Rochester's Eastman Opera Theater Hires New Artistic Director
Timothy Long is the current music director of the Eastman School of Music’s opera division and will step into his dual role as of Spring 2023
Timothy Long has served as the music director of Rochester’s Eastman Opera Theater (EOT) since 2018. His new additional role as EOT’s artistic director will begin following outgoing artistic director Steven Daigle, who is set to retire this spring.
In the early 1990s, Long was a graduate assistant at EOT, playing the piano for opera rehearsals under the late director Richard Pearlman and conductor David Effron. Now, Long also works as an associate professor of opera at the Eastman School.
“It's just such an unexpected pleasure to be able to return here and to lead the program,” Long told RocCity News. “I just never in my mind thought that would ever occur.”
Long first trained as a pianist and violinist, which led to work with singers, and then to conducting engagements that have included the Boston Lyric Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Pacific Opera Victoria, The Juilliard School, Yale Opera, and many more.
He assisted conductor Robert Spano for three years at the Brooklyn Philharmonic and later became an associate conductor at the New York City Opera for two years.
As a soloist, he has performed at Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Lincoln Center, Merkin Hall, National Sawdust, Wigmore Hall, and with ensembles such as the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra, Sociedad Filarmónica de Conciertos, and Eastman Philharmonia. As an educator, he has taught at The Juilliard School, Yale School of Music, and SUNY-Stony Brook.
With Long conducting both the winter and spring productions, EOT will continue to emphasize 20th- and 21st-century operas and traditional works, plus program works that have been underrepresented or never heard before.
“When we really started looking at having more underrepresented creators in our operas, what I most noticed is the immense amount of repertoire we had been ignoring,” said Long, who is of Muscogee Creek and Choctaw descent.
“Look at what we were denying ourselves — a whole library of repertoire that has been unexplored,” he continued. “So even just on a musical level, we owe it to ourselves to look beyond the traditional canon…We need people who are empathetic, who know how to listen and know how to communicate,” he added. “That is everything about opera. And that really is my goal.”
“We are so excited to share Eastman Opera Theatre’s 2023-24 season with you. The repertoire explores the idea of belief through mythology and religion and its power to challenge and transform us,” Long said on announcing the new season. “The music of Nkeiru Okoye, Jake Heggie, Richard Strauss, Henry Purcell and Francis Poulenc will enlighten and entertain with compositions from the Baroque era through the 21st century.”