Monday, April 5, 2021

American Lyric Theater Announces Expansion of the Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP) to Address Issues of Access and Equity

 2021-22 Program Open to Artists Across the Country
Program to be Delivered through a Combination of Virtual Workshops and In-Person Residencies in New York City with Travel and Housing Provided
Each Artist Accepted into the Program to Receive a $20,000 Stipend
Applications Open Now Through April 30, 2021

NEW YORK, NY – March 18, 2021 – Today, American Lyric Theater (ALT) announced significant changes to its flagship Composer Librettist Development Program (CLDP), the only full-time, multi-year professional mentorship initiative for opera composers, librettists and dramaturgs in the country. The application period for the 2021-22 season of the CLDP is now open, with applications being accepted online through April 30th.  Three composers and three librettists will be accepted to the new cycle of the CLDP, which begins in September 2021. There is no fee to apply for the program.  Accepted artists will be announced in June.
Through the CLDP, ALT offers a unique combination of training and direct financial support as artists develop their unique voices as writers for the opera stage. To increase access to the program for artists from across the country, ALT will be offering the CLDP this season through a combination of virtual classes and workshops, and four in-person residency periods in New York City for which ALT will provide travel and housing. In addition, to further address issues of racial equity and access, ALT will provide a $20,000 stipend to each artist accepted into the program to assist with their expenses during the 2021-22 season; and all artists who complete the first year of the CLDP core-curriculum will be commissioned by ALT to write an opera under the auspices of the program, with increased commission fees paid to each artist as their works are developed in partnerships between ALT and other opera companies across the country. Application information and additional details about the CLDP may be found at
The CLDP embraces musical storytellers from diverse backgrounds and features a unique curriculum of classroom training and hands-on workshops with some of the country’s leading working artists. Under the direction of ALT’s Founder and stage director Lawrence Edelson and recently appointed Associate Artistic Director and conductor Kelly Kuo, principal faculty mentors for the new cycle of the CLDP, will include Edelson and Kuo, as well as composer/librettist Mark Adamo, librettist Mark Campbell, composer Anthony Davis, dramaturg Cori Ellison, and a host of internationally acclaimed guest artists.  
As a part of the company’s ongoing commitment to building a new body of operatic repertoire that reflects the racial diversity of contemporary American society, ALT is particularly invested in fostering talented artists whose perspective has been historically underrepresented in opera. To codify and continue that commitment, American Lyric Theater this year launched the Opera Writers Diversity and Representation Initiative (OWDARI), a strategic framework adopted by ALT to address racial justice in its contributions to the opera field and increase participation by artists of diverse racial and artistic backgrounds in the CLDP.
“It is essential that we provide a platform for BIPOC artists to create new works and help them tell stories that are meaningful to them,” says composer Jorge Sosa, a CLDP Alum, OWDARI Advisory Council Member, and 2021 CLDP Guest Lecturer. “Relevance in the arts will be directly linked to diversity and equity in years to come. It is an exciting time for the art form as it expands its color palette. The CLDP provides not only training but a meeting place for artists that share the same goals. It has provided me with great opportunities, contacts, and access to collaborators who have in many cases become lifelong artistic partners.”
Addressing the changes to the CLDP this season, ALT’s Founder, Artistic and General Director Lawrence Edelson explains that “the OWDARI was the catalyst for us creating our free online Opera Writers Symposium this winter, and the response to that program has been overwhelming. Over 400 composers and librettists from across the country have participated in these seminars to date, making it clear to us that there are not only writers from diverse backgrounds living coast to coast who are interested in opera as a way to tell their stories through music, but also a real hunger for what we offer at ALT. We decided to adapt the CLDP into a hybrid program for the upcoming season – combining online classes and workshops with in-person residency periods in New York City –  to open up this opportunity for artists regardless of where they live.”
“The increased stipend this season is another concrete action we have taken to increase access to the program,” added Associate Artistic Director Kelly Kuo. “The CLDP is a significant time commitment, and meaningful financial support makes it possible for artists to dedicate more time to their writing and their art.”
For those considering applying to the CLDP or interested in learning more about writing for the opera stage, registration is still available for ALT’s free, CLDP Opera Writers Symposium open now through April 24. Upcoming Symposium seminars include Opera, Technology and Innovation, led by composers Kamala Sankaram and Jorge Sosa; From Erased to Self-Empowered: Celebrating BIPOC Opera Composers and Librettists led by Kelly Kuo; How to Have a Happy Marriage: Collaboration Best Practices, led by Lawrence Edelson and Cori Ellison; and Writing Opera and the Law, led by entertainment lawyer James Kendrick.  Upcoming speakers during the symposium include CLDP guest faculty including composers Missy Mazzoli, Daniel Bernard Roumain, Huang Ruo and Errollyn Wallen; and librettists Stephanie Fleischmann, David Henry Hwang, Andrea Davis Pinkney, and Royce Vavrek
The Composer Librettist Development Program at American Lyric Theater is made possible with generous leadership support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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