Jake Heggie Composer & Pianist




Photo © Ellen Appel


Jake Heggie, Composer & Pianist
Complete Biography



Jake Heggie is the American composer of the operas Moby-Dick (libretto: Gene Scheer), Dead Man Walking (libretto: Terrence McNally), Three Decembers (Scheer), The End of the Affair (libretto: Heather McDonald), To Hell and Back (Scheer), At the Statue of Venus (McNally) and Out of Darkness (Scheer), a triptych of Holocaust stories (Another Sunrise – Farewell, Auschwitz - For a Look or a Touch). He has also composed more than 250 art songs, as well as orchestral, choral and chamber music. His acclaimed new recording of songs, here/after (PentaTone Classics) features performances by singers Talise Trevigne, Joyce DiDonato, Stephen Costello and Nathan Gunn, with flutist Carol Wincenc, The Alexander String Quartet, and others.


Frederica von Stade & Keith Phares
Three Decembers
Houston Grand Opera 


The Dallas Opera has announced the commission of Heggie's next opera, GREAT SCOTT, with librettist Terrence McNally, set for a premiere on Oct 30, 2015. The opera will star Joyce DiDonato as Arden Scott, a famous singer who returns to her hometown to perform a forgotten bel canto opera titled Rosa Dolorosa, Daughter of Pompei. Mad scenes, an erupting volcano, children's chorus and a corps de ballet are part of the chaos onstage, backstage and in Arden's own life in this original story by McNally; directed by Jack O'Brien and conducted by Evan Rogister.

Coming in May 2014 is The Radio Hour (Scheer), an innovative “choral opera” for the John Alexander Singers of the Pacific Chorale, directed by Jim Taulli. In August, Soprano Kiri Te Kanawa will perform new songs composed to celebrate her 70th birthday in recital at Ravinia. Carnegie Hall is the venue for the Feb 2015 premiere of The Work at Hand, Symphonic Songs for mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton and cellist Anne Martindale Williams. An orchestrated version will receive its first performance in May 2015 by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Michael Francis. The Berkeley Symphony will give the first performance of an orchestral version of Camille Claudel: Into the Fire in Feb 2015 featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cook, conducted by Joana Carneiro.

Dead Man Walking has received more than 40 productions on five continents since its San Francisco Opera premiere in 2000, as well as two live recordings. Moby-Dick received its 2010 world premiere at The Dallas Opera and has since been performed by the State Opera of South Australia, Calgary Opera, San Diego Opera and San Francisco Opera. The San Francisco production was telecast nationally in 2013 as part of Great Performances' 40th Anniversary Season and was recently released on an acclaimed DVD (EuroArts). The opera is also the subject of the book Heggie & Scheer's Moby-Dick: A Grand Opera for the 21st Century (UNT Press) by Robert K.Wallace, with photos by Karen Almond. Moby-Dick receives its East Coast premiere by the Washington National Opera at the Kennedy Center in 2014.

The composer's numerous songs and cycles, including Camille Claudel: Into the Fire, The Deepest Desire, Statuesque, Here & Gone, Rise & Fall, Songs & Sonnets to Ophelia, Facing Forward/Looking Back, Friendly Persuasions, and Songs to the Moon, are featured in concerts around the world by some of the world's most beloved and celebrated singers. Among those who have championed Heggie's works are sopranos Emily Albrink, Isabel Bayrakdarian, Kristin Clayton, Nicolle Foland, Emily Pulley, Talise Trevigne, Kiri Te Kanawa; mezzos Joyce Castle, Catherine Cook, Joyce DiDonato, Susan Graham, Kristine Jepson, Frederica von Stade; Broadway soprano Patti LuPone; tenors William Burden, Stephen Costello, Paul Groves, Ben Heppner, Jay Hunter Morris, Nicholas Phan; and baritones Philip Cutlip, Nathan Gunn, Jonathan Lemalu, Daniel Okulitch, Keith Phares, Morgan Smith and Bryn Terfel.

Cheryl Barker & Teddy Tahu Rhodes
Houston Grand Opera

Heggie is an ardent champion of writers. Most of his operas and stage works feature libretti written by either Terrence McNally or Gene Scheer; while sources for song texts and poetry have also included Maya Angelou, W.H. Auden, Charlene Baldridge, Raymond Carver, Emily Dickinson, John Hall, A.E. Housman, Galway Kinnell, Vachel Lindsay, Philip Littell, Armistead Maupin, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Sister Helen Prejean, Gini Savage, Vincent Van Gogh, Frederica von Stade, and Eugenia Zukerman, to name a few. The composer has a close association with the conductor Patrick Summers, who has led the world premieres of all the composer's major operas; and the director Leonard Foglia, who has directed the premieres of Moby-Dick, Three Decembers, and The End of the Affair, as well as the United States national tour of Dead Man Walking.

Recordings of Heggie's compositions include here/after (PentaTone Classics), Moby-Dick (EuroArts DVD and Blu-Ray), Out of Darkness (Naxos), Dead Man Walking (Virgin Classics and Erato), The Deepest Desire (Kansas City Symphony), At The Statue of Venus (GPR), PASSING BY: Songs by Jake Heggie (Avie), Three Decembers (Albany), Flesh and Stone (Americus), To Hell and Back (Magnatune), The Faces of Love (RCA Red Seal), For a Look or a Touch (Naxos). Heggie is the recipient of a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and has been a guest artist at Boston University, Bucknell, Cornell, SUNY Fredonia, UNT College of Music, USC Thornton School of Music, University of Colorado, University of Oregon, and Vanderbilt University. He has also been a resident artist at summer festivals such as SongFest at the Colburn School in Los Angeles, Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, the Steans Institute at Ravinia, and VISI in Vancouver. Jake Heggie lives in San Francisco. www.jakeheggie.com


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Photo ©Art & Clarity


Jake Heggie, Composer & Pianist
Short Biography



Jake Heggie is the American composer of the operas Moby-Dick, Dead Man Walking, Three Decembers, To Hell and Back, and Out of Darkness: a triptych of Holocaust stories (Another Sunrise – Farewell, Auschwitz – For a Look or a Touch). He has also composed more than 250 songs, as well as chamber, choral and orchestral works. The operas – most created with the distinguished writers Terrence McNally and Gene Scheer – have been produced extensively on five continents. Dead Man Walking (McNally) has received 40 productions since its premiere, as well as two live recordings. Moby-Dick (Scheer) was telecast in 2013 as part of Great Performances' 40th Season and was recently released on DVD (EuroArts). It is also the subject of the book Heggie & Scheer's Moby-Dick: A Grand Opera for the 21st Century (UNT Press). Heggie, a Guggenheim Fellow, has served as a mentor to Washington National Opera's American Opera Initiative for young composers and librettists for the past two seasons. Upcoming commissions include Great Scott (McNally) for The Dallas Opera, starring Joyce DiDonato; The Radio Hour (Scheer) for the John Alexander Singers; a new project for Houston Grand Opera; songs for Kiri Te Kanawa at Ravinia; and The Work at Hand, Symphonic Songs for mezzo Jamie Barton and cellist Anne Martindale-Williams, co-commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony and Carnegie Hall. www.jakeheggie.com

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