New York City Opera Appoints Myra Huang Head of Music Staff
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by BWW News Desk
New York City Opera has announced the appointment of Myra Huang, whom Opera News has praised as "among the top accompanists of her generation" and "a colouristic tour de force," as Head of Music Staff. The announcement comes on the eve of a 2013 season full of new productions, beginning with Thomas Adès' Powder Her Face, directed by Jay Scheib, February 15-23 at BAM.
As Head of Music Staff, Ms. Huang will oversee the rehearsal of singers and other activities of the music staff, and played a key role in this season's casting. Ms. Huang was a member of the Company's music staff from September 2004 through June 2006, and returned to the staff last season, but as a freelancer. The Head of Music Staff position had been eliminated in June 2011, and is now back on a full-year, part-time basis.
New York City Opera General Manager and Artistic Director George Steel said of the appointment, "I am thrilled not only to see the artistic staff growing, but to welcome Myra back to it, and to have her in this more senior position after her years of work with the company. She first joined the staff, as assistant conductor, just a few years into a career that is still very young, and already so rich with accomplishment. I admire her taste, rigor and excellence."
Ms. Huang commented, "I am delighted to return to NYC Opera as Head of Music Staff. It is a great privilege to be a part of NYC Opera's artistic process, and to contribute to its longstanding tradition of launching talented singers into their careers."
As a pianist, Myra Huang regularly performs in recitals and chamber music concerts around the world. Notable venues include Carnegie Hall, The Metropolitan Opera House, The Metropolitan Museum, The Supreme Court, La Scala in Milan, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society Concerts and The University of Chicago Presents series, to name a few.
In addition to New York City Opera, Ms. Huang has served on the music staffs of the Washington National Opera and Opera Pacific. Among the conductors she has worked with are James Conlon, Plácido Domingo, Riccardo Frizza, Richard Hickox, Christopher Hogwood, Zubin Mehta, Daniel Oren, Robert Spano, Patrick Summers and Xian Zhang. From 2006 until 2008 she was a member of the music staff at the Palau De Les Arts in Valencia, Spain, where she worked closely with Artistic Director Lorin Maazel and Director Zubin Mehta. She is a staff pianist for the Operalia competition, directed by Plácido Domingo at opera houses around the world including La Scala in Milan, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, the Opera House of the National Grand Theater in Beijing and Teatro Real in Madrid. She studied at The Juilliard School and The Manhattan School of Music.
The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Boston Globe and Time Out NY, among others, named her album Winter Words, with tenor Nicholas Phan, among the best classical recordings of 2011. Her album Paysages, with soprano Susanna Phillips, garnered similar acclaim.
For nearly seventy years, since Mayor Fiorello La Guardia established it as "The People's Opera," New York City Opera has introduced generation after generation of young singers who are stars in the making, brought the public exciting new works and compelling, fresh interpretations of classics, acted as a champion for American composers and performers, and ensured that every New Yorker can experience the live art of opera.
Now is a time of extraordinary achievement by the Company. Under the leadership of George Steel, New York City Opera's ninth General Manager and Artistic Director, the Company will, in Spring 2013, present four brand-new productions, all by New Yorkers, in two of the city's most iconic venues: the Brooklyn Academy Of Music and New York City Center, New York City Opera's original home, which Mayor LaGuardia dubbed "The People's Theater."
In the past three years, 64 singers and 25 directors and designers have made their New York City Opera debuts. Among singers alone, those who have gone from New York City Opera debuts to international success are Jennifer Rowley (2012 Orpheus, making her ROH Covent Garden debut this year); Joshua Hopkins (2011 A Quiet Place, made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2012); David Lomelí (2011 The Elixir of Love debuting with Santa Fe in 2011 and Glyndebourne in 2012); Corinne Winters (2012 George London Competition winner; 2012 Rufus Wainwright Concert); and Anthony Roth Costanzo (2010 Partenope made his Metropolitan Opera debut in 2012).
These artists join the ranks of more than 3,000 young singers whose international careers New York City Opera has launched, including David Daniels, Joyce DiDonato, Lauren Flanigan, Reneé Fleming, Sherrill Milnes, Samuel Ramey, Beverly Sills, Tatiana Troyanos, Carol Vaness, and Frederica von Stade, to name a few.
Many innovations that define New York City Opera's identity and mission—promoting accessibility through the use of supertitles, prioritizing affordable ticket prices, nurturing young American artists, championing 20th-century opera and American works, and presenting groundbreaking productions—have been adopted by leading U.S. companies of all sizes.
Prior to New York City Opera, Steel, a protégé of Leonard Bernstein, served as Executive Director of Columbia University's Miller Theatre, which he transformed into one of New York's most acclaimed showcases for early and modern music. He has twice received the Chamber Music America Award for Adventurous Programming (2001-02 and 2005), the 2003 Trailblazer Award from the American Music Center, and the 2003 ASCAP Concert Music Award.
At New York City Opera, Steel has achieved the first balanced budget the Company has enjoyed in a decade. He has, in so doing, accomplished a feat that was all but unimaginable just a few years ago: helping the nation's fourth oldest opera company find a sustainable model that will allow it to remain true to its original promise for decades to come.