Composers

Brian Lambert

Brian Lambert is an undergraduate composition student and saxophonist at the University of Colorado Boulder, studying with Carter Pann, Dan Kellogg and Michael Theodore. He composes for film, installation, electronic and acoustic mediums, and has premiered multiple works for saxophone. Lambert is passionate about using the power of music to draw attention to international issues such as global poverty and religious persecution. He dreams of starting a nonprofit that advocates for music education in developing countries.

Margaret R. Friesen

Margaret R. Friesen is a composer and singer focused on intimacy, human relationships and inner stillness. She believes that in our most intimate moments, we enter a space both breathtaking and delightful. Her work in composition includes pieces exploring misled expectations, passion, wish-making and warmth. Friesen works often with vocalists and choirs to create a musical environment where human identity can flow free and unprotected.

Dianna Link

Dianna Link is a composer and flutist. She has performed flute/piccolo in Colorado Allstate Orchestra, CU Honor Band and the Continental League Orchestra and Band. Winning the DYAO, Pikes Peak flute choir and American Composer Forum’s Next Note composition competitions are some of Link's recent accomplishments. Her music has been performed by the Colorado Symphony and broadcasted on CPR Classical.

Robert Alexander

Robert Alexander (b. 1996) is a Boulder-based composer currently pursing his master's degree in composition at the University of Colorado Boulder. He earned a BM from the University of Southern California and has studied with Carter Pann, Andrew Norman, Frank Ticheli, Sean Friar and Ted Hearne.

jake heggie and gene scheerProfessional mentors

Award-winning composer and librettist team Jake Heggie and Gene Scheer work closely students in the Composer Fellows' Initiative. They have also collaborated with CU NOW on two workshops of their own pieces, including the premiere of "It's a Wonderful Life" in 2016.

Jake Heggie

Jake Heggie is the American composer of the operas "Dead Man Walking" (libretto by Terrence McNally), "Moby-Dick" (libretto by Gene Scheer), "Great Scott" (McNally), "Three Decembers" (Scheer), "To Hell and Back" (Scheer), "Out of Darkness" (Scheer), "At the Statue of Venus" (McNally), "The Radio Hour: A Choral Opera" (Scheer) and "It's a Wonderful Life" (Scheer). Heggie has also composed more than 250 art songs, as well as concerti, chamber music, choral and orchestral works, including his recent "Ahab Symphony."

The operas—most created with the distinguished writers Terrence McNally and Gene Scheer—have been produced on five continents. "Dead Man Walking" has received nearly 50 productions worldwide since its San Francisco Opera premiere in 2000 and has been recorded live twice (Erato Records in 2001 and Virgin Classics in 2011). In addition to major productions throughout the U.S., "Dead Man Walking" has been seen in Dresden, Vienna, Sydney, Adelaide, Calgary, Montreal, Cape Town, Dublin, Copenhagen and Malmo. "Moby-Dick" has received seven international productions since its 2010 premiere at The Dallas Opera. It was telecast as part of Great Performances’ 40th anniversary season and that production from the San Francisco Opera was released on DVD (EuroArts). "Moby-Dick" received its east coast premiere at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. It is also the subject of a book by Robert Wallace, titled Heggie & Scheer’s "'Moby-Dick'—A Grand opera for the 21st Century" (UNT Press).

Heggie was recently awarded the prestigious Eddie Medora King prize from the UT Austin Butler School of Music. A Guggenheim Fellow, he served for three years as a mentor for Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative. He is also a frequent guest artist and master teacher at universities and conservatories, including Boston University, Bucknell, Cornell, The Royal Conservatory in Toronto, University of Northern Iowa, University of North Texas, University of Colorado, USC’s Thornton School, Vanderbilt University, and at festivals such as SongFest at the Colburn School, Ravinia Festival and VISI in Vancouver.

Jake Heggie frequently collaborates as composer and pianist with some of the world’s most loved singers, including sopranos Kiri Te Kanawa, Renée Fleming, Ailyn Pérez, Talise Trevigne and Caitlin Lynch; mezzo-sopranos Joyce DiDonato, Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, Jamie Barton, Catherine Cook and Sasha Cooke; Broadway stars Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald; tenors William Burden, Stephen Costello and Jay Hunter Morris; baritones Nathan Gunn, Morgan Smith, Bryn Terfel, Michael Mayes and Robert Orth. Directors who have championed his work include Leonard Foglia, Joe Mantello and Jack O’Brien. All of Heggie’s major opera premieres have been led by Patrick Summers; he has also worked closely with conductors John DeMain, Joseph Mechavich and Nicole Paiement.

Recent premieres have included "Great Scott" at The Dallas Opera, starring Joyce DiDonato, Ailyn Pérez, Frederica von Stade and Anthony Roth Costanzo—recorded live for Warner Classics; "The Work at Hand: Symphonic Songs" for mezzo Jamie Barton and cellist Anne Martindale Williams (Carnegie Hall and the Pittsburgh Symphony); "Iconic Legacies: First Ladies at the Smithsonian," a song cycle for mezzo Susan Graham (Vocal Arts DC at the Kennedy Center); and "Stop This Day and Night With Me" for The King’s Singers, the 2015 Brock Commission for the American Choral Directors Association Conference.

Jake Heggie lives in San Francisco with his husband, Curt Branom.

Gene Scheer

Scheer’s work is noted for its scope and versatility. With the composer Jake Heggie, he has collaborated on many projects, including the critically acclaimed 2010 Dallas Opera world premiere, "Moby-Dick," starring Ben Heppner as Captain Ahab; "Three Decembers" (Houston Grand Opera), which starred Frederica von Stade; and the lyric drama "To Hell and Back" (Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra), which featured Patti LuPone. Other works by Scheer and Heggie include "Camille Claudel: Into the fire," a song cycle premiered by Joyce di Donato and the Alexander String Quartet.

Scheer worked as librettist with Tobias Picker on "An American Tragedy," which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera in 2005. Their first opera, "Thérèse Raquin," written for the Dallas Opera in 2001, was cited by Opera News as one of the ten best recordings of 2002. Other collaborations include the lyrics for Wynton Marsalis’s "It Never Goes Away," featured in Marsalis’s work "Congo Square." With the composer Steven Stucky, Scheer wrote the oratorio "August 4, 1964," for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, which was nominated for a Grammy and performed at Carnegie Hall.

At the Dallas Opera earlier this year, Scheer collaborated with Joby Talbot on the opera "Everest," based on interviews from survivors of the 1996 Everest expedition. "Cold Mountain," Scheer’s most recent work with the composer Jennifer Higdon, premiered this summer at the Santa Fe Opera. It opened on the east coast in early 2016 at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.

Scheer recentlyl worked with Jake Heggie on an operatic adaptation of "It’s a Wonderful Life" for the Houston Grand Opera in December 2016. Also a composer in his own right, Scheer has written a number of songs for singers such as Renée Fleming, Sylvia McNair, Stephanie Blythe, Jennifer Larmore, Denyce Graves and Nathan Gunn. The distinguished documentary filmmaker Ken Burns prominently featured Scheer’s song “American Anthem” (as sung by Norah Jones) in his Emmy Award-winning World War II documentary for PBS titled "The War."