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Short Biography:

David T. Little is “one of the most imaginative young composers” on the scene (The New Yorker), with “a knack for overturning musical conventions” (The New York Times). His operas Dog Days, JFK, and Vinkensport (librettos by Royce Vavrek), and Soldier Songs have been widely acclaimed, “prov[ing] beyond any doubt that opera has both a relevant present and a bright future” (The New York Times).

Other recent works include how it begins / how it ends (London Sinfonietta / BGSU), The Conjured Life (Cabrillo Festival / Cristian Măcelaru), Ghostlight—ritual for six players (eighth blackbird / The Kennedy Center), AGENCY (Kronos Quartet), and dress in magic amulets, dark, from My feet (The Crossing / ICE). Little is currently composing a new opera with Royce Vavrek, commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera / Lincoln Center Theater new works program, and the music-theatre work Artaud in the Black Lodge with poet Anne Waldman (Beth Morrison Projects).

His music has been presented by the LA Philharmonic, Carnegie Hall, LA Opera, the Park Avenue Armory, Holland Festival, the Bang on a Can Marathon, BAM Next Wave, Opéra de Montréal, and elsewhere. He co-founded the New Music Bake Sale, previously served as Executive Director of MATA, and from 2012-2018, served on the board of directors at Chamber Music America. He teaches Composition at Mannes-The New School, and from 2014–2017, served as Composer-in-Residence with Opera Philadelphia and Music-Theatre Group. The founding artistic director of the ensemble Newspeak, his music can be heard on New Amsterdam, Innova, and National Sawdust Tracks labels.

David T. Little is published by Boosey & Hawkes.

– June 2018
This biography can be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with the following credit:
Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes.

Long Biography:

David T. Little is “one of the most imaginative young composers” (New Yorker) on the scene with “a knack for overturning musical conventions” (New York Times). His works for larger forces, which often grapple with political and existential themes, have unsettled the classical music world and set him apart as “a hope for the future of opera” (Washington Post).

Little’s operas have amassed vast critical acclaim and launched him into the international spotlight. Dog Days, his 2012 chamber opera collaboration with librettist Royce Vavrek, was praised as “one of the most exciting new operas of recent years” (Wall Street Journal). After its world premiere at Peak Performances with Beth Morrison Projects, Dog Days traveled to Los Angeles Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Prototype Festival, and broke into the European opera scene with premieres at Theater Bielefeld and Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater Schwerin in Germany. Following this success, Little and Vavrek unveiled their first grand opera, JFK (2016), an emotional and shocking theater piece that Opera News called “ravishing… a triumphant work” and the Dallas Observer called “soul-shattering.” Other operas by Little include his multimedia theatre piece Soldier Songs (2006), which has been presented by the Holland Festival, Prototype Festival, Atlanta Opera, San Diego Opera, and Des Moines Metro Opera at an active military base; and Vinkensport or, The Finch Opera (2010), a one-act comedy that the New York Times praised as “exuberant” and “vibrant.”

Little is currently working on a new opera commissioned by The Metropolitan Opera / Lincoln Center Theater new works program, and the music-theatre work Artaud in the Black Lodge with Outrider legend Anne Waldman (Beth Morrison Projects). The 2017–2018 season sees the Canadian premiere of JFK in January 2018 with Opéra de Montréal, directed by Thaddeus Strassberger, as well as the world premiere of a new chamber version of Vinkensport or, The Finch Opera at Opera Saratoga’s 2018 Summer Festival. Additionally, Dog Days is performed at Louisiana State University in January, and the multimedia Soldier Songs is staged at Fargo-Moorhead Civic Opera in North Dakota in April.

Beyond the opera world, Little’s concert works have found champions among today’s most engaging, boundary-pushing performers. Conductor Marin Alsop, who has premiered three of his works, stated to the Baltimore Sun, “David is a real talent whose work has deservedly gained widespread recognition in recent years.” Recent highlights include the Cabrillo Festival’s world premiere presentation of The Conjured Life for orchestra, a centennial tribute to Lou Harrison; Third Coast Percussion’s album release tour of Haunt of Last Nightfall; a 40th-anniversary commission by Kronos Quartet of AGENCY; the commission, tour, and recording of Hellhound by cellist Maya Beiser; a Kennedy Center commission for Ghostlight—ritual for six players, premiered by eighth blackbird; and dress in magic amulets, dark, from My feet, commissioned by The Crossing and International Contemporary Ensemble, who presented the work at the 2016 Mostly Mozart Festival and released a recording of the piece on Innova Recordings in 2017. This season sees the premiere of Little’s Accumulation of Purpose, a solo piano piece for Bruce Levingston about the Freedom Riders, who protested racial segregation on buses in the south and were met with brutal violence. The piece receives a preview performance in Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, followed by its premiere performance at Carnegie Hall in April.

Little has also written extensively for his amplified chamber ensemble, Newspeak. Hailed as “potent” (Alex Ross), “innovative” (New York magazine), and “fierce” (Time Out New York), Newspeak explores the relationship of music and politics, while confronting head-on the boundaries between the classical and the rock traditions. The ensemble has been featured at the Park Avenue Armory, Ecstatic Music Festival, Bang on a Can Marathon, and the Holland Festival.

His collaborations with choreographers Nanine Linning, Eliza Miller, Anita Cheng, Jessica Fogel, Adele Myers, Rebecca Lazier, and Aimee MacDonald were presented at Jacob’s Pillow, Tanglewood, Joyce SoHo, The Invisible Dog, Scotia Festival, Ann Arbor Dance Works, the Edinburgh Fringe Fest, and on tour throughout Greece.

Little has received awards and recognition from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Meet The Composer, the American Music Center, the Harvey Gaul Competition, BMI, and ASCAP. He has held residencies with Opera Philadelphia and Music-Theatre Group, the University of Michigan, and Zürich’s Apples and Olives Festival; and his music has been presented at the Tanglewood and Aspen music festivals. He recently received a 2017 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

Little holds degrees from Susquehanna University, The University of Michigan, and Princeton University (PhD); and his primary teachers have included Osvaldo Golijov, Steven Mackey, Paul Lansky, William Bolcom, and Michael Daugherty. He is on the composition faculty at Mannes—The New School in New York City, serves as Distinguished Guest Composer and Senior Lecturer in New Music at Shenandoah Conservatory, and has also taught music in New York City public schools and shelters through Carnegie Hall’s Musical Connections program. An active member of the creative community in New York City, Little is a founder of Brooklyn’s annual New Music Bake Sale, and has previously served as the Executive Director of the MATA Festival. Little’s music is published by Boosey & Hawkes, and can be heard on New Amsterdam Records, Innova Recordings, and VIA Records.

— October 2017

This biography can be reproduced free of charge in concert programs with the following credit:
Reprinted by kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes