Chautauqua Institution is pleased to announce Eric Einhorn and Steven Osgood as the final candidates for the position of artistic and general director of Chautauqua Opera. The new artistic and general director will take over following the conclusion of the 2015 season. Jay Lesenger, who has held the post since 1994, will step down at the end of the calendar year.
 
Deborah Sunya Moore, incoming vice president for the performing and visual arts at CHQ, conducted a nationwide search with the assistance of a search committee consisting of eight members from the CHQ community and board of trustees. After a deep and attentive process, the search committee invited the two finalists to the CHQ grounds this summer. Einhorn is founder and general and artistic director of On Site Opera; Osgood is an artistic contributor to and former artistic director of American Opera Projects.
 
“The number and quality of candidates that applied were stunning, and the interviews leading up to these finalists give me great optimism regarding leadership in the field of opera,” Moore said. “Both Mr. Einhorn and Mr. Osgood represent fresh thinking, fascinating balances of tradition and innovation, and a strong desire to explore how Chautauqua Opera will help the Institution live our mission explore the best in human values.”
 
This summer, each prospective artistic director, with their families, will visit Chautauqua Institution for three days surrounding Chautauqua Opera’s performances of Eugene Onegin, occurring on July 31 and Aug. 1. The candidates’ stays at CHQ will include interviews with members of the search committee and Institution leadership, attendance at opera events, meetings with Chautauqua Opera staff and Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra music director Rossen Milanov, and social events that will allow them to experience the beauty and diversity of CHQ.

“This search is not only about finding the next artistic and general director of Chautauqua Opera,” Moore said, “it is about building relationships with leaders in the field as we work to strengthen our joint ability to evolve the art form and build our audiences.”
 
Einhorn has long been associated with The Metropolitan Opera where he has served as assistant stage director for 35 productions and stage director for two. He is also the founder and artistic director for On Site Opera, where he directed a production of Shostakovich’s The Tale of the Silly Baby Mouse at the Bronx Zoo for the company’s inaugural year in 2012. On Site Opera focuses on producing site-specific opera all around New York City.
 
Einhorn’s previous experience includes serving as artistic director for Klasikos Theater in Pittsburgh, assistant producer for the “Great Music for a Great City” series from the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and resident stage director and producer for the “Music at Hillwood” series from the Tilles Center of C.W. Post University. Einhorn has directed for many of the United States’ top opera companies such as Austin Lyric Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and Pittsburgh Opera.
 
Steven Osgood is an experienced conductor both in theater and opera from the baroque to the contemporary. He has conducted for many prominent companies in North America, including San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Atlanta Opera, Opera Memphis and The Metropolitan Opera. Osgood’s past work includes performances of La bohème at New York City Opera, numerous world premieres with Beth Morrison Productions, Transformations at Juilliard Opera Theater and several engagements with Chautauqua Opera, beginning with Tosca.
 
From 2001 to 2008, Osgood served as artistic director of American Opera Projects, an organization dedicated to collaborating with rising artists in the fields of opera and theater. Osgood is still an artistic contributor to AOP, where last September he conducted the premiere of Laura Kaminsky’s As One.
 
Founded in 1929, Chautauqua Opera is North America’s oldest continuously operating summer opera company and fourth oldest opera company after the Metropolitan Opera, Cincinnati Opera and San Francisco Opera. The 2015 Chautauqua Opera season offers a fully staged production in Chautauqua Institution's 4,000-seat Amphitheater and another in Norton Hall. Chautauqua Opera productions feature internationally recognized guest artists as well as promising young singers from our Young Artist program.
 
The pre‑eminent expression of lifelong learning in the United States, Chautauqua Institution comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. Over the course of nine weeks, more than 100,000 people visit CHQ and participate in programs, classes and community events for all ages — all within the beautiful setting of a historic lakeside village. Smithsonian magazine named CHQ the No. 1 “Best Small Town to
Visit in 2014” in the cover story of its April 2014 issue.


Chautauqua Institution is delighted to announce Redeployment (The Penguin Press) by Phil Klay as the 2015 winner of The Chautauqua Prize.

As author of the winning book, Klay receives $7,500 and all travel and expenses for himself and his wife for a one-week summer residency at CHQ. He will host a public reading and a book signing on Saturday, July 25, at the Hall of Philosophy.

While his Week Four residency will be the first time Klay visits CHQ, he said he has fond memories of childhood trips to Lakeside Chautauqua, an Ohio community that is part of the Chautauqua Trail.

