Jake Heggie

Last updated: February 7, 2023

Composer Jake Heggie is “arguably the world’s most popular 21st-century opera and art song composer” (The Wall Street Journal). He is best known for the operas Dead Man Walking, Moby-Dick, It’s A Wonderful Life, Three Decembers, Two Remain, and If I Were You. He is currently at work on his 10th full-length opera, Intelligence, with Jawole Zollar and Gene Scheer, as well as new works for violinist Joshua Bell, New Century Chamber Orchestra, the Miró Quartet, and Music of Remembrance. The operas and his nearly 300 art songs have been performed extensively on five continents, championed by some of the world’s most beloved artists.

With a libretto by the late Terrence McNally, Dead Man Walking has become “the most celebrated American opera of the 21st century” (Chicago Tribune). It has received nearly 80 international productions since its San Francisco Opera premiere in 2000. Recent premieres have included Lake Tahoe: Symphonic Reflections and Fantasy Suite 1803. In 2020, mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and violinist Daniel Hope gave the premiere of Intonations: Songs from the Violins of Hope to texts by Gene Scheer (Pentatone Records), and in 2021, baritone Joshua Hopkins gave the (online) premiere of Songs for Murdered Sisters, to new poems by Margaret Atwood (Pentatone). Also in 2021, mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton and Heggie gave the premiere of What I Miss the Most…, a song cycle to new texts by Joyce DiDonato, Patti LuPone, Sister Helen Prejean, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Kathleen Kelly. Barton is also featured on Unexpected Shadows, a recording of Heggie’s songs released by Pentatone (2022 GRAMMY nominee). 

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