Roger Ames, composer, author and artist mentor, has written operas and musicals for numerous American opera companies, Off-Broadway, London Fringe, and the Hartford Stage, (Martin Guerre, Laura Harrington, librettist). He has been commissioned by the Long Island Masterworks Chorus and Orchestra, (In Memoriam: Warsaw 1943 with Bernard Kaplan, librettist); the Greensboro Choral Society, Broadway Cares / Equity Fights Aids (Shadows, with Jeffrey Gilden, librettist), and Central City Opera, Denver, among others.
Recently, his Requiem for Our Time, set to the poetry of Anne Sexton, received a triumphant New England premiere by Boston Chorus Pro Musica, with Ilana Davidson, soprano, David Murray, Baritone, and Jeffrey Rink, conducting. It was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2008. En Mis Palabras, with Jeffrey Gilden, librettist, is being toured throughout Colorado and the west, and was recently produced for the National Performing Arts Convention in Denver.
Take Joy / Anything But A Silent Night, (a musical collage), for the Strathmore Performing Arts Center in Silver Spring, Maryland, premiered December 21, 2009. He was commissioned by the Long Island Masterworks Chorus: Ancient Songs Of The Universe, a rhapsody for piano and large chorus in three movements, premiered the same year.
His collaborative work with the Colorado Springs Conservatory Opera Intensives over the past several years have resulted in 4 new one-act operas for adolescent voices, written in collaboration with the young members of that ensemble, who then perform their work at the Central City Opera Festival. He is currently on the board of advisers of Pantomonium, a ‘way-off-Broadway’ theatre company that volunteers its time to create and produce annual off Broadway Christmas Pantomime musicals written partially by and for underprivileged children in New York City. He has collaborated with many children to help write the music for four of those productions.
He is also a resident artist at New Dramatists Playwrights collective in New York City, and currently resident composer at Central City Opera. El Paso Opera, and the Colorado Springs Conservatory.
As an author, Ames has written for Opera America’s textbook series: "Music! Words! Opera!," a multi-level curriculum that provides structures for teachers who want to write operas with their children, and/or study opera at a deep level. He has also written for GIA’s High School Choral Program textbook, and is currently working on a biographical novel: Get Off My Property, a collection of essays based on his childhood growing up in an upstate New York farming village in the 50’s.
He has studied composition with Samual Barber, John Kander, Lukas Foss, Robert Washburn and others, and has degrees from the Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam, and the Aaron Copland School of Music, Queens College. Ames is published by GIA Music, where one can see a more complete biography. He also has publications at Hinshaw Music, inc, Belwin Mills, and Vista Music.
He is on commercial recordings by Thomas Hampson, (Old Songs Re-sung), on the EMI label, and also by Anam Cara, (Innisfree), James Jordan, conductor, and has scored movies and documentaries for French and German Television. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his publishers.
Roger Ames, Composer
Commissions and Premieres
Title Date Writer/Lyricist Director/Conductor
LAUDATE DOMINUM Leonard Bernstein Geoffrey Simon
Commissioned by the Playhouse Project, East Hampton, N.Y Richard Brockman and Mirra Bank, Artistic Directors. For Chorus and String Orchestra, (7 Minutes)
TAKE JOY Elizabeth Bassine Jerry Whiddon 12.19.09
Commissioned by the Strathmore Performing Arts Center, Silver Spring, Maryland: Musical Collage for the Holidays, for orchestra and singers, premiere December, 2009 (90 minutes)
ANCIENT SONGS OF THE UNIVERSE Paul Rosen Frances Roberts 9.1.09
Commissioned by the Long Island Masterworks Chorus, Northport, New York; Rhapsody for chorus and piano, premiere November, 2009 (18 min)
EN MIS PALABRAS Jeff Gilden Deborah Morrow 4.23.08
Commissioned by Central City Opera, Denver, Colorado, premiered at the National Performing Arts Convention; Chamber Opera / Zarzuela in Two Scenes for piano, cello and guitar (60 minutes)
LET THERE BE JOY Laura Harrington Matthew Mehaffey 11.21.08
Premiered by the Oratorio Society of Minnesota, cantata for chorus, harp and ‘cello, workshop by Nautilus Music-Theater, Ben Krywosz, artistic director
SHADOWS Jeff Gilden Rachelle Anthes 5.6.08
Commissioned by Broadway Cares / Equity Fights Aids
One Act Opera for four characters, cello and piano, premiered by the Brooklyn School for the Arts (45 minutes)
HOW GREEN WAS MY VALLEY Elizabeth Bassine, Ron Hutchinson 5.18.10
Full Length Musical for cast of 28 and orchestra, workshopped by Nautilus Music-Theater, Ben Krywosz, Director; and the ACTORS STUDIO, NYC.
