JOHN AYLWARD AND LAINE RETTMER
REIMAGINING CONTEMPORARY OPERA
FEBRUARY 3, 2016
John Aylward and Laine Rettmer will talk about their work in the world of contemporary opera and recent collaboration, Switch, which premieres at Le Laboratoire Cambridge on February 12.
Aylward's music comprises solo works, chamber music, orchestral work and music for film. He is currently in the midst of commissions from members of Klangforum Wien, from Ensemble Shuffle and for his first work for stage, to be premiered at Le Laboratoire Cambridge. Recently, he completed commissions from Sound Icon, the Washington Square Contemporary Music Society and from Open Space. Aylward regularly advocates for composers of all stripes as a performer (pianist) and as a director of the Etchings Festival for Contemporary Music. Born and raised in the Southwest U.S., his artistic concerns remain somewhat related to that landscape and culture: dislocation, organicism, native mythologies and the nature of relations within semi-isolated systems. Currently, he live in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and teaches music composition at Clark University. Awards include a Goddard Lieberson Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship from Harvard University, a Koussevitzky Commission from the Library of Congress, a Fulbright Grant to Germany, a DAAD fellowship and First Prize from the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) among other honors. Other fellowships and residencies include those from the MacDowell Colony, Tanglewood, the Aspen Music School, the Atlantic Center for the Arts and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.
She is currently the resident stage director for the New York based company LoftOpera, a position she's held for two consecutive seasons. Rettmer's most recent production of Lucrezia Borgia played a sold out run and the New York Times said of it, "Ms. Rettmer evokes a world in which sex, power and violence have always been indistinguishable. [...] a scintillating, frenzied...wholly convincing performance of Lucrezia Borgia. Her Barbiere di Siviglia last November was called, "funny, dark-edge smart... Ms. Rettmer offered fresh takes on the story... the production calls for a resounding "cheers", by the New York Times and made their top ten funniest classical productions of 2014. Her 2014 spring production of La Boheme was called, "Triumphant... a performance that is as true and moving as any I can remember in 40 years of opera-going," by the New York Observer. This fall she also directed Joyce Di Donato's newest album release concert which was live-streamed from a metal working shop in Brooklyn, replete with live welding. And this past December she had the first work-in-progress showing at BRIC Gallery in Brooklyn of her piece which combines Bellini's version of Romeo and Juliet with songs from the album 69 Love Songs by the Magnetic Fields. Previous opera associate and assistant director credits include Powder Her Face, which opened New York City Opera's last season at BAM and Evan Ziporyn's opera A House in Bali, which premiered at Berkley Rep and toured to Boston and BAM. She has collaborated with the theater and opera director, Jay Scheib, for the past seven years on thirteen productions, as well as the upcoming Electra and new Jocasta for the Athen's festival this July.