Experiments in Opera is an artist-led non-profit opera company that opens up the boundaries of opera by supporting and guiding an inclusive group of artists, musicians, composers, and librettists to expand their craft. Our company positions new operas in a context shaped by our artist leaders and their work.
Experiments in Opera is focused on re-writing the story of opera. We believe that new operas can be adventurous and fun, focused on strong and intimate storytelling, while also challenging notions of what experimental music can be. EiO invites composers, directors, designers and performers to create new work that embraces unconventional mediums, a range of durations and production scales, and explores collaboration between all types of artists working to share their visions. We bring new operas to the stage as quickly as we can, marking the urgency of artists with something important to say and the desire of audiences to be a part of the excitement of risky and rewarding work.
We believe composers are the visionaries of 21st Century opera, and define opera as the activity of telling stories through music. We support artists with unusual stories to tell, and embrace the diversity of their life and musical experiences. Our core programming addresses three areas of activities:
- EiO supports composers through development workshops and performance opportunities driven by the composers’ ideas and direction.
- EiO builds community through meaningful partnerships with ensembles, media outlets and presenting organizations.
- EiO helps to share new operas developed through its programs with a broader audience through advocacy efforts including video materials, contextual writings and robust public programs.
Co-Founded in Brooklyn in 2010 by composers Aaron Siegel, Matthew Welch and Jason Cady, Experiments in Opera has commissioned 93 new works in ten years, from 62 composers collaborating with over five hundred performers, designers and directors from the New York City artists community. During that time we have produced events at Roulette, National Sawdust and Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, as well as at The Flea Theater, Symphony Space, Merkin Concert Hall, The Stone, Le Poisson Rouge, Anthology Film Archives and Abrons Arts Center in Manhattan. In fall 2018, Kamala Sankaram joined EiO as co-artistic director.
Experiments in Opera has presented the work of 55 composers since our first presentation including Jason Cady, Aaron Siegel, Matthew Welch, Kamala Sankaram, Tariq Al-Sabir, Georges Aperghis, Robert Ashley, Clarice Assad, Roddy Bottom, Gelsey Bell, Andrew Raffo Dewar, Joe Diebes, Natacha Diels, Melissa Dunphy, Lainie Fefferman, Miguel Frasconi, Anne Guthrie, James Ilgenfritz, Paul Kerekes, Pauline Kim Harris, John King, Phil Kline, Daniel Kushner, Ruby Fulton, Gabrielle Herbst, Nick Hallett, Travis Just, Mary Kouyoumdjian, Joan La Barbara, Lukas Ligeti, Charlie Looker, Cristina Lord, Emily Manzo, Paula Matthusen, Anna Mikailhova, Jonathan Mitchell, Nicole Murphy, Jascha Narveson, Pauline Oliveros, Jessica Pavone, Paul Pinto, Erin Rogers, Dave Ruder, Elliott Sharp, Alex Temple, JG Thirlwell, Justin Tierney, Leaha Maria Villarreal, Dorian Wallace, Shelley Washington, Michi Wiancko, Katie Young, John Zorn and the Cough Button collective.
We take seriously our role as an organizer of artist and audience communities. To support our composers’ visions and to make the most of our audiences’ connections with our work, we prioritize sharing in-depth interviews with our artists and video documentation of all of our work in our online media library at experimentsinopera.com. These insightful looks into the origins of artists’ ideas and their working habits help to support EIO’s mission of building a more robust conversation about how and why opera works the way it does.