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Spotlight Sunday - Jessica Rudman

It is time for another Spotlight Sunday! Today's spotlight is on a composer who was featured in the latest New in November, Jessica Rudman!

Jessica Rudman is a Connecticut-based composer and teacher whose music unifies extended techniques with clear melodic development and narrative structures to create a unique and personal emotional expression. Her works have been performed by groups such as the International Contemporary Ensemble, the Riot Ensemble, the Cadillac Moon Ensemble, the Omaha Symphony's Chamber Orchestra, the Yakima Symphony Orchestra, and the Hartford Independent Chamber Orchestra. She has received awards from SCI/ASCAP, Boston Metro Opera, the College Music Society, the International Alliance for Women in Music, and others.

Jessica has served on the faculty at Baruch College, Central Connecticut State University, and The Hartt School. She is currently the Director of the Young Composers Program and the Chair of the Creative Studies Department at The Hartt School Community Division. Jessica has also been highly involved in arts administration and is on the board of the Women Composers Festival of Hartford. She holds degrees from the CUNY Graduate Center, The Hartt School, and the University of Virginia.

This is what Jessica thinks about the idea of "opera without borders" -

To me, “Opera without Borders” means connection - connection with words and music, connection with ideas and issues relevant to today, and most importantly, connection with people.

One of the exciting elements of opera is the equal partnership of words and music. The text allows composers and writers to clearly convey specific scenarios and messages. The music transcends the words, adding context, subtext, and layers of drama. Together, they bring a story to life and transport the audience across the borders of daily life to another reality.

Music can be a form of escape or entertainment, but it is also an important vehicle for social commentary so many composers use music to explore ideas that are relevant to our lives. My recent work, for example, has focused on issues like domestic abuse, equality, the environment, disparities in economic and political status, etc. Contemporary opera has something to say about our world, our lives, and our future as a society. You might agree with a work’s message or not; either way, it always can serve as a starting point for discussion and connection.

Opera is at heart a community-building art form. Composers, writers, performers, directors, and audiences all come together to engage with each other and with something larger than the sum of all its parts. We feel, we grow, we are transformed by our experience together. Opera helps us break down barriers and come together. “Opera without borders,” then, is really about a world without borders.

More information about Jessica and her work can be found at her website

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