Doug Opel
[Composer]

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About

updated June 2015

Doug Opel explores amalgamations of rock, jazz, pop and electronica to develop a compositional language that is at once, dark and humorous, controlled and chaotic, classical and contemporary.

He has served as composer-in-residence at the University of Wyoming's New Frontiers Music Festival, Visiting Assistant Professor and Guest Lecturer at Gustavus Adolphus College, and as board member, curator and contributing composer to upstate New York's Vision of Sound.

Opel’s recent appearances include performances by the newly formed California Sound Collective, at National YoungArts Week, Nautilus Music Theater and Idyllwild Arts Academy. Past presenters of his work include New York's Keys to the Future and DUMBO Dance Festival, Chicago's Pianoforte Salon Series and the Duquesne Contemporary Ensemble. He has received repeat performances from such artists and ensembles as Zeitgeist, Duo Petrof, American Modern Ensemble, Vox Novus, the Definiens Project, cellists David Carter and Amanda Gookin, and pianists Nicola Melville, Esther Wang & Jill Dawe.

Among his commissions are new works for the Chatterton-McCright Duo, singer/actor Eric Morris, the Bridge Chamber Music Festival, Ricochet Duo, Atlantic Chamber Ensemble, the Chautauqua Institution, MATA, pianists Robert Satterlee and Nicola Melville, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and bass-baritone Timothy Jones. He has also written for former Kronos Quartet and solo artist/cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, PUBLIQuartet and the ensemble Intersection.

Opel is a winner of Definien's Composer Commission Competition (C3). The resulting piece, Soul Settings: Triptych  1 - utilizing the poetry of Minnesota-based poet William Reichard - received its premiere at the Fresno New Music Festival. He is also a recipient of the Aaron Copland Award, a residency that allows emerging composers to work uninterrupted and in privacy at Copland House - the last home of Aaron Copland.

Opel's 3 preludes to missing the point can be found on Melville's Dozen, a collection of piano pieces commissioned, performed and recorded by pianist Nicola Melville [Innova Recordings]. His Dilukkenjon for two pianos, appears both on Duo Petrof's 88x2 [Columna Música], and the newly released Powerhouse Pianists II, featuring American Modern Ensemble pianists Stephen Gosling and Blair McMillen [American Modern Recordings].

Opel holds a B.S. from Ball State University, an M.M. from the University of Michigan and a D.M. in from Indiana University. He studied composition with Ernesto Pellegrini, David Foley, Kamran Ince, George B. Wilson, William Albright, Don Freund, Jeff Hass, Eugene O'Brien and Claude Baker and piano with Marjorie Meredith, Pia Sebastiani and Dickran Atamian. He has also studied with U.K. composers Oliver Knussen and Colin Matthews.

He currently resides in Northfield, Minnesota.

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updated June 2015

Exploring amalgamations of contemporary, rock, jazz, pop and electronic music, Doug Opel’s work has been sought after and performed by the National Young Arts Foundation, American Modern Ensemble, Nautilus Music-Theater, Vox Novus, Duo Petrof, Keys to the Future, Vision of Sound and the Duquesne Contemporary Ensemble. He is a recipient of the Aaron Copland Award and winner of Definiens' Composition Competition Competition.

He has received commissions from the Chatterton-McCright Duo, Ricochet Duo, the Bridge Chamber Music Festival, the Chautauqua Institution, the Atlantic Chamber Ensemble, pianists Robert Satterlee and Nicola Melville, MATA, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic and bass-baritone Timothy Jones. He has also written for cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, PUBLIQuartet and the ensemble Intersection.

Opel’s 3 preludes to missing the point can be found on Melville’s Dozen, by pianist Nicola Melville [Innova Recordings]. Dilukkenjon for two pianos, appears both on Duo Petrof’s 88x2 [Columna Música], and the newly released Powerhouse Pianists II, featuring pianists Stephen Gosling and Blair McMillen [American Modern Recordings].

