Praised by The New York Times for his "alluring, emotive" work, composer Lembit Beecher creates intimate and dramatically potent musical experiences. In 2011 Beecher was appointed to a three-year term as the inaugural composer-in-residence of Opera Philadelphia, in collaboration with Gotham Chamber Opera and Music Theatre Group of New York. Drawing on family stories about Estonia and the immigrant experience, Beecher has written And Then I Remember, a documentary oratorio based on interviews with his grandmother, which won the Opera Vista Competition for new opera. His recent focus on vocal writing and dramatic works has led to collaborations with Cantori New York, Tapestry New Opera, and mezzo-soprano Laura Mercado-Wright. In 2015, Beecher received Center support to create Sophia's Forest, a multi-disciplinary chamber opera scored for mezzo-soprano, string quartet, and a sculptural musical instrument.
Composer Lembit Beecher will create a multi-disciplinary chamber opera for soprano Kiera Duffy and the Aizuri String Quartet that focuses on the experience of childhood and will be performed at Drexel University's URBN Center Annex. Directed by Brian Staufenbiel with original libretto by Hannah Moscovitch, the work will feature a mechanical, electronic sound-generating sculpture that will grow from a small music box into a seven-foot tall object as the performance unfolds. Built in collaboration with architect Simon Kim, engineer Mark Yim, and Director of the Drexel ExCITe Center Youngmoo Kim, the sculpture will represent a family heirloom belonging to the principal character, an 11-year-old girl. Beecher says, "The opera will be structured as a series of conversations between the child and the sculpture, the child telling fantastical stories to the sculpture, and the sculpture responding with its delicately mechanical textures."
*Additional unrestricted funds are added to each grant for general operating support.*