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History of The Douglas Moore Fund for American Opera

The Douglas Moore Fund was founded in 2002 by composer Jim Stepleton. 


The Fund was created to provide fellowships, for up to three years, at professional American opera companies. Composers and librettists who had completed their formal training would learn about the craft of opera and musical theater composition through these residencies.


During this time fellowships were granted to Alexandra Vrebalov, Gabriel Gould, Eli Marshall, Dan Visconti, and Zachary Wadsworth. The following composers have created operatic works: 


  • Vrebalov, Abraham in Flames, librettist Niloufar Talebi, 2019.

  • Marshall, Mila, with libretto by Candice Chong, 2018.

  • Visconti, ANDY: A Popera, with libretto by John Jarboe, 2015.

  • Wadsworth, Venus and Adonis, adapted from Shakespeare by Gretchen Snedeker and Zachary Wadsworth, 2004.


At Mr. Stepleton’s retirement in 2013, composer Michael Ching assumed the position of Chair. During his tenure, Mr. Ching created an orchestral reduction of Mr. Moore’s opera The Ballad of Baby Doe and curated the soon to be released Douglas Moore Songbook.


In 2019 Gordon Ostrowski, Manhattan School of Music, was elected Chair; Joan Desens, Director of Institutional Advancement, Glimmerglass Festival, was elected Vice-Chair; and Jim Schaeffer, Center for Contemporary Opera Director Emeritus, was elected Treasurer. 


The mission of the Moore Fund changed as well. The Fund, which previously provided fellowships to composers, is now focusing its purpose on promoting mid-twentieth century opera composers by presenting symposiums such as A Celebration of Dominick Argento—Jack Beeson—Douglas Moore—Virgil Thomson—and the Douglas Moore Songbook Recital.

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