Composer-conductor Matthew Aucoin Named as Recipient of 2018 MacArthur "Genius Grant"
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4 October 2018

Composer-Conductor Matthew Aucoin Named as Recipient of 2018 MacArthur Genius Grant

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COMPOSER-CONDUCTOR Matthew Aucoin, currently artist-in-residence at the Los Angeles Opera and co-artistic director of the American Modern Opera Company, was named today as the recipient of a prestigious MacArthur "genius grant." 

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which annually bestows its grants to recognize the "exceptional creativity" of twenty-five people across a range of fields and professions, cited Aucoin as having "expand[ed] the potential of vocal and orchestral music to convey emotional, dramatic, and literary meaning." Being awarded a MacArthur fellowship comes with a no-strings-attached grant of $625,000, distributed over five years to each recipient.

“When I look at past MacArthur fellows, I’m struck not just by their brilliance but, in so many cases, by their humaneness and wisdom," Aucoin said in a statement issued today. "Claudia Rankine, Peter Sellars, Claire Chase—these people are not just good at what they do: they are also good and wise human beings. I feel a deep responsibility to use this fellowship to help make the world a kinder, wiser place, and I'm honored to be granted this opportunity.”

As a composer, Aucoin's 2015 opera Crossing—inspired by Walt Whitman's experiences during the Civil War—received its world premiere at the American Repertory Theatre in Boston before going on to receive performances in 2017 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Last May, LA Opera presented the work in concert as part of its Off Grand initiative. He has been commissioned to write works by Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Metropolitan Opera and a variety of orchestral, choral, and chamber music groups, as well as by artists and performers that include Yo-Yo Ma, Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra, Salzburg’s Mozarteum Orchestra, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Brentano Quartet, tenor Paul Appleby, countertenor Anthony Roth Costanzo, and Chanticleer.

Since 2016, Aucoin has served as LA Opera's first artist-in-residence—a position that merges his roles as composer, conductor and thought leader. While in LA, Aucoin has conducted MainStage performances that include Verdi's Rigoletto and the local premiere of Philip Glass's Akhnaten, and he also founded a late-night concert series, AfterHours, in addition to coating singers in LA Opera's young artist program. 

Aucoin recently made his Santa Fe Opera debut conducting the company's new production of John Adams's Doctor Atomic. This season, he will also conduct and curate the San Diego Symphony's citywide festival, Hearing the Future. As a conductor, he has lead orchestras that include the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, where he worked as a conducting apprentice with Riccardo Muti. While still an undergraduate at Harvard, he served as the youngest assistant conductor in the history of the Metropolitan Opera. 

Aucoin is also the co-founder and co-artistic director of the American Modern Opera Company (AMOC)—a collective that involves of some of today's most innovative young singers, instrumentalists and dancers. Last season AMOC made its public debut at Boston’s American Repertory Theater and took part in a residency at New York’s Park Avenue Armory. This season, the collective makes its West Coast debut with the world premiere of With Care, a dance piece featuring new music by Aucoin. It will also give its first performances at Brooklyn’s National Sawdust and will also return to Boston for the second annual “Run AMOC!” festival. spacer 

More information can be found at the MacArthur Foundation

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