People - Music Composition

Music Composition Faculty: Mark Adamo

Mark Adamo has written both scripts and scores to the operas Lysistrata, or the Nude Goddess (2005) and Little Women, which Houston Grand Opera introduced in 1998 and revived in 2000, and which has since gone on to over thirty-five engagements in cities including New York, Minneapolis, Toronto, Chicago, Costa Mesa, Fort Worth, Knoxville, Mexico City, Tokyo, and Nagoya, Japan, where it served as the official U. S. cultural entrant to the 2005 World Expo.  Telecast by PBS/WNET on Great Performances in 2001 and released on CD by Ondine that same year, Little Women, after the Alcott novel, was acclaimed as one of’s Ten Best Opera Releases of 2001, and further praised as a “masterpiece” by the New York Times in its East Coast debut by New York City Opera in March 2003: it is scheduled for its Australian premiere in a new production in Adelaide by State Opera of South Australia in spring 2007. 

Lysistrata, adapted from Aristophanes’ comedy but including elements from Sophocles’ Antigone, was commissioned by Houston Grand Opera for its 50th anniversary: acclaimed on its 2005 premiere by The New Yorker as “a sumptuous love story, poised between comedy and heartbreak” by “a brilliant theatre composer of effortless mastery,” Lysistrata made its New York City Opera debut in March 2006 to comparable acclaim, praised by the New York Times for its “ambition, sweep, and skill” and “haunting music” and by New York Magazine as “a serious, ambitious, and creatively generous piece of work,” which noted that “Adamo’s Little Women, only eight years old, is already looking like a repertory piece. With luck, Lysistrata might well do the same.”
Professor Adamo was Composer-in-Residence at the New York City Opera from 2001 through 2006, where he led the VOX: Showcasing American Composers program.  Professor Adamo also served as Master Artist at Atlantic Center for the Arts in May 2003, when he coached teams of composers and librettists in developing their work for the stage.  He has directed two new productions of Little Women for Cleveland (summer 2004) and Milwaukee (fall 2005,) both of which were cited among the year’s best classical events by the critics of their respective newspapers: and he has given dozens of master-classes and coachings nationwide, most recently at NYU’s Skirball Center under the auspices of American Lyric Theatre. 

While principally a theatre artist, Professor Adamo has also written for chorus (Chanticleer, BBC Singers, Choral Arts Society of Washington, Young Peoples’ Chorus of New York,) ballet (libretto, Pied Piper Fantasy, American Ballet Theatre,) recital (New York Festival of Song,) and orchestra (Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, Eos.)  Music Director Leonard Slatkin and Washington’s National Symphony Orchestra have commissioned Adamo’s Four Angels: Concerto for Harp and Orchestra for premiere in June 2007. 
Professor Adamo began his education at New York University.  He has annotated programs for Stagebill, the Freer Gallery of Art, and most recently for SONY/BMG Classics.  His published writings on music criticism, scholarship, as well as interviews have been published by, The Washington Post, Stagebill, Opera News, the Star-Ledger, and The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians.