Canadian Opera Company Names New Composer-in-Residence

By Francisco Salazar

The Canadian Opera Company Academy, a pioneering development program to foster young opera artists, creators, and administrators, has announced its new Composer-in-Residence program.

This year Canadian composer Ian Cusson was selected as the inaugural artist and will begin his residency with the COC on August 19, 2019.

Cusson is a Métis and French-Canadian composer of art song, opera, and orchestral work.

Cusson noted, “The COC’s commitment to the development of new and diverse voices in the opera world speaks to their ongoing leadership in the opera community. For me, as a Métis person, this opportunity tells of the hope, resilience and long tradition of excellence in art-making of Indigenous peoples of this land, our ability to transcend borders and traditions, and our commitment to partner with forward-thinking institutions in the creation of powerful and transformative art.”

Meanwhile, Alexander Neef, COC general director said, “Opera can only evolve when creators are given the opportunity and resources to experiment and hone their skills. Ian’s drive to create is matched only by a passionate desire to nurture his craft and develop across artistic planes; the COC is very excited to provide an environment of interdisciplinary exploration to support that creative journey.”

The new program is a two-year, part-time program which will offer space, training, and hands-on mentorship, as well as time to work with individual singers and instrumentalists, participation in coachings and masterclasses, and the chance to attend artistic and administrative meetings.

During his residency, Cusson will work on a newly commissioned opera with award-winning Canadian playwright and librettist Colleen Murphy. The opera will be performed in a future season.