Download Word Document

Works

Serried with a Tinge of Bop 2:45

for piano

Bodacious Gaits 6:00

for piano

3 Preludes to Missing the Point 8:00

for piano

Dilukkenjon 8:30

for two pianos

Amalgams 5:30

for flute and piano

Kids These Days 4:30

for piano trio

playtime with elvis & krispy 6:00

for marimba and piano

Now That Your Dollar Bills Have Sprouted Wings 6:00

for tenor voice, picc, ob, b-fl cl, bsn, pno, drum kit, 2 vlns, vla, vc, db

Rite of an Appalachian Bolero in Blue...from Mars 7:30

for string quartet

Pop Swatches 5:30

for cello and piano

Soul Settings: Triptych 1 11:00

for fl (doubling picc), ob, b-fl cl (doubling bass cl), vln and vc with spoken word

slight change of plan (with bubbles) 6:00

for b-fl cl, pno and perc

NeoCons & Libertines 11:00

for pno/perc, alto and tenor sax, vc & db

Patchwork 10:00

for picc, ob, e-fl cl, cb, hn, tpt, tbn, perc, pno, 2 vlns, vla, vc, db

Eine Kinda Bachmusik 3:00

for fl, b-fl cl, bsn, marimba

Dilukkenjon 8:30

for 2 pianos

Ferlinghetti 18:30

for speaker, b-fl cl, hp, pno, 2 perc, cb

Pentableaux 18:00

for fl (doubling picc, bass fl), oboe (doubling eh), b-fl cl (doubling e-fl, bass cl), Hn, bsn (doubling cb)

Faces 7:00

for Baritone, Vln, Vla, VC and Pno

Hydroforms 10:00

for fl, bass cl, perc

Fragments, Pulses and Dialogues 7:00

for 2 pianos

Drive! 11:00

for chamber orchestra

Episodica 14:30

for 3(picc)33(e-fl)3(contra) 4331 timp, 3 perc, hp, pno/cel, strings

Dilukkenjon 9:00

for 3(picc)3(EH)3(b cl)3(contra) 4331 timp, 3 perc, hp, pno, strings

The Unbearable Being of Likeness 1:00

for digital audio

Hell's Hounds are Yorkies 1:00

for digital audio

I must warn you 2:00

for digital audio

Carving Lorien 8:00

for violin and tape

Our God 6:25

for tape

Hell's Hounds are Yorkies
Hell's Hounds are Yorkies
Now That Your Dollar Bills Have Sprouted Wings
Now That Your Dollar Bills Have Sprouted Wings
Playtime with Elvis & Krispy
Playtime with Elvis & Krispy
Pop Swatches (World Premiere)
Pop Swatches (World Premiere)
Carvling Lorien
Carvling Lorien
The Unbearable Being of Likeness
The Unbearable Being of Likeness
Nautilus Music-Theater
Nautilus Music-Theater
Jeff Zeigler Colloquium
Jeff Zeigler Colloquium
Chautauqua Piano Commission
Chautauqua Piano Commission
Powerhouse Pianists II
Powerhouse Pianists II
Duo Petrof performs Dilukkenjon
Duo Petrof performs Dilukkenjon
Pop Swatches (2011)
Pop Swatches (2011)
serried with a tinge of bop (2015)
serried with a tinge of bop (2015)
Pop Swatches (2015)
Pop Swatches (2015)
The Unbearable Being of Likeness
The Unbearable Being of Likeness
Eine Kinda Bachmusik, pt.2
Eine Kinda Bachmusik, pt.2
Copland House
Copland House

Recordings

Powerhouse Pianists II

Hailed as the “the dynamic duo of contemporary pianists” who “share a messianic devotion to modern music” by The New York Times, Gosling and McMillen apply the full force of their artistry to seven shining examples of music for two pianos by living composers, including John Adams, Mary Ellen Childs, John Corigliano, Amanda Harberg, Doug Opel, Robert Paterson, and Frederic Rzewski. The album is impeccably produced by GRAMMY® -winning producer Adam Abeshouse.

Order now from Amazon, iTunes and all major retailers and digital outlets.

