OC has an infinity with New York City Opera's VOX program (remember the time General Manager and Artistic Director of NYCO George Steel spoke to OC all about it?) As an initiative that fosters the untapped creativity of contemporary American opera composers, the NYCO hosts a free-of-charge, open-to-the public workshop every year that celebrates emerging opera composers and librettists. Entering its 12th season, the program finds new talent, encourages new audiences, and makes contemporary American opera accessible by staging works with NYCO musicians, performers and fund$.
VOX put out their last call for this year's submission with the deadline set at October 1, which means all documents must be postmarked by then. It's like getting in your taxes, but cooler!
In the VOX program, NYCO concentrates their four point mission of making opera accessible to all audiences, championing new works, promoting American opera and encouraging young talent. It also uniquely provides a fertile staging ground for future NYCO productions, where works-in-progress are heard, giving composers a rare opportunity to see their works realized in true scale. Basically, it's scene, but for the classical music scensters.
General Manager and Artistic Director of NYCO, George Steel, is dedicated to giving VOX the attention it deserves, completely involved in the programming, and making it increasingly central to NYCO's heart. He brings eleven former years of programming contemporary music from his leadership role as Executive Director of Miller Theatre at Columbia University, a well-rounded base for curating two days of varied music.
George Steel recently spoke with Opera Chic from New York City Opera’s home, the David H. Koch Theater, to give her the latest on what’s going on with NYCO and VOX.
Click the link below to read the full interview (including Steel's favorite composers and what he sometimes wears under his performance jacket!)
While on winter break from NYCO's 2009/2010 cost-efficient, abbreviated season at the David H. Koch Theater, George Steel could be improving his backswing or learning new yoga moves or relaxing in Palm Springs. But the hardworking GM of the NYCO shows-off his latent, classical music proclivities during his downtime.
On Saturday, February 6 in NYC, Steel goes back to his conducting roots and returns to Columbia University's Miller Theatre as maestro for their Early Music Series. He'll be leading the Vox Vocal Ensemble in a program "The Art of the Canon" that follows the development of the canon from the 13th through the 20th century. We're not worried that Steel doesn't have the conducting chops to lead the Vox Vocal Ensemble -- after all, he's the founder!
George Steel aka the man who's trying to keep NYCO afloat talked to WNYC about a bunch of things -- "labor conversations", detergent, Gerad Mortier, the death of melody, Peter Gelb (Steel says he's a "huge fan" of Pete's), Bernstein in Key West, and a bunch of other things.
Since Steel is a fan of modern opera, of Cuban music, and wants to stage seldom-seen works, Opera Chic would like to suggest him an opera that's really perfect for NYCO -- La Cubana, by Hans Werner Henze. It's vaudeville, it's sexy, it's cool. And there's Hans Magnus Enzensberger, too.
Steel rightly reasserts the greatness of Haydn, comes out as a Chausson nut, and praises Oliver Knussen -- and for Opera Chic these are three bull's eyes in a row, since she is famously a Haydn supporter, a Chausson fan, and loves Ollie very much.
One could almost -- almost -- forgive Steel for his appreciation of John Zorn.
The New York Times duly comes in second after Opera Chic (it's not a contest, guys!) and now confirms that Steel got the NYCO job. There's a small quote by Steel himself who says he plans to "dive headfirst" into the job.