Scott Wheeler is an award-winning composer, conductor, pianist and teacher with a multifaceted career. Although his chamber and orchestral music shows a wide range, it is his prominent profile as a composer of vocal and operatic music that defines his career and artistic personality. Wheeler’s most recent opera is Naga, on a libretto of Cerise Jacobs, co-commissioned by Friends of Madame White Snake and Boston Lyric Opera. His previous operas have been commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera (commissioned by Placido Domingo) and the Guggenheim Foundation. Current and recent commissions include 200 Dreams from Captivity for baritone and orchestra on texts of Wang Dan, Ben Gunn on texts of Paul Muldoon, and Nightingale, a new narrative ballet with choreographer Melissa Barak. In recent seasons, Wheeler’s works have been performed in Boston, Chicago, New York, London, Paris, Austria, Italy, Panama, Winnipeg, Hong Kong and Beijing. Singers who have performed and recorded the music of Scott Wheeler include Renee Fleming, Sanford Sylvan, Susanna Phillips, Anthony Roth Costanzo, William Sharp and Joseph Kaiser.
Scott’s most recent CDs include Portraits and Tributes, featuring pianist Donald Berman, on Bridge, and Songs to Fill the Void, featuring baritone Robert Barefield and pianist Carolyn Hague, on Albany. Other Wheeler CDs include Crazy Weather, with the Boston Modern Orchestra Project conducted by Gil Rose, Wasting the Night -- songs for voice and piano, and the opera The Construction of Boston, both available on Naxos; Shadow Bands features Scott’s chamber music for strings and piano with the Gramercy Trio, recorded on Newport Classic.
Scott Wheeler divides his time between New York and Boston, where he is Distinguished Artist in Residence at Emerson College. At Emerson he has conducted musical theatre works by Stephen Sondheim, Leonard Bernstein, Cy Coleman and many others. He is a recognized expert in the coaching and analysis of songs from the entire history of American musical theatre, from the early 20th century to the latest shows in New York and elsewhere. Performers who have studied with Scott Wheeler are currently performing on Broadway, in Broadway tours, in regional theatre and in cabaret. Several of his students have also made careers as theatrical songwriters.
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“Wheeler can be witty, but he avoids the merely clever; the portraits have real heart to them.”
“Lovers of down-to-earth, intelligent American piano writing should check out this release.”
Scott with choreographer Melissa Barak announcing a new ballet project at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU
"The less-is-more approach induced a wistful longing and shaded emotions, mirrored eerily by shadow-play on the wood—slatted balcony and limestone tracery; so we witnesses were transported."
“The Trio, his second, shines with craftsmanship. How else could this music bear so much information with such high energy and still give an air of delicacy and transparency?”
“There are long, inspired passages of radiance … his orchestration is inevitably supple, colorful and assured. This is Wheeler's first full-length opera: I hope there will be many more.”
“The BMOP program opened with Scott Wheeler's delightful and witty Gold Standard, with its two Buddhist monks (here, tenor Charles Blandy and baritone David Kravitz) parsing monetary policy en route to more profound truths.”
“a beautiful corpus of works for voice and piano on texts of poetic stature.”
“The second half of the concert was devoted to the premiere of Scott Wheeler’s absorbing Violin Concerto; this work features a truly inventive sense of color, with mandolin, harpsichord, and marimba suggesting baroque throwbacks and a sense of pacing that works in several time frames at once… a major work in every sense of the word, and it can only be hoped that Toledo audiences will have more chances to hear and absorb it.”
“…an appealingly fluid work by Scott Wheeler with rippling textures that recalled the work of Keith Jarrett.”
“Wheeler is one of the freshest American voices I know writing for the lyric stage. He studied with Virgil Thomson, and gained from him a taste for two essential virtues: clarity and wit.”
“In addition to Thomson, whom Wheeler occasionally quotes, the eclectic music flashes reminders of Messiaen, Weill, Gilbert and Sullivan-even Gregorian chant. Still, the composer has created a unified and original score of shimmering transparency, well-structured drama, and moments of remarkable, often unexpected beauty.”
Composer Scott Wheeler joined the panel to discuss his new opera "Naga".