This Wednesday, I have the pleasure of introducing Gene Scheer, one of the most celebrated songwriters, lyricists, and – most of all – librettists of our time. To those new to the term, let me first clarify what a librettist is: he is the writer of a libretto, which is the text used in a large and extended musical work such as oratorio, opera, operetta, masque, cantata, or musical. In some cases, the “libretto” can also refer to the text of major sacred works, namely the mass, requiem, and sacred cantata.
He received his education at the Eastman School of Music, where he earned his Bachelor of Music and Masters of Music. Upon graduation, he was awarded a scholarship to study at the University of Cologne in Germany. He subsequently participated in a fellowship at Vienna’s Hochschule Für Musik. While in Vienna, Scheer was granted lead musical theater roles, which he also performed in Munich and Cologne.
His works as a composer and librettist have been performed around the world, notably with the Dallas Opera and Symphony Orchestra (respectively), the Houston Grand Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, the Linbury Theater at Covent Garden in London, and more recently in Carnegie Hall. Through his career, he has collaborated with composer Jake Heggie, composer Steven Stucky, and jazz trumpeter/composer/bandleader Wynton Marsalis, among many other great talents today.
As a composer, he has written songs for many performing artists, such as Jennifer Larmore, Denyce Graces and Nathan Gunn. In fact, his piece “American Anthem” has been performed for President Clinton and the First Lady, on “Oprah” after the September 11th tragedy, at President George Bush’s 2005 Inauguration, and by Patti Labelle and the US Army Band and Chorus.
Please join me in welcoming Mr. Scheer on Wednesday the 19th, for our open panel discussion.