal resident. Artists may apply individually to the program or as a member of a writing team.

ALT defines an emerging opera Composer or Librettist as someone who has acquired significant skills as a composer and/or librettist (or playwright) through academic study, practice, and professional experience; who demonstrates a unique and important musical and/or theatrical perspective that could benefit from intense mentorship as part of the CLDP; and who has not yet had a work commissioned or performed by a professional opera company in the United States (ie. you have not been paid by an OPERA America professional producing company to write a new opera, or an opera you have written has not been licensed for fully staged performance by an OPERA America professional producing company). Your work in other genres may have been performed professionally, as ALT’s definition of emerging applies specifically to an artist’s development as a writer for the opera stage. Students of degree granting institutions are not eligible for consideration, however exceptions may be made for doctoral students who are in the process of completing their dissertations. (Students who will be engaged in an ongoing course of classroom study during the 2013-2014 season should not apply to this program. Students graduating in the spring or summer of 2013 are welcome to apply.) There are no age restrictions for participation.

The 2013-14 CLDP will run from September 15, 2013 to June 18, 2014. All artists accepted into the program will be required to be in New York City for two weeks during the program (September 15-22, 2013 and June 11-18, 2014). For those artists who do not live in the metropolitan New York City area, ALT will provide transportation and housing. Through the use of advanced HD teleconferencing technology, artists will be able to fully participate in the remainder of the program, including all classes, workshops and rehearsals, in person or remotely.

For more information on the CLDP, click HERE!

Before starting your application, we recommend you review the questions we ask as part of the application, as well as the reference and work sample requirements:


Primary Information

  1. Full Name
  2. Address
  3. City
  4. State
  5. Zip Code
  6. Primary Phone Number
  7. Secondary Phone Number
  8. Are you an American Citizen?
  9. If you are not an American Citizen, what is your status in the United States? If you have a visa, please your visa type and its expiration date.
  10. Date of Birth (for statistical purposes)
  11. Ethnicity (for statistical purposes)

Artist Information

  1. Are you applying to the CLDP as a composer, librettist or composer/librettist?
  2. Are you applying to the CLDP as part of a writing team?
  3. If you are applying as part of a writing team, who is your writing partner?
  4. If you are accepted into the CLDP and your writing partner is not accepted, do you still wish to be considered as an individual applicant?
  5. How did you hear about the CLDP?
  6. Are you interested in developing your work in English, Spanish or both English and Spanish?
  7. Please confirm your ability to live in the metropolitan New York City area for the period between September 2011 and June 2012.
  8. Do you have any personal or professional commitments that would prevent you from fully participating in the CLDP?
  9. Please list any conflict(s) that you cannot reschedule that could impact your ability to fully participate in the CLDP. Classes and Workshops take place on MONDAY and WEDNESDAY evenings.

Interview Questions

Please Note: There is a 1500 character limit for each of these questions. You must answer each question. You may want to prepare your answers in a word processing program first and use word-count to ensure that your answers fits within the required character limit.

  1. Historically, what do you think opera has been as a form: musically, dramatically, and as an idea?
  2. What do you think opera is now, in the 21st Century, in the United States?
  3. What do you think opera could or should be for contemporary American audiences?
  4. What type of piece would you write to make your case for your answer to question number 3, above? (please don’t pitch an existing piece you’ve written – rather we are interested in what speaks to you as an artist as it relates to your feelings for the potential of the operatic form in the 21st century.)
  5. What do you think your weaknesses are as a composer or librettist? How would you like the CLDP to address those issues?
  6. What do you think it is to collaborate? What do you think makes a strong collaborative relationship?
  7. Please tell us about previous collaborations that you have had that have been particularly rewarding, or particularly challenging. How did you approach the collaboration to affect the outcome?


