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Conrad Cummings

A versatile composer on the faculty at The Juilliard School Evening Division, CONRAD CUMMINGS  has received the following praise from the NYTimes: "Mr. Cummings is his own man;...[with an] impressive ability to change styles...while retaining a compositional image." His works have been performed at Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Davies Symphony Hall in San Francisco, and by the New Jersey, Indianapolis, and Louisville Orchestras. Commissions include Canadian Brass, Opera Delaware, and San Francisco Opera Center. His ensemble of amplified instruments and voices appears frequently at alternative clubs and performance spaces. The Golden Gate is his fifth opera.

A full-evening version of Positions 1956, a self-help opera in three parts with libretto by Michael Korie, commissioned by Washington DC opera company UrbanArias received its fully-staged premiere production in April 2012, followed by a revival of the political campaign opera Photo-Op by the same company in September 2012.

Prior operas include Eros and Psyche, libretto by the composer, Oberlin Opera Theater (“I can’t think of anybody else who’s doing what he’s doing right now.” the New Yorker’s Andrew Porter); Positions 1956, libretto by Michael Korie, P.S. 122 (“an amusing piece given substance by some tender and some keen, rueful moments,” The New Yorker); Photo-Op, libretto by James Siena, La Mama with Ridge Theater (“The music is hard-hitting in its clarity,” Kyle Gann, the Village Voice); and Tonkin, libretto by the composer with Thomas Bird, Opera Delaware (“Mr. Cummings samples musical history for techniques and sonorities the way rappers sample pop rhythms.” James R. Oestreich, The New York Times).

Cummings trained at Yale, Stony Brook, and Columbia, did post-doc work at IRCAM in Paris, taught at Oberlin Conservatory for ten years where he directed the music and media program, moved to New York to run a kids’ interactive media company, and since 2003 teaches composition in the Evening Division at The Juilliard School.

Recordings are available on CRI’s Emergency Music label; honors include MacDowell, Djerassi and Tanglewood fellowships and grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Opera America, and The Rockefeller Foundation.

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(Cummings photo credit: Sandro Lamberti)

Vikram Seth

Best-selling author VIKRAM SETH was born in 1952 in Calcutta, India, educated at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, Stanford University and Nanjing University, and has traveled widely and lived in Britain, California, India and China.

His first novel, The Golden Gate: A Novel in Verse (1986), describing the experiences of a group of friends living in California, gained international attention and extraordinary sales. His acclaimed epic of Indian life, A Suitable Boy (1993), won the WH Smith Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize and sold over two million copies. An Equal Music (1999), the story of a violinist haunted by the memory of a former lover, has been translated and published in sixteen languages.

Vikram Seth is also the author of a travel book, From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet (1983), an account of a journey through Tibet, China and Nepal that won the Thomas Cook Travel Book Award, and a libretto, Arion and the Dolphin: A Libretto (1994), which was performed at the English National Opera in June 1994, with music by Alec Roth.

His poetry includes Mappings (1980), The Humble Administrator's Garden (1985), winner of the Commonwealth Poetry Prize (Asia), and All You Who Sleep Tonight: Poems (1990). His children's book, Beastly Tales from Here and There (1992), consists of ten stories about animals told in verse.

Vikram Seth's Two Lives, a memoir of the marriage of his great uncle and aunt, appeared in 2005. Recently announced, A Suitable Girl is the much-awaited sequel to A Suitable Boy, scheduled for world-wide release in 2016.