Ligia Bouton (Production Designer) 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.
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
Serving as producer and in singing the role of Sarah Winchester, soprano Susan Narucki has been a driving force in creative projects that 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 multiple awards from 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. The critically acclaimed recording of the opera earned a 2017 Latin Grammy nomination.
Ms. Narucki serves as Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego, where she directs the ensemble kallisti. 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.
Mexican baritone Josué Cerón (Tour Guide/Ghost) is a graduate of the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) in Philadelphia, PA. Known for the quality and passion of his performances, he has already sung on three continents. He made his European debut at the Teatro Carlo Felice in Genova, Italy on the role of Enrico in Donizetti ́s Il Campanello under the stage direction of legendary italian baritone Rolando Panerai and the baton of Maestro Valerio Galli. In the Fall of 2016, he was part of the Rossini Opera Academy in Lunenburg, NS, Canada under the guidance of Maestro Alberto Zedda, singing the role of Alidoro in performances of La Cenerentola. Of his performance of Respighi ́s La Fiamma at Philadelphia's Kimmel Center the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote “...his text articulation gave such emotional life to the music that surfaces failed to matter..."
Mr. Cerón's recent engagements include his debut as Figaro in Il Barbiere di Siviglia for Teatro del Bicentenario in Mexico, new productions of Le Nozze di Figaro in Opera de Yucatan and Béatrice et Bénédict with Orquesta Sinfonica de Mineria. In addition, he has performed in Turandot with Opera de Bellas Artes , La Bohème with Opera of Yucatán, Le comte Ory with Opera Company of the National University ( UNAM ), as a soloist in Gurrelieder and Carmina Burana with Orquesta Sinfonica de Mineria. Mr. Cerón has also performed in several Mexican premieres, such as Puccini ́s La Rondine and Primo la musica poi le parole by Salieri and Die Frau ohne Schatten by Richard Strauss at Palacio de Bellas Artes, as well as contemporary operas Riesgo by Rogelio Sosa , and Dunaxi by Roberto Morales.
Mr. Cerón holds a Bachelor degree from the National Conservatory of Mexico as well a Diploma from the Mexico ́s most prominent Young Artist Program, S.I.V.A.M.
Soprano Susan Narucki (Sarah Winchester) 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.
Award-winning coloratura soprano Kirsten Ashley Wiest (Ghost 1) is firmly committed to the continuous evolution of classical vocal music. Her “bright, dazzling vocal technique” (San Diego Story) has captured the attention of many composers, resulting in numerous world premiere performances and close collaborations, including work with composers Ben Johnston, Rand Steiger, Jeffrey Holmes, Veronika Krausas, James Erber, and Jack Van Zandt, and conductors Steven Schick, Olivier Kaspar, Branden Muresan, Yuga Cohler, and Christopher Rountree, among many others.
Kirsten has sung as a soloist with the Grammy-winning Partch ensemble, La Jolla Symphony and Chorus, YMF Debut Orchestra, MiraCosta Symphony, the Industry, kallisti chamber opera, Musica Vitale, wild Up new music collective, UCLA John Cage Symposium, UCSD's Palimpsest, CalArts New Century Players Ensemble, and Chapman University’s New Music Ensemble. She was a featured soloist in the LA Philharmonic’s installation, Nimbus, and has recorded for several interactive operatic experiences and film scores. Kirsten has also performed with Bang on a Can All-Stars, red fish blue fish, San Diego Pro Arte Voices, the Metroplex Opera Company in Dallas, and the Texas 'Lone Star' Ambassadors of Music. Operatic roles include "La Princess" in Ravel's L'enfant et les sortileges (Perigueux, France), "Polly Peachum" in Weill's Threepenny Opera (San Diego CA), and "Mabel" in Gilbert and Sullivan's Pirates of Penzance (Fort Worth, TX).
Currently a DMA candidate at UCSD under the guidance of Grammy award-winning soprano Susan Narucki, Kirsten holds an MFA from California Institute of the Arts and a BM cum laude from Chapman University’s Conservatory of Music. More information at: www.kirstenashleywiest.com
Soprano Hillary Jean Young (Ghost 2) was born in Grand Forks, British Columbia. From the studio of Nancy Hermiston, Hillary received their Masters of Music in Opera from the University of British Columbia in May, 2014. Hillary has received several prestigious scholarships and awards, including the Roberto and Mary Wood Scholarship, the San Diego District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Encouragement Award, the LA Songfest New Music Fellowship, and second place in the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus Young Artists Competition. Hillary has appeared as a soloist with the UBC Symphony Orchestra, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and the La Jolla Symphony Orchestra, and has performed internationally in a variety of summer programs, tours, and festivals. Hillary’s operatic experience includes roles such as, First Wood Sprite in Dvořak’s Rusalka, the title role in Janáček’s Příhody lišky Bystroušky (Cunning Little Vixen) and La Modista in Rota’s Il cappello di paglia di Firenze. In addition, their interpretation of Jenny in Weill’s The Threepenny Opera was hailed as “showing both the acidity and the humanity at the core of this work” (UT San Diego). Hillary is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts in Contemporary Music Performance at the University of California, San Diego under the tutelage of Susan Narucki. Most recently, Hillary and pianist Kyle Adam Blair’s 2017 performance of Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine as part of kallisti chamber opera project was described as “creating something remarkable: an intertwined sensitivity that resulted in remarkable music-making” (UT San Diego)