REQUIEM FOR OUR TIME Anne Sexton Jeffrey Rink 9.23.07
Premiered by Boston Pro Musica chorus and orchestra, (45 minutes), nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in Music, Old North Church, Boston, Massachusetts
ILLUSIONS / ILLUSIONES Peter Weber Peter Weber 1.26.06
Commissioned by the Utah Opera and Symphony for its education program, Paula Fowler, Director; One Act Opera, for four characters and piano (50 min.)
VAGABONDS Jim Friedland, Colette NA 10.12.98
Commissioned by the Theater des Westens, Berlin, Germany – workshop in 1998; Full Length Music Theater Piece, (2 hours, 20 minutes)
IN MEMORIAM: WARSAW 1943 Bernard Kaplan Frances Roberts April, 1997; (second performance, opera-torio version, May 2011)
Commissioned by the Long Island Masterworks Chorus and the Greensboro Choral Society; Oratorio for chorus and soloists with orchestra, premiered in Great Neck, New York, Long Island Masterworks Chorus and Orchestra
Revised version was a finalist for New York City Opera’s VOX competition, 2008 (80 minutes)
HEARTS ON FIRE Laura Harrington Ben Krywosz 1996
Premiered by Nautilus Music-Theater, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Full Length Chamber Opera for four characters, cello and keyboards (100 min.)
MARTIN GUERRE Laura Harrington Mark Lamos 1994
Commissioned by Boston Lyric Opera, premiered by the Hartford Stage, Hartford, Connecticut; Full Length Music Theater Piece for cast of 22 and chamber orchestra (2 hours, 25 minutes) Winner, Connecticut's "Best Musical" 1994.
AMARANTHA Ames/Tim Nolan Leon Major 1991
Commissioned by Lake George Opera, premiered by Maryland; Opera Theater, U. of Maryland; Full Length Opera for 10 characters and chamber orchestra (1 hour 55 minutes)
FOLK SONG SUITE Various / anonymous NA 1988
Recorded by Thomas Hampson, Baritone, EMI Records
NIGHT ANGEL Laura Harrington NA 1986
Incidental music for the Off-Broadway play
SUMMER SANG IN ME Edna St. Vincent Millay NA 1983
Commissioned by Georgine Resick, soprano, European premiere,WDR, Cologne, Germany; Song Cycle for soprano and piano, (18 minutes), recorded with Jeffrey Tate, pianist
MASS FOR ALL SAINTS Rembert Herbert Ames / Herbert 1978
Commissioned by Westmoreland Congregational Church, Washington, D.C. Full-length Mass for choir, congregation, and chamber orchestra, using sacred and secular texts (65 minutes)
AMISTAD Virginia Artist Adelaide Bishop 1978
Commissioned by the U.C.C. Board of Homeland Ministries, workshop in Washington, D.C. Full Length Opera for cast of 26 and full orchestra, funded by the N.E.A, 1977 - 78
Private Study: Samuel Barber, John Kander, Robert Washburn, Lucas Foss, Lloyd Ultan
Undergraduate degree: Crane School of Music, State University of New York at Potsdam
Graduate study: Hartt School of Music, Crane School of Music, American University, Koeln Hochschule, fur Musik; Master of Music in Composition: Queens College, NYC
Nominated for Pulitzer Prize in Music; Second Prize, International Clarinet Society; First Prize, Children’s Aid Society Composition Competition; Chosen 4 times for the O’Neill National Music Theater Conference; 3 Awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, 2 from the Massachusetts Arts Council, 3 Awards from the American Music Center; 2 Awards from Meet The Composer, Multiple ASCAP + awards
Choral and Orchestral music published by Hinshaw Music, Inc.; Belwin Mills; GIA Music, Chicago
Music Director and member of the Board of Advisors, Pantomonium Productions (New York City), 2003-2009, working with children as writers to create pantomime musicals, performed in Off-Off Broadway venues by professionals for poorer NYC families, free of charge. All staff and performers are volunteer. Board of Advisors: MAIN STREET MUSICALS
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