88X2

In the diversity that the present musical production offers, one of its unifying ideas is the employ of arrangement or transcription, used here as a resource and also as a specific genre. Therefore, the original works are transformed according to the tastes and technical challenges sought after by the arrangers and performers, and only a few of the compositions chosen by Duo Petrof are performed in the composer's original version. Undoubtedly, this still little frequented repertoire for two pianos not only showcases the virtuosity of the pianists but urges us to know and enjoy more of it. - Elena Kopylova

Order now from Amazon, iTunes, Columna Música and all major retailers and digital outlets.

Melville's Dozen

Pianist Nicola Melville caught the bug of working with living composers while she was still a student in New Zealand. You get a different feel when no-one else has ever performed a work and you can email the composer to ask questions about interpretations; it certainly beats the umpteenth performance of an old warhorse.

Years and a hemisphere later, arriving in Northfield, Minnesota, Melville wanted to share that experience with her students at Carleton College. Thus was born the idea to commission some of today’s hottest com- posers to write according to her brief: a short piece, in a recognizable style of the Americas, that would be approachable to play for young, advanced-level students.

With influences drawn from styles of the Americas such as funk, jazz, blues, rock, tango, Peruvian, and Appalachian folk, the resulting pieces are engaging, sophisticated, and challenging. The composers range from Pulitzer Prize-nominated Augusta Read Thomas to young guns Marc Mellits, Carter Pann and Gabby Frank. The dynamic voice of each of the thirteen com- posers (bakers and pianists both throw in an extra one for free) speaks in a unique and compelling way throughout the CD.

Order now from Innova, Amazon, iTunes and all major retailers and digital outlets.

News

Oct 11, 2019
"Serried" on NPR's From the Top
Read More
Sep 30, 2015
Reviews: Dilukkenjon for two pianos
Read More
Sep 05, 2015
Review: California Sound Collective
Read More
Aug 06, 2015
California Sound Collective
Read More

Events

Previous Events
Nov 2, 2019: Zeitgeist Halloween Festival 2019
Zeitgeist Halloween Festival 2019

Date: Nov 2, 2019
Time: 7pm
Venue: Studio Z
Work: Midnight Mary

Oct. 31-Nov. 3
Studio Z: 275 East Fourth Street, Suite 200, St. Paul
$15 / $10 students & seniors ?/ $40 festival pass

With a cast of storytellers curated by Laura Packer, performance art curated by Queen Drea, and new music curated by Zeitgeist’s Heather Barringer, the second annual Zeitgeist Halloween Festival features the best of Twin Cities performing artists in a Halloween celebration that is sure to send shivers up your spine.


Highlights of the festival include two newly commissioned works for Zeitgeist by Asuka Kakitani and the composer/choreographer team of Nick Gaudette and Maggie Bergeron, plus works commissioned for the 2018 festival by Dameun Strange, Daniel Nass, Pat O'Keefe, and Doug Opel. Special musical guests include vocalist Liz Pearse, the voice/saxophone duo of Megan Ihnen and Alan Theisen, a solo percussion set by Zach Baltich, and “Fero” featuring Steve Hirsh, Douglas Ewart, and Douglas Washington.

Performance art selections include interdisciplinary performance group The Ways Ensemble, a solo performance by dancer/choreographer Nini Williams, Divine’s Toxic Tea Party featuring Divinewords and Anthony Dalton, and “Death Mints” improvised music and dance featuring J-Sun, Yan Pang, Darrius Strong, Queen Drea, and Gabriel Blackburn.

A varied cast of storytellers will engage audiences between sets, with storytellers including Delinda Pushetonequa, Northando Zulu, Loren Niemi, Katie Knuston, Christie Moulton Perry, and Laura Packer.

SCHEDULE

Thursday, October 31
7:00 Delinda Pushetonequa, storyteller
7:30 Zeitgeist performs works by Asuka Kakitani, Dameun Strange, Daniel Nass, Pat O'Keefe, and Doug Opel
8:30 Death Mints: improvised music and dance featuring J-Sun, Yan Pang, Darrius Strong, Queen Drea, and Gabriel Blackburn

Friday, November 1
7:00 Northando Zulu, storyteller
7:20 The Ways Ensemble, featuring Bill Cottman and Yonci Jameson
7:40 Loren Niemi, storyteller
8:00 Zeitgeist performs works by Nick Gaudette & Maggie Bergeron, Pat O'Keefe, Asuka Kakitani, and Daniel Nass
8:45 Fero, featuring Steve Hirsh, Douglas Ewart, Douglas Washington

