Gene Scheer is a celebrated librettist, songwriter and lyricist, and today’s speaker. His works have been performed in respected venues such as the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, the Monnaie in Brussels, and the opera houses of many cities across the country. Mr. Scheer earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in music from the Eastman School of Music and was awarded a scholarship to the University of Cologne and a fellowship to study at the Hochschule Für Musik in Vienna. While in Europe, he also acted and sang musical theater in Germany; however, he is best known for his compositions, which include song cycles, lyric dramas, operas, and oratorios.
Among the many highlights of Mr. Scheer’s career so far are his work as a librettist with Tobias Picker on “An American Tragedy,” which premiered at the Metropolitan Opera; his “Therese Raquin,” another opera written with Picker; and more recent collaborations with Jake Heggie including “Moby-Dick,” “Three Decembers” and “To Hell and Back.” In 1999, his song “American Anthem” was played at the unveiling of the restored “Star-Spangled Banner” flag at the Smithsonian, which was attended by President Clinton. It was later performed by Norah Jones for use in a Ken Burns documentary and by Patti Labelle for a national broadcast special on PBS. I highly recommend hearing Mr. Scheer discuss the song and its inspiration on NPR’s “What’s In A Song” here.
Mr. Scheer’s compositions have been sung by a wide range of celebrated artists, including Patti Labelle, Nathan Gunn, Renee Fleming, and Patti LuPone. In addition, he has collaborated with other well-known musicians such as Wynton Marsalis and Steven Stucky. Reviewers have called his works “moving, skillfully written” (New York Times), “compelling and entertaining” (Sacramento Bee) and “sharply poignant, deeply affecting” (Seattle Times). For a taste of Mr. Scheer’s compositions, listen to the Norah Jones version of “American Anthem” or hear him sing his own cabaret song “Another New Voice Teacher” in this interview.
We enjoyed hearing Mr. Scheer discuss his varied and renowned career today.