Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Seminar

Crossing: A Lecture/Recital

Join composer Matthew Aucoin (Composer; Harvard College '12) for a recital and discussion about Crossing, his new opera about the Civil War inspired by the journals and poetry of Walt Whitman, premiering this May at the American Repertory Theater. Aucoin will address the concept of "crossing" as both transcendence and transgression, in relationship to poetry, music, and history. He will be joined by Davone Tines (Harvard College '09), one of the performers in Crossing. Robert N. Shapiro (AB ’72, JD ’78, Recent member, Harvard Board of Overseers) will offer introductory remarks and moderate the discussion.

For more information about Crossing, please visit the American Repertory Theater's website.


Matthew Aucoin (b. 1990) is a young American composer, conductor, poet, and pianist. His new opera, Crossing, commissioned by the American Repertory Theater, will debut in June; his next, Second Nature, will debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in August. Aucoin is at work on a new opera for the Metropolitan Opera. Aucoin is composer-in-residence at Salem’s Peabody Essex Museum. In the 2014-15 season, Aucoin’s new works will be premiered by cellist Yo-Yo Ma; Boston's Gramercy Trio; pianists Benjamin Hochman and George Fu (at Columbia University and the Curtis Institute, respectively); and the San Antonio Symphony. This season, his work was also performed by Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra and members of the Chicago Symphony. Among future projects is a song cycle commissioned jointly by New York's Carnegie Hall and London's Wigmore Hall, and a new orchestral piece for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra. As a conductor, Aucoin has appeared with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Rome Opera Orchestra, Juilliard Opera, and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. With a BA from Harvard College (summa cum laude), Aucoin is also an accomplished poet, critic, and essayist. His senior thesis, a collection of poems entitled Aftermusic, won all of Harvard’s major poetry prizes. Fluent in French, German, and Italian, he is in demand as a lecturer on music and literature. His music has been featured on popular American public radio shows including This American Life, From the Top, and Studio 360.

Davone Tines deemed a "charismatic, full-voiced bass-baritone" by the New York Times, is building an international career commanding a broad spectrum of opera and concert performance from early music: recently performing programs of Bach and Rameau in Alice Tully Hall; to adventurous contemporary music including the US premiere of Menachem Zur’s "Cartoons" at Lincoln Center and performances with the New York Festival of Song. Last season he performed in "La Bohème" at the Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman, in "La Fanciulla del" West in Spain, and as Lodovico in "Othello," all under the baton of Maestro Lorin Maazel. Upcoming engagements include the premiere of “Crossing: A New American Opera” for the American Repertory Theater directed by multi-Tony award winner Diane Paulus, two one-man shows "American Gothic" and "The Black Clown," and the premier of two chamber operas by Kaija Saariajo and directed by Peter Sellars at the Dutch National Opera and Ojai Music Festival. Davone is a 2009 graduate of Harvard College and received a masters degree in voice from the Juilliard School in 2013.

Free and open to the public. No tickets required, but seating is limited.

Cosponsored with the A.R.T. and the Harvard Civil War Project.

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