OPERA LAB CALL FOR SCORES WINNERS
Ramin Akhavijou - Composer
Iranian composer, Ramin Akhavijou, graduated from the Art University of Tehran with a Master’s degree in Music Composition and later moved to the United States in 2017 to continue his studies at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) where he received his second Master’s degree in Music Composition. He is currently a Ph.D. student in Music Composition and Theory at the University of Pittsburgh where his focus is “Music Perception” and its relation to his compositions. His principal teachers have been Reza Vali, Leonardo Balada, Eric Moe, Mathew Rosenblum, Jesse Stiles, and Amy Williams. The dialectic interrelation between sounds has always been one of his main concerns and motivators for his compositional work and research. He is scientifically investigating this interrelation through various interdisciplinary projects. His passion for science and technology have led him to take diverse compositional paths that are reflected in his wide range of compositions. His opera “languagemachine” was produced by the Pittsburgh Opera Company and performed by the CMU New Music Ensemble in April 2019.
Akhavijou’s works have been performed in many countries by different soloists, ensembles, and orchestras and, he has received numerous honors, prizes, and commissions. He is one of the directors of CFIM (Center For Iranian Music) at Carnegie Mellon University and currently writing his second opera. Find him at http://akhavijou.com
Brandy N. Carie - Librettist
Brandy N. Carie is a writer and director based in LA but originally from Minnesota, whose work explores gender, Americana, and apocalypse. Carie is a winner of the SLOAN/CMU Screenwriting Competition, the Kennedy Center ACTF Harold & Mimi Steinberg Playwriting Award, and a finalist for the Princess Grace award. She has received residencies at SPACE on Ryder Farm, the Edward Albee Foundation, and the National Winter Playwrights Retreat. Theatres that have supported Carie's work include Barter Theatre, Mildred's Umbrella Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, The Kennedy Center, Northlight Theatre, and Pittsburgh's City Theatre. Directing credits include the world premiere of the opera Languagemachine by Lauren D’Errico and Ramin Akhavijou, and the devised internet-adjacent house party/performance Spitshow, with Houston’s Collective 48. Carie earned her MFA in Dramatic Writing from Carnegie Mellon University, and is currently developing her Bunker Cycle, a 7-play series about doomsday and American survivalism. Find her at www.brandyncarie.com.
2022 SEASON OPERA LAB FINALISTS
Weathering the Storm
A work presented in vignettes, centered around the Climate Crisis.
Lauren McCall - Composer
Lauren McCall is a composer and music educator from Atlanta, Georgia. She studied for her master’s degree in music composition at the Vermont College of Fine Arts, and she is a Ph.D. student studying music technology at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Lauren has had compositions performed around North America and in Europe. This includes her piece for piano, Shake the Earth, which was performed in Morehead, Kentucky, at Morehead State University’s Contemporary Piano Festival, along with being performed in Eugene, Oregon, at the Oregon Bach Festival Composers’ Symposium. Lauren actively writes music compositions for chamber ensembles, electronics, vocalists and opera. She recently was a composer in residence for All Classical Portland’s Recording Inclusivity Initiative, and she currently is taking part in the Flute New Music Consortium Composer Mentorship Program. Lauren has actively participated in
Really Spicy Opera’s Aria Institutes including their mezzo soprano, soprano, and duet and trio institutes. She has also participated in the Atlanta Opera’s 24 hour Opera Project. Along with composing, Lauren enjoys playing classical music and jazz on the clarinet and piano, nature, spending time with family and friends, and traveling. www.laurencmccall.com
Caroline Cao - Librettist
Caroline Cao is a native of Houston, Texas and resident of New York City. She is a proud alumni of Really Spicy Opera, from the Soprano, Duet/Trio, and Libretto Editions and has penned performed arias and duets. Her most recent aria contribution is “I Will Taste Salt to See You
Again,” a collaboration with composer Qianni Lin for the 2021 Boston Composers’ Lab. She is currently penning a libretto for an opera about the first Vietnamese American woman US president. Her play “The Buddhist Darkhorse” was produced at the 2018 Future is Female Festival in Houston. She produced her play “Matriarch, Mother, and Maiden” for the 2018 New York New Work Festival. A play version of her 10-minute opera “Demon Princess” was performed at the 2019 Tribeca Writers & Performers. Her wit can be found on Polygon, SlashFilm, Den of Geek, Birth Movies Death, Bitch Magazine, and more. She is also a screenwriter, playwright, poet, and Star Wars fanfic writer. She received her Master in Fine Arts - Creative Writing Nonfiction at The New School in 2019. Her hobbies include experimenting with ramen noodles.