“I’m thrilled to come to the original CHQ,” Klay said. “I’m incredibly honored by this, and looking forward to meeting folks there.”

Phil Klay is a graduate of Dartmouth College and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps. He served in Iraq’s Anbar Province from January 2007 to February 2008 as a Public Affairs Officer. After being discharged he went to Hunter College and received an MFA. His writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Granta, Tin House and elsewhere. Redeployment is his first book.

The Chautauqua Prize, this year awarded for the fourth time, is an annual prize that celebrates a book of fiction or literary/narrative nonfiction that provides a richly rewarding reading experience and honors the author for a significant contribution to the literary arts. Previous winners include The Sojourn, by Andrew Krivak (2012), Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, by Timothy Egan (2013), and My Foreign Cities, by Elizabeth Scarboro (2014).

In the National Book Award-winning Redeployment, the horrors of war take center stage. As they read about characters on the front lines in Iraq, CHQ readers called the short stories “explicit, emotional and also enlightening,” that they “cut to the marrow of the war experience. … Each skillfully constructed narrative tells a tale of emotional, physical or spiritual depths."

Details on The Chautauqua Prize are available online at ciweb.org/prize. Books published in 2015 will be accepted as submissions for the 2016 prize beginning in September 2015.

With a history steeped in the literary arts, Chautauqua Institution is the home of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, founded in 1878, which honors at least nine outstanding books of fiction, nonfiction, essays and poetry every summer. Further literary arts programming at Chautauqua includes summer-long interaction of published and aspiring writers at the Chautauqua Writers’ Center, the intensive workshops of the nationally recognized Chautauqua Writers’ Festival, and lectures by prominent authors on the art and craft of writing.

Chautauqua Institution today announced that Jay Lesenger, general/artistic director of Chautauqua Opera Company, will step down from his post at the end of 2015. Lesenger has led Chautauqua Institution’s resident opera company, the nation’s oldest continuously producing summer company — and fourth oldest American opera company overall — since October 1994.

“When Jay arrived here, he faced the daunting task of reinvigorating the passion in and for opera at CHQ,” said Marty Merkley, vice president and director of programming. “Jay’s artistry, passion and personal charisma helped to bring about a renaissance with vibrant productions, exciting artists, diverse repertoire and quality production values. His dedication to education for emerging artists has greatly influenced hundreds of singers. He has been a stellar colleague, leader and artist. Chautauqua Institution has been enriched by his tenure.” 

An acclaimed stage director and celebrated teacher, Lesenger has spent 20 years of his almost 40-year career providing creative direction to opera programming on the Chautauqua Institution grounds. His tenure is marked by a number of programmatic innovations designed to expose a wider cross-section of CHQ audiences to opera, and to position the company toward long-term financial sustainability. The most visible recent example is the annual staging of one of the company’s productions in the Chautauqua Amphitheater, the Institution’s largest venue, allowing any CHQ gate pass holder to attend an evening at the opera at no extra cost. These productions have drawn the largest audiences for opera in the Institution’s history.

To foster further opportunities for engagement with opera, Lesenger created a Young Artist weekly recital series, late night music revues and, with the Chautauqua Opera Guild, activities for Chautauqua’s Family Entertainment Series and Children’s School, and at area libraries.

Lesenger has introduced the CHQ audience to significant 20th-century works including Vanessa (Barber), Two Widows (Smetana), Peter Grimes (Britten), The Consul (Menotti) and The Cunning Little Vixen (Janáček). He also produced for the first time at CHQ overlooked Italian rarities, including Macbeth, Stiffelio and Luisa Miller by Verdi, Maria Stuarda by Donizetti and Bellini’s Norma, and a number of American musicals, including A Little Night Music, Once Upon a Mattress, The Music Man, She Loves Me and Fiddler on the Roof.

The impact of Lesenger’s tenure has reached far beyond Chautauqua Institution’s gates. A nationally recognized teacher of acting for singers, he is responsible for an expansion of Chautauqua Opera’s renowned Young Artist program, and singers have graduated from his tutelage to perform from some of the nation’s best-known stages, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera and Seattle Opera.

“The timing is right for me to turn my attention from administration to devoting more of my time to directing and teaching and to spending more time with my partner, family and friends,” Lesenger said. “CHQ has been my second home and the opera company has been the focus of my creative and personal life for more than half of my professional career so far. I am enormously proud of our opera company and thrilled by the range of repertory that we have produced over the last 20 years for an audience that remains supportive and enthusiastic.”

