Lisa Bielawa

Composer-vocalist Lisa Bielawa is a 2009 Rome Prize winner in Musical Composition. The New York Times describes her music as, “ruminative, pointillistic and harmonically slightly tart.” She is the recipient of the 2017 Music Award from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, and she received a 2018 Los Angeles Area Emmy nomination for her unprecedented, made-for-TV-and-online opera Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch's Accuser.


In 2019, Bielawa became the inaugural Composer-in-Residence and Chief Curator at the new Philip Glass Institute (PGI) at The New School’s Center of the Performing Arts. The PGI is a landmark partnership between The New School, the Philip Glass Ensemble (PGE), and Bielawa, who began touring as the vocalist with the Ensemble in 1992. In 1997, she co-founded the MATA Festival, which celebrates the work of young composers. Bielawa served as Artistic Director of the San Francisco Girls Chorus from 2013-2018 and was named a William Randolph Hearst Visiting Artist Fellow at the American Antiquarian Society for 2018. Her discography includes albums on the Tzadik, TROY, Innova, BMOP/sound, Orange Mountain Music and Sono Luminus labels.

Bielawa’s Vireo was produced as part of her artist residency at Grand Central Art Center in Santa Ana, California and in partnership with KCETLink and Single Cel. The opera was filmed at locations across the country, and featured over 350 musicians. The Los Angeles Times called it an opera, “unlike any you have seen before, in content and in form,” and San Francisco Classical Voice described it as, “poetic and fantastical, visually stunning and relentlessly abstract.”  In February 2019, Vireo was released as a two CD + DVD box set on Orange Mountain Music, featuring all of the music and episodes. It is coming to the stage as VIREO LIVE, a hybrid film-opera experience in 2020.


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