Paul Moravec: A Composer's Perspective

 Pulitzer Prize (2004) winning composer, Paul Moravec, is well-known to the Princeton Community.  Many of us met him when he was Artist-in-Residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ.  Dr. Wendy Heller, Scheide Professor of Music History and  Chair Department of Music at Princeton University, had recommended that he introduce himself to us, which he did.  And we have followed his remarkable career ever since.  Now his recent oratorio, Sanctuary Road, is nominated for a GrammyAward and named the Classical Album of January 2020 by NPR.  But more on that shortly.

In March 2011, Moravec and librettist Terry Teachout, along with members of the Center City Opera cast, presented a workshop for PFO featuring their new opera Danse Russe.  Commissioned by Center City Opera in Philadelphia, it is based on the work of Igor Stravinsky and his own premier of The Rite of Spring.  We were delighted to enjoy an evening of music and camaraderie at Smith House, in Princeton Landing.  Ellen Veden was our sponsor and Bob McMahan provided Russian tunes on the accordion.  In addition to that evening, a number of us were also privileged to travel to the Zimmerli Art Museum - Rutgers University to see priceless original posters from the premier of The Rite of Spring.  John Burkhalter provided the introduction and contact for us to set that up, and George Goeke saw to it that we all safely got into the museum during what was a cold, rainy winter day.

Then in January of 2015, Paul presented a new program for us, sharing insights into his creative process from composition and initial collaboration to the performance of a full scale opera production.  This delightful afternoon was hosted by Marlene Luchessi at her lovely Princeton home.  The music program, performed by soprano Colleen McDonald, baritone Jacob Kindermann, and pianist William Hobbs, included arias from The Letter (2009), Danse Russe (2011), The King’s Man (2013), and Paul’s latest work The Shining, which would premier with rave reviews in 2016 with the Minnesota Opera. 

Not one to rest on his laurels, Paul continues to compose a wide variety of both instrumental and vocal music. In 2018, his latest work, Sanctuary Road ,premiered with The Oratorio Society of New York.  The subsequent album has been nominated for a 2020 Grammy and awarded the Album of the month for January 2020 by NPR.  

And now, a decade after our first program with Paul he has graciously agreed to offer another presentation for PFO.

Please check out Paul’s website: