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
Aaron Siegel has worked as a musician, composer, organizer and educator for 25 years in New York City. In his world, there is little distinction between the activities of producing, writing, performing, listening, and learning. Celebrated as a composer of works for percussion (“hypnotic clouds of chiming tones” – The New Yorker) and the stage (“softly shattering” – NY Times), Siegel has a long history as an improvising percussionist and bandleader. Since 2011, Siegel has co-led the radical opera collective Experiments in Opera (“Raw, funny, surreal, and disarmingly human”- Opera News), helping to bring to the stage countless works by composers and writers and expanding the boundaries of musical storytelling. Always happy to explore in community with others, Siegel has created work with A.M. Homes, Mallory Catlett, Tracy K. Smith, Mantra Percussion, Anthony Braxton, Memorize the Sky, Anthony Roth Costanzo and the EiO Writers Room among others.
Siegel’s work has been performed at venues and festivals around the world and been featured on recordings for New Amsterdam Records, Gold Bolus Records, Peacock Recordings, Clean Feed Records, Broken Research, and Lockstep Records. He has been recognized with awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Art, Chamber Music America, the New York State Council for the Arts, New Music USA, Opera America, the Jerome Foundation, and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music among others. For more information, visit aaronsiegel.net
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
Kamala Sankaram, Artistic Advisor
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
Shannon Sindelar, Managing Director
Shannon Sindelar is a New York-based director and producer who works on classic and contemporary plays as well as compositionally, using a wide range of form and drawing on elements from sound, literature and media.
She was the co-Artistic Director of the cross-media performance group 31 Down, and for five years directed the company’s original productions, includingHere at Home (Bushwick Starr), Red Over Red (Incubator Arts Project), The Assember Dilator (PS 122), I Used to be Curious (LOUD) (Prelude Festival), Universal Robots (Ontological) and The Scream Contest (PS 122/Seattle’s Bumbershoot/Orange County Arts).
For three years, she was the producing artistic director of the Brooklyn-based company Brave New World Repertory Theatre, where she directed the world premiere of RN Healey’s NUN$ and a spare, environmentally-specific production of Shaw’s Major Barbara in a church. Highlights of her time there included the New York premiere of Gertrude Stein’s 100-year-old Pink Melon Joy and Elmer Rice’s Street Scene, where the company closed off a Brooklyn street, using the façade of a tenement building and surrounding street to stage the work, free to the public.
She produced the New York premiere of David Adjmi’s Marie Antoinette, directed by Rebecca Taichman (Soho Rep), and served as literary manager for Manhattan Ensemble Theatre. She is currently part of a team of curators that programs the Obie-winning Little Theatre at NYC’s Dixon Place, a monthly performance series of new theatre, dance, performance and media, now in its 20th year. Shannon was a John Wells Directing Fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, where she received her MFA.
For more information, visit shannonsindelar.com