The Garden of Eve
A young girl growing up in a devoutly Christian household struggles with her sexuality, pitted against her family.
Vivek Haria - Composer
Vivek Haria is a British Indian composer currently studying at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. It was his formal studies as a singer at the Royal College of Music Junior Department that initially awakened an interest in writing music for choirs and vocal ensembles. This quickly developed into a passion throughout his time at University, where he has been able to research and imbue musical elements familiar to his cultural heritage, the Hindustani Classical tradition, within his idiom as well as expand his repertoire to include solo, chamber and orchestral works. Most recently, Vivek has created a chamber opera scene in association with Guildhall School of Music & Drama Opera Department. His works have been performed across the country as well as the United States. Vivek has received consultations from renowned composers including Mark Anthony Turnage, Robin Holloway, Michael Finnissy and Stephen McNeff. He is currently mentored by Richard Causton and Raymond Yiu.
In lieu of artist websites for each artist, you may listen to the team's prior chamber opera, Adrift (2020).
Helena McBurney - Librettist
Helena McBurney grew up in Chicago where her love of opera was cemented at the age of nine by regularly performing as a supernumerary at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. At the age of 11, she wrote the script for composer Anna Clyne’s 2011 ‘The Spangled Unicorn’. Since then, writing has been an intrinsic part of her life; she was shortlisted for the Christopher Tower Poetry Competition in 2016; highly commended in Foyle’s Young Poet of the Year Award in 2016; and wrote the script for Trevor Pinnock’s 2020 concert performance of ‘Dido and Aeneas’. Whilst at the University of Cambridge reading English literature, she founded the Newnham College Poetry Society (a creative writing discussion group for female and non-binary writers) and was published in the Newnham Anthology writing about casual sexism. Music remained an important staple of her life as a choral scholar for Peterhouse College and through her involvement with the Cambridge University Opera Society where she met Vivek Haria, with whom she wrote her first libretto ‘Adrift’ in 2019. As a lesbian and feminist, it is important for her that her work primarily reflect love and drama between women.
Music: David Matthew Brown, Libretto: Alize Francheska Rozsnyai
A budding relationship is ruined by a couple's addiction and distraction via their smartphones.
Premiere: As part of the Operatic Addictions double-bill, Philadelphia Fringe Festival 2019
David Matthew Brown - Composer
An active and ardent performer of both ‘classical’ music and traditional style Celtic music, violinist-composer David Matthew Brown merges passion with ingenuity. He has performed as a soloist with the Csik Chamber Orchestra (Romania) – with which he was also guest concertmaster, the Vidin Sinfonietta (Bulgaria), the Newark and University of Delaware Symphony Orchestras as the winner of each respective concerto competition, and the West Chester University Chamber Orchestra. His compositions have been commissioned and/or performed by such institutions and ensembles as the New Russia State Symphony Orchestra, International Opera Theater, Philadelphia’s Network for New Music, NYC’s LINK Ensemble, the 6ixwire Project, Csik Chamber Orchestra, and the Vidin Sinfonietta. David’s teachers include Charles Ponall, Sylvia Ahramjian, and Xiang Gao.
David is a conductor, tuba player, mandolinist, and has composed over fifty Celtic jigs, reels, hornpipes, and other dance forms. He is the orchestra director at Merion Mercy Academy, and the head of strength training at The Sporting Club Main Line, both on Philadelphia’s Main Line. https://soundcloud.com/david-matthew-brown