Ahab Symphony World Premiere

Composer Jake Heggie was the 2010-11 artist-in-residence for UNT's Institute for the Advancement of the Arts. During his six weeks on campus, he coached composition and voice students and worked on his UNT commission <em>Ahab Symphony</em>, which will be performed on campus April 24. (Photo by Jonathan Reynolds)The world premiere of Jake Heggie's Ahab Symphony will be performed on campus by the UNT Symphony Orchestra and Grand Chorus April 24.

Heggie, composer of the internationally acclaimed opera Moby-Dick, coached College of Music students and presented concerts of his works during his six weeks as artist-in-residence for UNT's Institute for the Advancement of the Arts in 2010-11. The artist-in-residence award included the commissioning of a new work, which Heggie chose to write for orchestra, chorus and a soloist, also based on the novel Moby-Dick and the poem Herman Melville by W.H. Auden. The concert at the Murchison Performing Arts Center will feature music faculty member and internationally renowned tenor Richard Croft, who is slated to perform in the solo role of Ahab.

"This award provided an extraordinary opportunity for our students to learn from one of the masters of our generation while at the same time presenting a significant sampling of Jake's compositions to our Denton public," says James Scott, dean of the College of Music. "His music always makes both an immediate and a lasting impact. We are most honored to have his first full-scale symphony piece composed for UNT, and we are all eagerly awaiting its performance."

In addition to Moby-Dick, Heggie has composed the operas Dead Man Walking, Three Decembers and The End of the Affair; more than 200 art songs; and numerous orchestral and chamber works. Dead Man Walking is one of the most performed new American operas with nearly 150 performances on five continents since its premiere in 2000. As pianist and composer, Heggie collaborates with many of the world's great singers, including Susan Graham, Frederica von Stade, Joyce DiDonato, Audra McDonald, Kiri Te Kanawa, Ben Heppner, Stephen Costello and Bryan Terfel.