Named after the Mt. Kisco home that Samuel Barber shared with fellow composer Gian Carlo Menotti - a popular gathering place for great composers and musicians of their time - Capricorn Conversations engages with composers who crossed paths with that time and place, and who continue to write and perform music in that "Post-Romantic" style.
Barbara B. Heyman is a musicologist who has written extensively about Samuel Barber. An accomplished pianist and violinist, she was educated at Barnard College, holds an MSSW degree from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. in Music History from the City University of New York. She has written numerous articles for scholarly journals and encyclopedias, as well as "Samuel Barber: A Thematic Catalogue of the Complete Works" (OUP, 2012), the first thematic catalogue of an American composer. The second edition of her definitive biography, "Samuel Barber: The Composer and His Music," was published in February 2020.
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The distinguished and extraordinarily varied career of John Mauceri has taken him not only to the world's greatest opera companies and symphony orchestras, but also to the musical stages of Broadway and Hollywood as well as the most prestigious halls of academia. For seven years (2006-13), he served as the Chancellor of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston-Salem and is the Founding Director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in Los Angeles, which was created for him in 1991 by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. He conducted over three hundred concerts at the 18,000-seat amphitheater with a total audience of some four million people. From June of 2000 until July of 2006, he conducted 22 productions as music director of the Pittsburgh Opera.
Mr. Mauceri served as music director of the Teatro Regio in Torino (Turin) Italy for three years after completing seven years as music director of Scottish Opera (22 productions and three recordings), and is the first American ever to have held the post of music director of an opera house in either Great Britain or Italy. He previously was music director of the Washington Opera (The Kennedy Center) and was the first music director of the American Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall after its founding director, Leopold Stokowski, with whom he studied. For fifteen years he served on the faculty of his alma mater, Yale University, returned in 2001 to teach and conduct the official concert celebrating the university's 300th anniversary and is the recipient of two awards from the university.
Mr. Mauceri is one of the world's most accomplished recording artists and is the recipient of Grammy, Tony, Olivier, Drama Desk, Edison, 2 Emmy, 2 Diapason d'Or, Cannes Classique, Billboard, and four Deutsche Schallplatten awards. In 1999, Mr. Mauceri was chosen as a "Standard-bearer of the Twentieth Century" for WQXR, the nation's most listened-to classical radio station. According to WQXR, "These are a select number of musical artists who have already established themselves as forces to be reckoned with and who will be the Standard Bearers of the 21st Century's music scene." The recipients were chosen for "their visionary talent and technical virtuosity." In addition, CNN and CNN International chose Mr. Mauceri as a "Voice of the Millennium."
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Critically-acclaimed composer, operatic polymath, and writer Daron Hagen (b. 1961, Milwaukee, WI) is the creator of five symphonies, a dozen concertos, 13 operas, reams of chamber music and more than 350 art songs. “A composer born to write operas” (Chicago Tribune) whose music is “dazzling, unsettling, exuberant, and heroic” (The New Yorker), “Hagen’s music represents a considerable artistic achievement of uncompromising seriousness” (Times Literary Supplement). His “theatrical audacity,” and “gift for big, sweeping tunes” (New York Times) underpin work that “is both highly original and gripping; restless, questioning music that never loses its heart.” (Opera Now Magazine). Opera News describes his opera Amelia as “one of the 20 best operas of the 21st century;” NATS Journal of Singing calls him “the finest American composer of vocal music in his generation.” “To say that Daron Hagen is a remarkable musician is to underrate him. Daron is music,” wrote Ned Rorem in Opera News. His “ruthlessly honest and beautifully written” memoir, Duet With the Past (McFarland, April 2019) “takes him from his haunted childhood to the upper echelons of musical life in New York and Europe” (Tim Page).
In fall 2018 Hagen wrote the score, story, libretto, filmed and edited three ninety-minute, simultaneously projected films, and directed the premiere of his Orson Welles-inspired multi-media opera Orson Rehearsed at the Studebaker Theater in Chicago featuring his own New Mercury Collective and the Fifth House Ensemble, produced by the Chicago College of the Performing Arts as part of an ongoing commitment to develop and produce Hagen-directed premieres of his operas—9/10 (April 2020), The Deputy (April 2021) and beyond. Other recent highlights include his own productions of A Woman in Morocco for Kentucky Opera, and his musical I Hear America Singing for the Skylight Music Theater, as well as the premiere of his Symphony No. 5 for the Phoenix Symphony and new piano trios for the Horszowski and Prometheus Trios, among others.
A Lifetime Member of the Corporation of Yaddo, and a former Trustee of the Douglas Moore Fund for American Opera, he serves as a Distinguished Mentor for Composers Now. He served as artistic director and chair of faculty for the Seasons Music Festival (2005-13), and as president of the Lotte Lehmann Foundation. Hagen made his debut as a stage director with Kentucky Opera and has directed productions at Symphony Space in New York City, the Studebaker Theater in Chicago, the Actors Theatre of Louisville, and the McCarter Theater in Princeton (New York Stories, The Antient Concert, A Woman in Morocco).
Born in Wisconsin, Hagen studied composition with Ned Rorem at the Curtis Institute and David Diamond at the Juilliard School, and then worked privately with Lukas Foss and Leonard Bernstein. During the 90s, he worked as a copyist and editor for numerous concert composers and Broadway shows, including Elliot Carter, Virgil Thomson, Gian Carlo Menotti, and Disney; he also taught for a decade at Bard College, and served on the faculties of the Curtis Institute, New York University, and the Princeton Atelier, among others. He now divides his time between composing, directing, and writing, co-chairs the composition program at the Wintergreen Music Festival, and serves as a member of the Artist Faculty at the Chicago College of the Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.
Hagen’s music is recorded on Sony Classical, Naxos, Albany, CRI, Arsis, Klavier, Affetto, Sierra Classical, Bridge, and other labels. Scott Levine represents him as a stage director; and his music is published and / or licensed by Peermusic Classical, Burning Sled, Carl Fischer, Schott, and E.C. Schirmer. A Manhattanite for 28 years, he and his wife, composer Gilda Lyons, moved Upstate in 2011 to raise their sons.