Philadelphia composer Margaret Garwood is Jill Pasternak's guest this week on Crossover. Her opera The Scarlet Letter receives its world premiere by the Academy of Vocal Arts on November 19th, 2010 at the Merriam Theater. In this interview with Jill, Ms. Garwood shares highlights of her composing career, and insights into her musical style.
Margaret Garwood's The Scarlet Letter is an operatic retelling of the Nathaniel Hawthorne classic. The premiere has been in the works for several years, after AVA presented the first scene in Act I of the piece in January, 2002. Ms. Garwood delivered the finished product to AVA in the fall of 2008.
Margaret Garwood is a native of Haddonfield, New Jersey, and is primarily a composer of operas and vocal chamber works. Like many earlier composers, Ms. Garwood is essentially self-taught. She passed the requirements for a Bachelor's degree in music by examination, and now holds a graduate degree in composition. Her staged works have received full productions in New York, Philadelphia, and on the West Coast. Her song cycles have been widely performed in the United States, Canada, and Europe. Her opera for youth, Joringel and the Songflower, which was commissioned by the Camerata Opera Theater, was also performed at the Chautauqua Institute in New York. Ms. Garwood's other operas include Rappaccini's Daughter, which was premiered by the Pennsylvania Opera Theatre, The Nightingale and the Rose, and The Trojan Women. She has written several song cycles, among them The Cliff's Edge (Songs of a Psychotic), several song cycles set to poems by e. e. cummings, and two works for chorus and orchestra, both commissioned and performed by the Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia.
Her instrumental works include Suite, for two pianos, and A Joyous Lament for a Gilly Flower, for clarinet and piano. She has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards, including The National Endowment for the Arts, MacDowell colony, ASCAP, AMC, and the National Federation of Music Clubs She has served on the Composer-Librettist's and solo Recitalist's Panel for the National Endowment for the Arts and on selection panels for Opera America and Chorus America. Her works are published by Carl Fischer, inc., Southern Music, and Hildegard Publishing Company.