Kennedy Verrett is an innovative and versatile composer whose imaginative music captures beauty, bursts of melodic and rhythmic energy. His compositional vocabulary spans the concert stage as well as the film and television industry, and is sought after by many collaborators who seek authentic but familiar sonorities.
In addition to composing, Kennedy’s orchestrations and arrangements can be found in films such as Deliver Us From Evil (Screen Gems), The Monkey King, Priest (Screen Gems), and Drag Me to Hell (Universal).
His concert repertoire includes the charming and uniquely crafted pieces Western Sketches for Orchestra, String Adagio no. 6, Songs of the Seasons, 5 is prime 4 is Magic, and numerous experimental works for combinations of traditional instruments, and pieces created by Kennedy at the Mad Composer Lab.
The Mad Composer Lab was created in 2011, conceived from the same spirit of innovation and curiosity that drove the imaginations of composers such as Lou Harrison, Harry Partch, Julius Eastman, Charles Ives and many others. Conducting sound experiments, exploring new composition techniques, communing with the muses, and innovating ways of enhancing the listeners musical experience is all part of the madness, the passion. The music created in the lab spans an array of genres and transcendental energies, and is shared in every consumable format for the people. The purpose of this is to inspire all to be lifted in resolve and steadfast in the way of progress.
As a musician, Kennedy has performed with many ensembles, including the Monroe Symphony Orchestra and Fullerton Woodwind Quintet, playing bassoon and contrabassoon. Additionally, Kennedy performs on piano and an assortment of exotic instruments, including didjeridu and bowed strum stick which can be heard on many of his soundtrack recordings.
Kennedy holds a Bachelor of Music Degree in Theory and Composition from the University of Louisiana at Monroe as well a Graduate Certificate in Scoring for Motion Pictures and Television from the University of Southern California.
He is the recipient of several awards for composing, including Best Score for The Grover Complex, the BMI Scholar Award for Film Composition, the William H. Taylor Memorial Award, and the Cal State Fullerton Composition Award.
Kennedy has been Artist-in-Residence at the Headwater’s Waterline Theater in Portland, Oregon and Composer-in-Residence at the Lou Harrison House Music, Arts, and Ecology in Joshua Tree, CA.
George M. Kopp, librettist, has had a varied career encompassing acting, directing, journalism, magazine editing, and marketing research. He performed in and directed many Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and appeared with one of New York’s favorite ensembles, the Light Opera of Manhattan. Always attracted to lesser known works, his directing credits also include such rarely performed gems as Muriel Spark’s Doctors of Philosophy, the Al Carmines-Maria Irene Fornes musical Promenade, and Joe Orton’s television play Funeral Games. He ended up pursuing his day job, however, and had a successful career as a business journalist covering the consumer electronics technologies that have so altered our lives.
After retiring a few years ago he returned to the stage (in a scholarly fashion) by earning a Masters degree in the Humanities, writing a thesis on the Russian avant-garde theater of the early 1920s, (also the time of Leon Theremin’s musical invention). He and his wife spent several years as owners of an art gallery in Joshua Tree, California, showcasing outsider and emerging artists. The Lou Harrison House, home to the late composer and now a cultural center, is also in Joshua Tree. It was through the residency program of the Lou Harrison Foundation that George was introduced to his collaborator Kennedy Verrett.
George holds a B.A. in Philosophy from McGill University, and an M.A. in the Humanities from California State University, Dominguez Hills. He and his wife Bonnie now live in Santa Fe, New Mexico with Holly, their yellow lab.
Los Angeles-based artist, storyteller, history buff, musician, and poet Umar Rashid (Frohawk Two Feathers) was born in 1976 in Chicago. He earned a BA at Southern Illinois University in 2000. Rashid’s images will constitute an integral visual element of Madame Theremin.
“The main focus of my work is the stories and reinvented histories of people of color, who are oftentimes marginalized and omitted from the historical record, and the intricacies of race, gender, class, and overall power in the colonial world. In the process of writing and illustrating this history, I’ve created alternative narratives that reference the main narrative and focus on the cosmologies of the empires, with a focus on religion and spirituality. The narrative is also massively informed by the hip hop culture of my youth (golden age), various (modern and ancient) pop culture references, gang and prison culture, and revolutionary movements throughout time.” - Umar Rashid
llin Museum of Art, Clinton, NY (2013); the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, Summit, NJ (2013); the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, NV (2013); the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver, CO (2012); and numerous galleries throughout North America, Europe, and South Africa. His work is included in the collections of the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art, Jorge Perez Collection, Brooklyn Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Progressive Collection, 21C Museum, the Nevada Museum of Art, and the Wellin Museum of Art amongst others. www.frohawktwofeathers.com
A leading creative figure in the opera world, Cori Ellison is staff dramaturg at Santa Fe Opera, and has previously served in that role at Glyndebourne Festival Opera and New York City Opera. She also teaches dramaturgy for American Lyric Theater’s Composer Librettist Development Program and was the first dramaturg invited to participate in the Yale Institute for Music Theatre.
Cori has been a sought-after developmental dramaturg to numerous composers, librettists, and commissioners, including Glyndebourne, Canadian Opera, Opera Philadelphia, Arizona Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Beth Morrison Projects. She has served as production dramaturg for projects including L’incoronazione di Poppea, Cincinnati Opera; Orphic Moments, Salzburg Landestheater, National Sawdust, and Master Voices; Aci, Galatea, e Polifemo, National Sawdust; Ring cycle, Washington National Opera; The Nose, Opera Boston; and Offenbach!!!, Bard Summerscape. Her English-singing translations include Hansel and Gretel, New York City Opera; La vestale, English National Opera; and Shostakovich’s Cherry Tree Towers, Bard Summerscape. She creates supertitles for opera companies across the English-speaking world, and helped launch Met Titles, the Met’s simultaneous translation system. Cori is a member of the Vocal Arts Faculty at The Juilliard School and Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute. www.coriellison.com