American Lyric Theater requires two references from all applicants to the Composer Librettist Development Program. One reference should be from a professional in your field who can speak to your unique qualities as an artist, and potential to contribute to the operatic repertoire. Your second reference should be from another artist with whom you have worked in the past who can address questions about your working style and collaborative skills. Your references do not need to be from the opera field. They should be very familiar both with your work, and the way you work. ALL REFERENCES MUST BE SUBMITTED BY APRIL 10, 2013 OR YOUR APPLICATION WILL NOT BE REVIEWED. References should NOT be emailed to ALT. Your references should email a PDF or Word Document Letter of Reference directly to Please make sure that the subject of the email is your full name. 


Your work samples are a vital part of the application. The online system only accepts PDFs and MP3 files. You must submit your written samples as PDFs, and your audio samples as MP3s.

All applicants must upload the following:
  1. A PDF of your CV or RESUME including detail of their academic study and professional experience. (Please Title: LASTNAME RESUME)
  2. A separate PDF listing your works performed in the past year, including titles, dates, venues, and whether the presenter is a professional company, school, or community organization. (Please Title: LASTNAME WORKSLIST)
  3. COMPOSERS: In MP3 format, 3 contrasting compositions or excerpts from compositions that, combined, total no more then 20 minutes. At least one piece must include writing for solo voice, and one piece must demonstrate your orchestration skill. If longer samples are submitted, we will only listen to a short excerpt from the beginning of each sample unless specific instructions are included as to where in each sample we should begin. You must also upload a separate PDF file of the score for each of your three MP3s. As may be necessary for clarity, please indicate where in your scores your recorded excerpts begin, and/or where you wish us to begin listening (both page numbers in the score, and timing in the MP3s).
  4. LIBRETTISTS: In PDF format, please submit 2 contrasting works. Works need not be opera libretti but should ideally reflect your dramatic writing skills. Each work sample should between 10 and 25 pages. If. longer samples are submitted, we will start reading at the first page and only read the first 10 pages unless specific pages are indicated.

If you are applying as both a composer and librettist, you must submit the work samples required for both composers and librettists.

Please note:. There is a $20 application fee for the CLDP. Artists who are unable to pay the application fee due to financial hardship may request a waiver of this fee via our contact page.


Applications go through three rounds of evaluation:

1. ALT’s Producing Artistic Director conducts a pre-screening round during which applications are reviewed to determine which applicants truly fit ALT’s definition of an emerging artist. Following this pre-screening, the required written, recorded, and score submissions are evaluated. Preliminary evaluations seek to determine which applicants demonstrate a unique artistic voice, strong theatrical inclinations, true desire to write for the opera stage, and potential for professional development.

2. Applications that pass the first round of screening are then reviewed separately by select members of the CLDP FacultyandArtistic Mentorship Team. Evaluators are asked to provide detailed feedback on work samples submitted by each artists, and to assess each artist on the following factors:
  • Skill / Craft (composer and librettist)
  • Uniqueness of Perspective (composer and librettist)
  • Theatrical Inclination (composer and librettist)
  • Ability to Write for the Voice / Setting Text (composer)
  • Orchestration Skill (composer)
  • Use of Language (librettist)
  • Narrative Ability (librettist)

3. Based on the second round evaluations, final selection of program participants is determined collectively by the Producing Artistic Director and ALT’s faculty evaluators. In this third round, each finalist is also interviewed to determine the extent of their commitment to the program, and genuine interest in writing for the opera stage.

After a full-year of participation in the CLDP, select artists are invited to return to the program to develop operas for potential future production. These artists are selected by ALT’s Producing Artistic Director, in consultation with the CLDP faculty mentors, on the basis of their work completed during the first year of the program.

The number of new and returning artists fluctuates each season. This fluctuation is based on the caliber of new applicants, ALT’s interest in developing specific new works by returning artists, and the degree of funding secured. We anticipate accepting up to 4 composers and 4 librettists to join the CLDP as first year artists for the 2013-14 season.

Please do not call or email ALT’s office for an update on your application. All artists will be notified of the outcome of their application no later than May 30th, 2013.