A versatile composer on the faculty of the Juilliard School Evening Division, Conrad Cummings writes operas, instrumental music, and music for amplified instruments and voices. His work – “music that reveals the unexpected joys and shadowy depths of the American experience” (The New Yorker) – is heard in venues from Carnegie Hall and BAM to alternative clubs (le) Poisson Rouge and The Knitting Factory.
Opera productions range from the three-act, grand opera exploration of the Vietnam War Tonkin, commissioned and premiered by Opera Delaware, to a three-week Off-Broadway run of the electoral campaign opera Photo-Op by Ridge Theater at New York’s legendary La Mama ETC.
Positions 1956, a self-help opera with Tony-nominated librettist Michael Korie, was commissioned and premiered by Washington DC’s UrbanArias in 2012. Thoroughfare, a theatrical song cycle with Pulitzer-winning librettist Mark Campbell, written for Met Opera tenor Keith Jameson, was premiered at the National Opera Center in 2014 and will appear on Jameson’s debut CD.
At the Window, commissioned by the Paul Dresher Electro-Acoustic Ensemble and “avant-diva” Amy X Neuburg, received its premiere at Cal Performances in December 2014.
Upcoming projects include commissions from the Five Borough Music Festival, HERE Arts Center and mezzo Hai-Ting Chinn, and the Yale Guild of Carrilloneurs.
Cummings trained at Yale, Stony Brook, and Columbia, did post-doc work at IRCAM in Paris, taught at Oberlin Conservatory for ten years where he directed the music and media program, and since 2003 teaches composition in the Evening Division at The Juilliard School.
Honors include selection of The Golden Gate as one of Opera News Magazine’s “Best New Operas of the 21st Century,” fellowships to the MacDowell and Djerassi Foundations, and grants from the NEA, Opera America, and the Rockefeller Foundation.