Formerly an associate professor of music at the University of Michigan, where he directed the School of Music Opera Theatre, he has also served as professor and director of opera at Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. He continues to stage productions for opera companies throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Chautauqua Opera marks Lesenger’s final season with performances of Verdi’s Macbeth on July 11 in the Amphitheater and Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin on July 31 and Aug. 3 in Norton Hall. 

Deborah Sunya Moore, incoming vice president for the performing and visual arts at Chautauqua Institution, will lead a national search for Lesenger’s successor. 

Founded in 1929, Chautauqua Opera is North America’s oldest continuously operating summer opera company and fourth oldest opera company after the Metropolitan Opera, Cincinnati Opera and San Francisco Opera. The 2015 Chautauqua Opera season offers a fully staged production in Chautauqua Institution's 4,000-seat Amphitheater and another in Norton Hall. Chautauqua Opera productions feature internationally recognized guest artists as well as promising young singers from our Young Artist program.

The pre‑eminent expression of lifelong learning in the United States, Chautauqua Institution comes alive each summer with a unique mix of fine and performing arts, lectures, interfaith worship and programs, and recreational activities. Over the course of nine weeks, more than 100,000 people visit CHQ and participate in programs, classes and community events for all ages — all within the beautiful setting of a historic lakeside village. Smithsonian magazine named CHQ the No. 1 “Best Small Town to Visit in 2014” in the cover story of its April 2014 issue.

Appended

Chautauqua Institution is pleased to announce eight exceptional books as the 2015 finalists for The Chautauqua Prize:
  • The Map Thief, by Michael Blanding (Gotham/Avery)
  • Byrd, by Kim Church (Dzanc Books)
  • The Bully of Order, by Brian Hart (HarperCollins)
  • Euphoria, by Lily King (Grove Atlantic/Atlantic Monthly)
  • Redeployment, by Phil Klay (The Penguin Press)
  • All Eyes Are Upon Us, by Jason Sokol (Basic Books)
  • The Scatter Here is Too Great, by Bilal Tanweer (Harper)
  • The Witch, by Jean Thompson (Blue Rider Press)
The winning book will be selected from this shortlist and announced in mid-May.
In The Map Thief, readers are taken into the high-stakes work of map dealing, a history of cartography and the true story of a rare map dealer who made millions stealing priceless pieces of history. Readers called it a “page turner” that pulled them in from the first pages, and said that Blanding “did an terrific job of weaving together the history of cartography with a gripping story of thievery, deceit and a double life."
A novel told in vignettes and letters, Byrd is a meditation on family, the choices we make and the ripples of consequence that spread out through the years. Readers lauded Church’s ability to take the subject of adoption and shine new light upon it, in a writing style that is “succinct; Church says a lot with few words, picking her details wisely.” It is a novel, another said, with “strength and power, and a deft and delicate touch.”
The Bully of Order, a novel depicting the lawless Pacific Coast at the turn of the 20th century, tracks the lives of a family at the mercy of violent social and historical forces. Readers said that while the story is “violent, dark and crude,” Hart’s “artistry with the language” and “exacting, loving detail,” creates a clear, dramatic narrative.
Drawing on the real-life experiences and writing of Margaret Mead as inspiration, Euphoria follows the dangerously intertwined lives of three anthropologists studying tribes in New Guinea. King, readers said, “is not one to fall prey to cheap contrivances,” deftly building suspense among the “compelling depicted characters.” All told, one reader said, “Euphoria is a gem.”
In the National Book Award-winning Redeployment, the horrors of war take center stage. As they read about characters on the front lines in Iraq and Afghanistan, readers called the short stories “explicit, emotional and also enlightening,” that they “cut to the marrow of the warrior. … Each skillfully constructed narrative tells a tale of emotional, physical or spiritual depths."
All Eyes Are Upon Us is a history of race and politics in the Northeast, a region with a long and celebrated history of racial equality and liberalism. But Sokol’s book reveals the deep-seated racism in the region, and a resulting gap between its ideals and its reality. Readers called the book “timely, important and fascinating,” and Sokol’s research “clearly presented.”
Interconnected short stories make up the novel of The Scatter Here is Too Great, a love letter to the Pakistan city of Karachi, its inhabitants and the often-violent interruptions to their daily lives. Tanweer is a “masterful writer,” a reader said, while another described the work as “a lyrical meditation and a brilliant book.”
The short stories of The Witch refreshingly reintroduce readers to classic fairy tales, told in contemporary settings while still retaining the magic and suspense of their source material. Chautauqua Prize readers called Thompson’s writing “elegant in its simplicity” and “a reader’s delight,” and commended the stories for being “gripping tales, refreshing our pleasure in storytelling as an art that warns, instructs and enthralls.”
Awarded annually since 2012, The Chautauqua Prize draws upon Chautauqua Institution’s considerable literary legacy to celebrate a book that provides a richly rewarding reading experience and to honor the author for a significant contribution to the literary arts. The author of the winning book will receive $7,500 and all travel and expenses for a one-week summer residency at CHQ.
With a history steeped in the literary arts, Chautauqua Institution is the home of the Chautauqua Literary and Scientific Circle, founded in 1878, which honors at least nine outstanding books of fiction, nonfiction, essays and poetry every summer. Further literary arts programming at CHQ includes summer-long interaction of published and aspiring writers at the Chautauqua Writers’ Center, the intensive workshops of the nationally recognized Chautauqua Writers’ Festival, and lectures by prominent authors on the art and craft of writing.
Details on The Chautauqua Prize are online at http://ciweb.org/literary-arts/the-chautauqua-prize