Saturday, November 2
7:00 Katie Knuston, storyteller
7:20 TBA
7:40 Christie Moulton Perry, storyteller
8:00 Zeitgeist performs works by Asuka Kakitani, Dameun Strange, Daniel Nass, Pat O'Keefe, and Doug Opel
8:45 Sinister Songs, featuring voice/saxophone duo Megan Ihnen and Alan Theisen (MIATp), vocalist Liz Pearse, and Zeitgeist

Sunday, November 3
6:00 Zack Baltich, percussionist
6:20 Laura Packer, storyteller
6:40 Divine’s Toxic Tea Party featuring Divinewords and Anthony Dalton
7:00 Zeitgeist performs works by Nick Gaudette & Maggie Bergeron, Pat O'Keefe, Asuka Kakitani, and Daniel Nass

(times approximate)

Oct 31, 2019: Zeitgeist Halloween Festival 2019
Zeitgeist Halloween Festival 2019

Date: Oct 31, 2019
Time: 7pm
Venue: Studio Z
Work: Midnight Mary

Oct. 31-Nov. 3
Studio Z: 275 East Fourth Street, Suite 200, St. Paul
$15 / $10 students & seniors ?/ $40 festival pass

With a cast of storytellers curated by Laura Packer, performance art curated by Queen Drea, and new music curated by Zeitgeist’s Heather Barringer, the second annual Zeitgeist Halloween Festival features the best of Twin Cities performing artists in a Halloween celebration that is sure to send shivers up your spine.


Highlights of the festival include two newly commissioned works for Zeitgeist by Asuka Kakitani and the composer/choreographer team of Nick Gaudette and Maggie Bergeron, plus works commissioned for the 2018 festival by Dameun Strange, Daniel Nass, Pat O'Keefe, and Doug Opel. Special musical guests include vocalist Liz Pearse, the voice/saxophone duo of Megan Ihnen and Alan Theisen, a solo percussion set by Zach Baltich, and “Fero” featuring Steve Hirsh, Douglas Ewart, and Douglas Washington.

Performance art selections include interdisciplinary performance group The Ways Ensemble, a solo performance by dancer/choreographer Nini Williams, Divine’s Toxic Tea Party featuring Divinewords and Anthony Dalton, and “Death Mints” improvised music and dance featuring J-Sun, Yan Pang, Darrius Strong, Queen Drea, and Gabriel Blackburn.

A varied cast of storytellers will engage audiences between sets, with storytellers including Delinda Pushetonequa, Northando Zulu, Loren Niemi, Katie Knuston, Christie Moulton Perry, and Laura Packer.

SCHEDULE

Thursday, October 31
7:00 Delinda Pushetonequa, storyteller
7:30 Zeitgeist performs works by Asuka Kakitani, Dameun Strange, Daniel Nass, Pat O'Keefe, and Doug Opel
8:30 Death Mints: improvised music and dance featuring J-Sun, Yan Pang, Darrius Strong, Queen Drea, and Gabriel Blackburn

Friday, November 1
7:00 Northando Zulu, storyteller
7:20 The Ways Ensemble, featuring Bill Cottman and Yonci Jameson
7:40 Loren Niemi, storyteller
8:00 Zeitgeist performs works by Nick Gaudette & Maggie Bergeron, Pat O'Keefe, Asuka Kakitani, and Daniel Nass
8:45 Fero, featuring Steve Hirsh, Douglas Ewart, Douglas Washington

Saturday, November 2
7:00 Katie Knuston, storyteller
7:20 TBA
7:40 Christie Moulton Perry, storyteller
8:00 Zeitgeist performs works by Asuka Kakitani, Dameun Strange, Daniel Nass, Pat O'Keefe, and Doug Opel
8:45 Sinister Songs, featuring voice/saxophone duo Megan Ihnen and Alan Theisen (MIATp), vocalist Liz Pearse, and Zeitgeist

