Biographies

Acushla Bastible (stage director) was born and raised in Ireland. She is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, the Courtauld Institute of Art in London, and École Internationale de Théâtre Jacques Lecoq in Paris, and an alumnus of the Lincoln Center Directors Lab. Acushla is a multidisciplinary artist –stage director, actor, facilitator, and animateur. Her work in the US and abroad explores the intersections between creativity and social and environmental equity. As a freelance stage director, she works in the USA and in Europe on theatre, opera, circus and intermedia productions. Current projects include stage direction and project co-direction of FIREROCK a musical production and storytelling project catalyzing climate engagement and leadership.

Acushla Bastible and Ligia Bouton

Acushla Bastible and Ligia Bouton

Acushla is on faculty at the Academy for the Love of Learning, where she creates and facilitates programs and workshops on creativity, collaborative story-making, aging, death and dying. With the Academy, Acushla is the director and co-founder of Lifesongs, an intergenerational arts program that promotes social inclusion for elders and brings dignity to the aging and dying processes.  Acushla is also an artistic affiliate with Littleglobe, a diverse artist collaborative devoted to arts and social change. Previously, she served as the artistic director of Angel Exit, an international performance collective now based in the UK, and as an artistic associate with The Santa Fe Opera, where she directed touring opera productions and managed creative programming for students in the public schools. In 2010, Acushla was honored for her artistic work as one of the ‘50 Most Influential Irish Women in the USA’, awarded by the Irish Embassy and the Irish Voice newspaper.  Acushla lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her beautiful family.


Ligia Bouton (Production Design) was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and spent her childhood in London, England.  She received her education at Vassar College and at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University.  Her creative work combines sculpture and drawing with performance, digital video, and photography to recreate appropriated narratives. Each project wrestles with the intersection of functionality and narrative, drawing on sources from art history, classical and contemporary literature, and science.  Recent projects have been shown at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Guildhall Art Gallery in London, SITE Santa Fe, the New Mexico Museum of Art, the Philadelphia Art Alliance, and the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art.  In 2015 Bouton’s work will be featured in the exhibition, “Charlotte Great and Small” celebrating Charlotte Brontë’s bicentenary at the Brontë Parsonage Museum in Yorkshire, as well as at Peters Projects in Santa Fe.  Past projects have been installed in New York at Bill Maynes Gallery and Denise Bibro Fine Art, and in New Jersey at City Without Walls. Reviews of this work have appeared in Art in America, Art Papers, The Art Newspaper, The Philadelphia Enquirer and The New York Times.  Bouton’s video work has been shown at Art Claims Impulse in Berlin, in the Biennial of Contemporary Art, Nimes, France, and at the Temporary Art Center, Eindhoven, The Netherlands, as well as in The Female Avant Garde Festival in Prague.

Ligia Bouton is currently Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Foundations at the University of New Mexico, and lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico with her family. Website


Lei Liang and Matt Donovan

Lei Liang and Matt Donovan

Matt Donovan (Librettist) received his MA from Lancaster University and his MFA from New York University where he attended as a New York Times Fellow. He is the author of two collections of poetry – Vellum (Mariner, 2007) and the chapbook Ten Burnt Lakes (Tupelo Press, forthcoming 2017) – as well as the collection of essays, A Cloud of Unusual Size and Shape: Meditations on Ruin and Redemption (Trinity Press, April 2016). His poems and nonfiction have appeared in numerous journals, including AGNI, Blackbird, American Poetry Review, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry, Threepenny Review, and Virginia Quarterly Review

Matt Donovan is the recipient of a Rome Prize in Literature, a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship, a Lannan Writing Residency Fellowship, and the Larry Levis Reading Prize from Virginia Commonwealth University. His work has been acclaimed in The New Yorker, The Chicago Tribune, and The New York Times Sunday Book Review. He has served as a member of the faculty of the Creative Writing and Literature Department at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.  Website


