American Lyric Theater. Announces $150,000 Grant

From The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

To Support Mentorship of Opera Composers and Librettists

8 New Resident Artists Invited to Join the Composer Librettist Development Program

Season Opening Event September 18, 2013 at the National Opera Center in New York City

New York, NY – Lawrence Edelson, Producing Artistic Director of American Lyric Theater (ALT), announced today that the company has been awarded a $150,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support capacity building and the national expansion of the company’s Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP), the only full-time professional mentorship initiative for emerging operatic writers in the country.

The new grant will allow ALT to expand the CLDP from a 10-month program offered annually, to a comprehensive three-year artist mentorship cycle through which artists will not only receive personalized mentorship, but also be commissioned to write new operas. In addition, newly acquired HD videoconferencing equipment will increase the geographic scope of the program, allowing gifted emerging artists with an interest in writing for the opera stage to participate regardless of where they live. Previously, the CLDP was only able to serve artists living in the metropolitan New York City area.  8 new Resident Artists have been selected to join the CLDP beginning in September, selected from a national pool of applicants: 4 from the New York City area and 4 from cities across the nation.

The 8 new Residents Artists who have been invited to join the CLDP this season are composers Clarice Assad (New York, NY), Elizabeth Lim (New York, NY), Evan Meier (Silver Spring, MD), and Kamala Sankaram (Brooklyn, NY); and librettists Rob Handel (Pittsburgh, PA), EM Lewis (Woodburn, OR), Jerome Parker (New York, NY), and Niloufar Talebi (San Francisco, CA). Biographies of the new Resident Artists can be found at:

The new Resident Artists will be introduced to the public during a salon featuring their work at the National Opera Center, located at 330 7th Avenue in New York City, on Wednesday, September 18, 2013. . .  The evening will begin at 7:00 pm with a wine a cheese reception and an opportunity for the public to meet the artists, followed at 7:30 pm by a short performance.

Mr. Edelson stated, “This generous grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will enable ALT to significantly deepen its commitment to gifted emerging operatic writers on a national level. This incredible vote of confidence from the Mellon Foundation is a great honor, and is a testament not only to the importance of the CLDP as a professional mentorship initiative, but also to the contribution that alumni of the program are making at opera companies across the country.”

Founded in 2007, the CLDP is a tuition-free program that includes a core curriculum of classroom training and hands-on workshops with some of the country’s leading working artists and has been regularly recognized for artistic excellence by the National Endowment for the Arts. The principal faculty for the 2013-2014 CLDP includes composer/librettist Mark Adamo, composer Paul Moravec, librettists Mark Campbell and Michael Korie, stage directors Lawrence Edelson and Rhoda Levine, and dramaturg Cori Ellison. Recent guest teachers and lecturers have included composers Kaija Saariaho, Anthony Davis, Ricky Ian Gordon, Nico Muhly, Stewart Wallace, Christopher Theofanidis, and John Musto, and librettists Stephen Karam, Donna DiNovelli, and Gene Scheer. Biographies of ALT’s mentorship team and faculty may be found at:

In addition to ongoing classes and workshops, composers and librettists in the program have the opportunity to take part in residency observerships at The Metropolitan Opera. Additional. networking and membership resources are provided through ALT’s partnership with OPERA America.

Marc Scorca, President and CEO of OPERA America, has said of the CLDP, “ALT’s Composer Librettist Development Program has been an important contributing force to the flow of new American operas in recent years. Outstanding works and strong new relationships among artists and producers have resulted from Edelson’s visionary leadership of American Lyric Theater. I look forward to the expanded, national impact of this program.”.  To date, the CLDP has provided intensive mentorship to 30 gifted emerging artists, and 11 short chamber operas have been developed under the auspices of the program. Operas developed through the CLDP and by CLDP alumni have been presented by a wide variety of companies, including Tulsa Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Urban Arias, Center City Opera, San Francisco Conservatory, New York City Opera VOX, and Beth Morrison Projects.


American Lyric Theater (ALT) was founded in 2005 to build a new body of operatic repertoire for new audiences by nurturing composers and librettists, developing sustainable artistic collaborations, and contributing new works to the national canon. ALT is not an opera company by the traditional definition. Many opera companies commission and perform new works; but ALT is the only company in the United States that offers extensive, full-time mentorship for emerging operatic writers. While the traditional company model focuses on producing a season, ALT’s focus is on serving the needs of composers and librettists, developing new works, and collaborating with larger producing companies to help usher those works into the repertoire. In 2012, ALT was the first company dedicated to artist mentorship rather than operatic production to be recognized by OPERA America as a Professional Company Member – a testament to ALT’s service to the field.

For additional information about ALT, please visit

In addition to The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Composer Librettist Development Program is made possible by generous support from The National Endowment for the Arts, OPERA America/The Opera Fund, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, The New York State Council on the Arts, The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, The Amphion Foundation, and The Dorothy Loudon Foundation.

For more information, please contact:

Laura Grant, Grant Communications

978.208.0552; 212.600.0649; 917.359.7319