Project: Inheritance

Inheritance is a chamber opera designed for a lead soprano plus three female voices and a chamber ensemble. This opera’s production will be housed within a multimedia environment that examines gun culture in America through the lens of Sarah Winchester’s life. According to popular belief, Winchester was an eccentric widow self-imprisoned in her labyrinth-like home and seeking refuge from the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles. The legend surrounding her life, impossible to extract from her actual history, is indicative of America’s inability to separate fact and fiction within gun-debate discourse. Although the libretto for Inheritance is anchored in Winchester’s biography, this work explores her life and home as a metaphor for America’s violent legacy and deeply complex relationship with guns.

Awardee: Ligia Bouton

Performing Arts, 2016

Ligia Bouton was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and spent her childhood in London, England.  She received her education at Vassar College and at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Her creative work combines sculpture with performance, digital video and photography to recreate appropriated narratives. Each project wrestles with the intersection of functionality and narrative, drawing on sources from art history, literature and science. Recent projects have been shown at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Guildhall Art Gallery in London, SITE Santa Fe, the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Art Alliance. Reviews of her work have appeared in Art in America, Art Papers, The Art Newspaper, The Philadelphia Enquirer and The New York Times. Ligia Bouton is currently Associate Professor of Art and Art History at the University of New Mexico.

Awardee: Matt Donovan

Performing Arts, 2016

Matt Donovan is the author of two collections of poetry Ten Burnt Lakes (forthcoming, Tupelo Press, 2017) and Vellum (Mariner, 2007), as well as the collection of lyric essays A Cloud of Unusual Size and Shape: Meditations on Ruin and Redemption (Trinity University Press, 2016). His work has appeared in numerous journals, including AGNI, American Poetry Review, Gettysburg Review, Kenyon Review, Poetry, Seneca Review, Threepenny Review and Virginia Quarterly Review. Donovan is the recipient of a Rome Prize in Literature, a Whiting Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, a Larry Levis Reading Prize, a Breadloaf Fellowship in poetry, and a Lannan Writing Residency Fellowship. Donovan received his MA from Lancaster University and his MFA from New York University. He teaches in the Creative Writing and Literature Department at Santa Fe University of Art and Design.

Awardee: Lei Liang

Performing Arts, 2016

Heralded as “one of the most exciting voices in New Music” (The Wire), Lei Liang is a Chinese-born American composer whose works have been described as “hauntingly beautiful” by The New York Times, and as “far, far out of the ordinary, brilliantly original and inarguably gorgeous” by The Washington Post. A finalist for the 2015 Pulitzer Prize in Music, Lei Liang is winner of the 2011 Rome Prize, the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and Koussevitzky Foundation Award from the Library of Congress. He was commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and Alan Gilbert for the inaugural concert of the CONTACT! new music series. Lei Liang’s music is recorded on Naxos, New World, Bridge and Mode Records and published exclusively by Schott Music Corporation (New York). He serves as Professor of Music at the University of California, San Diego.