Chautauqua Institution today announced the appointment of Deborah Sunya Moore as vice president responsible for all arts programming at CHQ, effective Oct. 1, 2015. Moore succeeds Marty W. Merkley, who announced earlier this month that he will retire following the 2015 season, his 25th at CHQ.

"I am excited about the development of our arts programming at CHQ under Deborah's leadership," said Tom Becker, president of Chautauqua Institution. "She understands at a very high level the intersection between art and education. I believe that she will embrace this challenge in a way that is at once creative and expressive of the authentic characteristics of Chautauqua Institution."

Moore currently serves Chautauqua Institution as associate director of programming, a position she has held since September 2013. In her new role, she will oversee all performing and visual arts presentations at the Institution, both professional and pre-professional, including the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Chautauqua Opera, Chautauqua Dance, Chautauqua School of Music (instrumental, piano and voice), Chautauqua Theater Company, the Visual Arts at Chautauqua Institution, all popular entertainment scheduled in the Amphitheater and the Logan Chamber Music Series.

"I am thrilled to continue supporting the work of our outstanding resident, visiting and student artists who challenge us to explore the best in human values through artistic expression," Moore said. "It is an honor to step into the role Marty has held for past 25 years. I look forward to collaborating with our artistic directors and teams to uphold the significance of the performing and visual arts at CHQ while striving to innovate and evolve our work in a way that fosters meaningful engagement on both a community and national level."

In her time on staff at CHQ, Moore took a leading role in the Institution's search for a new Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra music director, a process that involved in-season auditions for the eight finalists and culminated in the appointment of Rossen Milanov in October 2014. Moore, Merkley and Milanov have since worked together to plan the repertoire for his debut season this summer. Moore also was the producer for the 2014 Chautauqua inter-arts production, Go West!, working with director Andrew Borba, associate artistic director of Chautauqua Theater Company, to develop an original collaborative production featuring all of CHQ's resident arts programs.

Previously, Moore held the positions of arts education and community engagement specialist and associate professor of percussion at the University of Trinidad and Tobago from 2010 to 2013. She was director of education and community engagement for the Louisville Orchestra from 2004 to 2009.

Moore first came to CHQ in 1996 in an appearance as an Amphitheater guest artist and has spent time here every summer since. Her husband, Brian Kushmaul, is the CSO's principal percussionist.

A percussionist herself, Moore is also an arts educator with a long history as an advocate of performing arts programs for youth and persons with disabilities. As part of her work at CHQ, she has launched and led several arts residency programs in Chautauqua County classrooms using her training as a National Workshop Leader for the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts .

This fall, Moore spearheaded two outreach initiatives in local schools: "Sing Me a Story, Play Me a Book," using a curriculum Moore previously created, is a partnership between the Institution, Chautauqua Lake Central School and Erie 2 Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES through a contract with the Kennedy Center; and the Young Playwrights Program, a partnership between the Institution, Florida Studio Theatre and Chautauqua Lake and Fletcher (Jamestown) elementary schools funded by Chautauquan Georgia Court, an FST board member.

Moore was selected to be an artist in residence at the Hermitage Artist Retreat 2013-2014 and became a speaker for the U.S. Department of State in 2014, representing the United States in Trinidad as a performer and speaker for Trinidad’s 2014 Arts & Disabilities Conference. She holds a bachelor’s degree in percussion performance and an individual major, Performance and Education in Related Arts, from the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and a master’s degree in education curriculum and instruction from the University of Cincinnati.