Acclaimed composer and Sunderman Conservatory of Music Prof. Avner Dorman shares insights into writing his first opera, Wahnfried, which premieres in Karlsruhe, Germany at the Badisches Staatstheater Karlsruhe on January 28.
Since I began teaching at Gettysburg College’s Sunderman Conservatory of Music in 2010, I've been lucky enough to both teach and compose music at the same time. While there's always a challenge balancing creative work with teaching, I've found the back-and-forth keeps me on my toes: in the morning, I'll teach music theory to a class full of inquisitive students, and then in the afternoon I might work on a composition in my studio—incorporating many of those same ideas from my class into whatever piece I'm currently writing.
At no time in my career have I found this relationship to be so complex—and so fruitful—than in the past two years while I was writing my first opera, Wahnfried. While the libretto of the work is ripe for topics to discuss, my job was to bring these characters to life—and to compose more than two hours of music.