Opus Illuminate to Launch Documentary Series Highlighting Underrepresented Composers
Co-founded by VC Artist Nathan Meltzer and Devin Moore, Opus Illuminate is a performance organization dedicated to programming and performing works by composers of historically underrepresented communities and heritages.
After a successful first season of videos titled "The Origin," the second season, "The Space We Hold," will debut at the end of January 2022. Each of the five episodes will focus on a different composer, including Saad Haddad, Jeffrey Mumford, inti figgis-vizueta, Billy Childs, and Pamela Z.
The episodes will integrate both recorded performances and an interview structure, providing insight into the personal lives and compositional styles of each composer. The aim of the documentary is to humanize the music and facilitate a personal relationship between the audience and the composer.
The composers will discuss their education, musical upbringing, compositional voice, and unique experiences of being a composer from traditionally underrepresented or mistreated communities.
Performances of the new works will be by multiple VC Artists, Young Artists, and frequent collaborators such as Alexi Kenney, Jordan Bak, Kevin Zhu, Sterling Elliott, Christine Lamprea, Anthony Trionfo, and Nathan Meltzer himself.
In collaboration with the Alphadyne Foundation, video streaming events will be paired with live performances and discussions.
The first episode, entitled "Saad" will be premiered on YouTube on January 28, at 7:30 PM EST.
"The general Euro-masculine programming practice, and thus how classical music is mostly consumed, has been more or less identical for hundreds of years," Nathan Meltzer told The Violin Channel. "And thus we, as performers, continuously choose to turn a blind eye to the societal prejudices and injustices that actively made it impossible for people of other demographics to be successful in the arts.
"We believe we must take a stand as a community and rise above the faults of our predecessors," he added. "If we continue to play music exclusively by white men of the past, we are still complicit in the system that allowed for only them to rise to prominence. We must, as artists, reflect upon our own current society, and not merely stay blind to the effects of its deeply flawed past."
"We find ourselves at a unique time in history," Devin Moore said. "The intersection of two major society-altering events — the global Coronavirus pandemic and a nationwide confrontation with systemic and systematic racism — yields a seemingly inescapable prison saturated with political polarization, a dilapidated national economic state, and a societally detrimental absence of empathy. We as a people have diverged from a basis of compassion and have become resistant to change, despite how necessary.
"Music is the most humanistic vessel for change, and it is our responsibility as the world’s innovative trailblazers, individualistic entrepreneurs, and inspired performers to positively influence the society to which we belong, because, without music, the light of the world goes dark."
To read more about Opus Illuminate and its mission, click here.