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.
Board of Directors
James C. Horton
Aaron Siegel, Executive Director
Experiments in Opera co-founder Aaron Siegel is a composer, percussionist, organizer, and educator. His inquisitive and playful work represents a personal vision of how we live with and respond to the sounds in our world. He is a composer of music for the concert stage, the theater, video, and public art. His large body of work for mallet percussion instruments has been embraced by a wide range of ensembles and is performed on a regular basis throughout the United States.
In 2019, Siegel released ‘A Great Many’ on New Amsterdam Records, featuring Mantra Percussion and clarinetist Christa Van Alstine. They celebrated the release of this recording with a performance at National Sawdust in Brooklyn. In April 2019, Siegel will premiere five movements of a new oratorio I Will Tell You The Truth About This, I Will Tell You All About it, based on poems by U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith, at the Schomburg Center in Harlem. His contributions to the collaboratively-composed opera, Chunky in Heat, will be heard at the premiere in May 2019 at The Flea Theater, produced by Experiments in Opera.
Other recent work has included a performance of the opera in development, Rainbird, co-created with Mallory Catlett at Roulette in December 2017. In May 2017, his short opera The Wallet was premiered at Symphony Space as part of Experiments in Opera’s ‘Flash Operas’ program. With soprano Michele Kennedy he premiered Stay in the Sun, a song cycle based on the poems of Tess Taylor. Navajo Manner, sung by the baritone Dashon Burton received its premiere in June 2017.
In addition to his work as a composer of operas and innovative text pieces, he has performed extensively with Anthony Braxton and his improvised trio Memorize the Sky. He also performed with Robert Ashley in a revival of his seminal work ‘That Morning Thing’ at the Kitchen in New York City. Siegel is on the staff of the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall. He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.
For more information, visit aaronsiegel.net
Kamala Sankaram, Artistic Director
Praised as “strikingly original” (NY Times), and a “new voice from whom we will surely be hearing more” (LA Times), Kamala Sankaram has received commissions from Washington National Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Beth Morrison Projects, the PROTOTYPE Festival, Opera on Tap, Opera Memphis, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, among others. She is the recipient of a Jonathan Larson Award from the American Theater Wing, and has received grants from Opera America, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Kevin Spacey Foundation, and the MAP Fund. Residencies and fellowships include the MacDowell Colony, the Watermill Center, the Civilians, HERE Arts Center, CAP21, Con Edison/Exploring the Metropolis, the Hermitage, and American Lyric Theater. As a resident artist at HERE Arts Center, Kamala created MIRANDA, which was the winner of the New York Innovative Theatre Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical. THUMBPRINT, her second opera (written in collaboration with librettist Susan Yankowitz), premiered in the 2014 PROTOTYPE Festival, and was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition, Agence French Presse, and over 25 media outlets around the world. THUMBPRINT has since received productions at LA Opera and Opera Ithaca. She is currently working with Opera on Tap and librettist Jerre Dye on THE PARKSVILLE MURDERS, the first opera written for virtual reality. Episode 1 is now available on SamsungVR.
As a performer, Kamala Sankaram has been hailed as “an impassioned soprano with blazing high notes” (Wall Street Journal). She has performed and premiered pieces with Beth Morrison Projects, Anthony Braxton, and the Wooster Group, among others, and is the leader of Bombay Rickey, an operatic Bollywood surf ensemble whose debut was named Best Eclectic Album by the Independent Music Awards Vox Pop. Bombay Rickey’s opera-cabaret on the life of Yma Sumac premiered in the 2016 PROTOTYPE Festival and was most recently presented in London at Tête-à-Tête Opera’s Cubitt Sessions. Bombay Rickey has been selected for the 2017/18 season’s Mid-Atlantic Arts touring roster, and will release their sophomore album in the spring of 2018.
Dr. Sankaram holds a PhD from the New School and is currently a member of the composition faculty at SUNY Purchase.
For more information, visit kamalasankaram.com
Jason Cady, Artistic Director
Jason Cady composes music and writes stories for small-scale operas. He performs on pedal steel and modular synthesizer. Pitchfork called him a “mod-synth mastermind…funny and engaging.” The Wire described his one-act opera Post-Madonna Prima Donna as, “thoughtful satire, sharp composition.” Anthony Tommasini, in the New York Times, described his video opera, I Screwed Up the Future, as ”charming fantasy…drably comic and spacey.”
Cady’s CDs have been released on Lockstep Records and Peacock Recordings. The Brooklyn Arts Council, New Music USA, free103point9, The Casement Fund, Lighton International Artists Exchange, and the American Music Center have funded his projects. His music has been performed at Roulette, Issue Project Room, The Stone, (le) Poisson Rouge, Symphony Space, Merkin Hall, Tonic and many other venues in New York City and throughout the US from Arizona to Alaska. He has lectured on his music at New York University, New School University, Wesleyan University and Arizona State University. He has been interviewed on WBEZ, WNYC, WKCR, WPIR, KMFA and East Village Radio. NPR featured him in “The Mix: 100 Composers Under 40.”
Cady has an M.A. in composition from Wesleyan University, where he studied with Alvin Lucier and Anthony Braxton. He graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts and Performance from Arizona State University, where he studied composition with Richard Lerman, Harold Budd, and Daniel Lentz. He was born in Flint, Michigan and now lives in New York City. He is an enrolled member of the Sault Ste Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians.
For more information visit: jasoncadymusic.com