Steinhardt and Tisch Collaboration Brings Words, Music, and Opera Together

“NYU can sometimes feel like a pretty enormous place, and it’s hard to know what the other pockets of the university is doing. There are so many talented people spread across campus — I’m glad that we’ve found a couple of ways to put our students to work with each other,” says Randall Eng, adjunct faculty composer at NYU Tisch, who found a partnership with NYU Steinhardt that has enlarged his students’ vision of the operas they are writing.

The collaboration between students in Steinhardt’s program in opera performance and Tisch musical theatre writing program students began when Eng, who teaches opera writing in Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing program asked Bill Wesbrooks, director of Steinhardt’s program in vocal performance, if he could recommend a few students to perform some of his students’ original work.

“Randall Eng’s need for classical singers of particular voice types has worked fortuitously for Steinhardt’s Vocal Performance Program,” says Wesbooks. “Our students have been able to talk to composers about the demands that certain kinds of writing put of their individual voice types, and they have then had the opportunity to learn and perform music that has been composed with their voices in mind.”

This semester Eng is teaching a course that brings the history and the writing of opera to students in both schools. The class will end with a presentation of ten 15-minute operas performed by Steinhardt’s classical voice opera studies students.

“This is a great example of how the work of two disparate groups of NYU students is being enhanced by cross-school collaboration,” Wesbrook says.

Read more about the collaboration in Tisch’s Graduate Musical Theater Writing newsletter.