POTSDAM, NY – SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music will welcome the renowned composer Tom Cipullo to campus next week. Cipullo will be at Crane to work with students and faculty on the upcoming world premiere of his newest work, “Mayo,” which the composer has completed as the winner of the 2018 Domenic J. Pellicciotti Opera Composition Prize.
The Crane Opera Ensemble and Orchestra is set to premiere Cipullo’s new opera in November 2018, in a production directed by Dean Anthony. Based on a true story, “Mayo” follows the life of Mayo Buckner, who was committed to the Iowa Home for Feeble-Minded Children at the age of eight, and forged a life of quiet dignity and meaning while living there for the next 60 years.
Cipullo will spend the week attending opera rehearsals to work with the cast, which includes Crane School of Music alumna Lisa Vroman ’79, soprano, and guest artist Ben Edquist, baritone. Vroman, a renowned Broadway star and opera singer, will play the role of Miss Goodrich, while Edquist will play the title role.
Cipullo will lead an open masterclass focusing on his vocal works, with five groups of student singers and pianists, on Tuesday, Sept. 18 at 2 p.m., in the Sara M. Snell Music Theater.
The highlight of the visit will be a special faculty recital dedicated to Cipullo’s music, to be held on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m., also in Snell Theater. Cipullo and poet Robert Cole will be the honored guests for the performance.
The concert will be narrated by Dr. Erin Brooks, an assistant professor of music history. Crane vocal faculty will present selections from a number of song collections written by Cipullo, all of which are set to poetry, including pieces from “The Land of Nod,” “How to Get Heat Without Fire,” “Climbing,” “Late Summer,” “Of a Certain Age” and “Another Reason I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House.” They will also perform two arias from Cipullo’s opera, “Glory Denied,” and a piece from his 10-part song cycle for vocal quartet, “Insomnia.” The concert will also include the songs “A White Rose” and “Something About Autumn,” the latter of which is based on a poem by Cole.
The performers include Crane faculty members Margaret Chalker (soprano), Donald George (tenor), François Germain (piano), Nicholas Kilkenny (bass-baritone), Deborah Massell (soprano), Kathleen Miller (soprano), Kirk Severtson (piano), Colleen Skull (soprano), Lonel Woods (tenor) and Lorraine Yaros-Sullivan (mezzo-soprano).
This concert is free, and the public is invited to attend.
This concert will be broadcast live on the Crane School of Music YouTube channel at the performance time. To view the program and see other upcoming streaming performances, visit http://www.potsdam.edu/academics/Crane/streaming.
About the composer:
Tom Cipullo is the recipient of the 2018 Domenic J. Pellicciotti Opera Composition Prize, for which he received a $25,000 commission to complete his winning operatic work, as well as a full production to be presented by the award-winning Crane Opera Ensemble and Orchestra. The Pellicciotti Prize seeks to encourage and acknowledge the creation of new opera works that explore themes related to tolerance, inclusion or the celebration of diversity. The award is given every four years.
Hailed by the American Academy of Art and Letters for music of “inexhaustible imagination, wit, expressive range and originality,” Cipullo is also the winner of a 2012 Guggenheim Fellowship and the 2013 Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy. His music has been recorded on the Naxos, Albany, CRI, PGM, Centaur and Capstone labels, and is published by Oxford University Press and Classical Vocal Reprints. The Fort Worth Opera recording of his “Glory Denied” (Albany Records) was cited by Opera News as among the best of 2014. The New York Times has called his music “intriguing and unconventional.”
North Country Public Radio is the media sponsor for the world premiere performances of “Mayo,” to be presented from Nov. 8 to 11 at The Crane School of Music.
To learn more about the Pellicciotti Prize, visit http://www.potsdam.edu/pellicciotti.
About the Crane Opera Ensemble:
The award-winning Crane Opera Ensemble is a significant source for opera and music theatre in the North Country region of New York State. The ensemble provides exciting opportunities for students to experience all facets of opera performance and production, through rehearsals, coaching and classes related to performance practices and production techniques. The ensemble’s productions have garnered awards from the National Opera Association (2015, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2003), The American Prize (2011), and the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (2010).
About The Crane School of Music:
Founded in 1886, SUNY Potsdam’s Crane School of Music has a long legacy of excellence in music education and performance. Life at Crane includes an incredible array of more than 300 recitals, lectures and concerts presented by faculty, students and guests each year. The Crane School of Music is the State University of New York’s only All-Steinway institution. For more information, please visit http://www.potsdam.edu/crane.