Sunday, November 3
6:00 Zack Baltich, percussionist
6:20 Laura Packer, storyteller
6:40 Divine’s Toxic Tea Party featuring Divinewords and Anthony Dalton
7:00 Zeitgeist performs works by Nick Gaudette & Maggie Bergeron, Pat O'Keefe, Asuka Kakitani, and Daniel Nass

(times approximate)

Oct 22, 2019: University of Wisconsin River Falls
University of Wisconsin River Falls

Date: Oct 22, 2019
Time: 7:30pm
Venue: Albert Concert Hall, KFA
Work: Midnight Mary

Midnight Mary was inspired by an urban legend from New England.
Commissioned by and composed for Zeitgeist (Pat O'Keefe, B-fl and Bass Clarinet, Heather Barringer and Patti Cudd, percussion & Nicola Melville, piano)

[from Damnedct.com]

“...in 1872, a woman by the name of Mary Hart died in New Haven {Connecticut] and was thereafter interred in Evergreen Cemetery.

...different stories surround the demise of Ms. Hart. The ...most horrific -- says her family found her apparently dead of a stroke at the stroke of midnight and quickly had her buried; her aunt, however, had a dream the next night in which she saw Mary still alive in her coffin and plead with the powers-that-be to dig her up. After they finally capitulated, dug her up and opened her casket, they discovered a horrific sight: Mary was dead, but apparently hadn't been quite that way when buried -- her fingernails were bloodied and the inside of her coffin was shredded as she had apparently tried to claw her way out.
[Another] story... Mary having been a witch in life and her grave being cursed -- anyone who was there at midnight would meet a terrible end when the witch rose from the dead. Since New Haven is renowned as a college town, there was always a student or two who scoffed at the story and tried to stay the night in the cemetery, only to be found dead the next morning, a victim of the murderous spirit of Midnight Mary.”

Taphephobia - the fear of being buried alive - is said to have been fairly widespread around the late 1800s/early 1900s. An industry of sorts evolved whereby coffins could be purchased equipped with an adequate supply of air piped in from the surface as well as signaling mechanisms - very often, a bell or bells of some sort, with strings tied to the head and limbs below. These became the basis of my programmatic material: wooden knocks, scrapes, music boxes, a triangle for the bells, all built around a static piano line intended to evoke a sense of being trapped, or simultaneously, the image of Mary’s ghost walking the grounds of Evergreen Cemetery, haunting those who dared to visit her grave at midnight.

The first movement, Evergreen references the cemetery where Mary is buried. Her gravemarker – a massive marble slab, no mere headstone – reads:

“At high noon just from, and about to renew her daily work, in her full strength of body and mind Mary E. Hart having fallen prostrate: remained unconscious, until she died at midnight, October 15, 1872 born December 16, 1824.”

Arched above in black letters, the more cryptic: “The people shall be troubled at midnight and pass away”. Followers of the legend(s) take this as proof that Mary was meant to haunt those who disturb her. In reality, the quote is extracted from the Bible: Job, chapter 34, verse 20.

The second and final movement, Arthropodan polymetric dance battle imagines the invevitable invasion of Mary’s coffin by maggots, beetles, blowflies and other insects known to break down or decompose the human body. The movement opens with scurrying lines in the piano and steel drums meant to evoke the image of a moving carpet of all things creepy-crawly. From this, a cajon – continuing the theme of wooden knocks and scrapes established in the first movement – derives a groove over which the bass clarinet slowly develops a solo line. The overall effect is meant to be more light-hearted, exploiting the underlying dark comedy that is at the heart of many of the most famous teen slashers flicks.

Aug 25, 2019: Shanghai, CHINA
Shanghai, CHINA

Date: Aug 25, 2019
Time: 7:30pm
Venue: China Financial Information Center
Work: Dilukkenjon for two pianos

Duo Petrof - Anatoly Zatin & Vlada Vassilieva, pianos

The 15th International Piano Festival of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music

Jun 23, 2019: Mexico City, MEXICO
Mexico City, MEXICO

Date: Jun 23, 2019
Time: 12pm
Venue: Simón Bolivar Amphitheater
Work: Dilukkenjon for two pianos

Duo Petrof - Anatoly Zatin & Vlada Vassilieva, pianos

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