Fresno grand opera and Fresno State announce new partnership

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Fresno grand opera and Fresno State announce new partnership

Fresno Grand Opera and Fresno State have formed a new partnership with the local poetry community that will pair local poets with composers to get engaged in the creative experience of writing vocal music for Fresno Grand Opera.

This new partnership kicks off with the concert event “Opera Remix: Music and Verse” at the Tower Theatre on Friday, October 16. Led by local poets Brian Medina and Michael Medrano, poets will give performances of original works of poetry alongside a performance of a chamber opera titled “Hydrogen Jukebox.” The chamber opera was the only collaboration between renowned American beat poet Allen Ginsberg and the prominent American composer Philip Glass.

Participating poets and composers will take part in several workshops by prominent opera composers and librettists from around the country currently working with Fresno Grand Opera. The composition process will be overseen by faculty at Fresno State, who will guide the young composers as they write new vocal music set to texts written by local poets. Student singers from the Fresno State department of music will workshop these new pieces of music as they are being composed, giving the composers and poets immediate feedback on their work.

“This is an innovative one-of-a-kind program for the Fresno State Music Composition program to work alongside Fresno Grand Opera and local poets in this manner,” said Dr. Kenneth Froelich, Fresno State professor of composition. “It is quite rare for a local opera company to partner with student composers.  We at Fresno State are thrilled for the opportunity to share our work with the community.”

Dr. Anthony Radford, professor of voice and opera at Fresno State, said this partnership will help prepare students for life after school. “To be able to collaborate with local artists, as well as create and perform music with colleagues, is an experience that these students will never forget. And it will prepare them for a musical, theatrical and operatic world which increasingly is reliant on the creativity and ingenuity of youth.”

The new works created by local poets and composers will be performed at a Fresno Grand Opera concert event in October 2016 at the Tower Theatre.

According to Matthew Buckman, general director of Fresno Grand Opera, “our goal over the next few seasons is to reconnect opera with our contemporary culture and begin to build a long-term place for opera in our community. I can think of no better way to accomplish this goal than to engage the young musicians and poets in our community in the creative process, and to build interest in the art form by creating opportunities for young people in our community to get hands-on experiences with opera.”

For more information, contact Buckman at 559.442.5699 or mbuckman@fresnograndopera.org.