Heralded as “one of the most exciting voices in New Music” (The Wire), Lei Liang (Composer)is a Chinese-born American composer whose works have been described as “hauntingly beautiful and sonically colorful” by The New York Times, and as “far, far out of the ordinary, brilliantly original and inarguably gorgeous” by The Washington Post. Winner of the 2011 Rome Prize, Lei Liang is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Aaron Copland Award. He was named a finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Lei Liang was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert for the inaugural concert of the CONTACT! new music series. Other commissions and performances come from Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP), the Taipei Chinese Orchestra, the Heidelberger Philharmonisches Orchester, Thailand Philharmonic, Berkeley Symphony, the Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress, the Fromm Music Foundation, Meet the Composer, Chamber Music America, the National Endowment for the Arts, Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, the Manhattan Sinfonietta, pipa virtuoso Wu Man, the Arditti Quartet, Shanghai Quartet, the Scharoun Ensemble of the Berlin Philharmonic, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, New York New Music Ensemble and Boston Musica Viva. Lei Liang’s music is recorded on Mode, New World, Naxos and Bridge Records. As a scholar, he is active in the research and preservation of traditional Asian music.

Lei Liang served as Composer-in-Residence at Calit2 where his multimedia works combined computer technology, scientific research with cultural re-imagination and preservation. Lei Liang studied composition with Sir Harrison Birtwistle, Robert Cogan, Chaya Czernowin, and Mario Davidovsky, and received degrees from the New England Conservatory of Music (BM and MM) and Harvard University (PhD). A Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum, he held fellowships from Harvard Society of Fellows and the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships. He taught in China as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at Shaanxi Normal University College of Arts in Xi'an; served as Honorary Professor of Composition and Sound Design at Wuhan Conservatory of Music and as Visiting Assistant Professor of Music at Middlebury College. Lei Liang currently serves as Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego. His music is published exclusively by Schott Music Corporation (New York).  Website


Susan Narucki (Soprano/Producer) has earned international acclaim for over three decades. She has appeared with the Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic, Netherlands Opera, San Francisco Symphony, MET Chamber Ensemble, on the Great Performers Series at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall with conductors such as Boulez, Levine, Salonen, Tilson Thomas, de Leeuw and Knussen.  A dedicated advocate of the music of our time, Ms. Narucki has given over one hundred world premieres, and has enjoyed close collaborations with composers including Andriessen, Kurtág, Carter, Dusapin and Crumb. Her extensive discography includes both a Grammy Award and Grammy Nomination for Best Classical Vocal Performance; her recording, The Light that Is Felt: Songs of Charles Ives (New World) with pianist Donald Berman was selected as Editor's Choice of BBC Music Magazine. 

Susan Narucki, Lei Liang and Ligia Bouton

Susan Narucki, Lei Liang and Ligia Bouton

Ms. Narucki's creative projects introduce modern music to audiences outside traditional concert hall settings and illuminate broader issues in society. Her work has earned major grants from the Creative Capital Foundation, the MAP Fund for the Performing Arts/Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, UC MEXUS and the National Endowment for the Arts.  Her most recent project is the critically acclaimed Cuatro Corridos (2013), a chamber opera that addresses human trafficking across the U.S.-Mexican border. With libretto by internationally acclaimed novelist Jorge Volpi and music by Hebert Vazquez, Arlene Sierra, Lei Liang and Hilda Paredes, Cuatro Corridos has had over a dozen performances in the United States and Mexico, including at CENART (Mexico City) and as a special event at 2015 FIL/Guadalajara International Book Fair, the largest Spanish language book fair in the world.

Ms. Narucki was appointed Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego in 2008.  Website


Percussionist, conductor, and author, Steven Schick (Music Director) was born in Iowa and raised in a farming family.  For forty years he has championed contemporary music by commissioning or premiering more than one hundred-fifty new works. He was the founding percussionist of the Bang on a Can All-Stars (1992-2002) and served as Artistic Director of the Centre International de Percussion de Genève (2000-2005). Schick is founder and Artistic Director of the percussion group, red fish blue fish.

Steven Schick serves as Music Director of the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus; he has held numerous leadership positions including Artistic Director of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, music director of the 2015 Ojai Festival and, along with flutist Claire Chase, serves co-director of the Banff Centre for the Arts Summer Music Program.  He maintains a lively schedule of guest conducting including appearances with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Asko/Schönberg Ensemble and the International Contemporary Ensemble.  Among his acclaimed publications are a book, “The Percussionist’s Art: Same Bed, Different Dreams,” and numerous recordings of contemporary percussion music including a 3 CD set of the complete percussion music of Iannis Xenakis (Mode).  Steven Schick is Distinguished Professor of Music and holds the Reed Family Presidential Chair at the Department of Music at the University of California, San Diego.