Ricky Ian Gordon
Ricky Ian Gordon was born on May 15, 1956 in Oceanside, NY and raised on Long Island. After studying piano, composition and acting, at Carnegie Mellon University, he settled in New York City, where he quickly emerged as a leading writer of vocal music that spans art song, opera, and musical theater. Mr. Gordon's songs have been performed and or recorded by such internationally renowned singers as Renee Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, Nathan Gunn, Judy Collins, Kelli O'Hara, Audra MacDonald, Kristin Chenoweth, Nicole Cabell, the late Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Frederica Von Stade, Andrea Marcovicci, Harolyn Blackwell, and Betty Buckley, among many others.
I've known Ricky for over thirty years and when the original label was forming, he is the first composer that we asked to record. His songs on Daniel Okluitch's CD are simply gorgeous. He was also a contributer to the Five Borough Songbook, and we have many
more projects in the works with this talented man.
A Chat with Ricky
Although his private life has been in many ways a chaotic patchwork of conflict and loss, in person, there is nothing self-consciously serious about him. He is buoyant, spilling over with energy and enthusiasm about all his composing projects, past and present. He laughs easily and often, and his mind swims with associations, allusions, stretches of poetry, his favorite musical passages; as our conversation shoots off in a dozen different directions, his eyes widen, and he exclaims, "You know what this reminds me of?" and recites a lengthy passage from one of his great literary passions, the poet Frank Bidart. He seems to embrace his creative life with complete abandon, and that's how his music sounds: there is a freedom and grace about it that suggest that it came forth naturally, without an enormous amount of strain on his part.
One of the things that makes Ricky Ian Gordon's operas so appealing to audiences in so many places is the natural way his music embraces both classical and popular music theater idioms, folding one into the other. What the New York-based composer calls his "hybrid" sound is lyrical in an open-hearted, distinctly American way that suits his subject matter.
Fresh from the much-lauded premiere last year of The Grapes of Wrath, an opera commissioned jointly by Minnesota Opera and Utah Opera, composer Ricky Ian Gordon and librettist Michael Korie are enjoying their newfound fame. Gordon is well-respected in the worlds of musical theater, opera, and art song and is known for his unusual ability to cross over effortlessly from one genre to another. Korie, also, has made a name for himself in opera and musical theater, most recently for his Tony-nominated work on the Broadway hit Grey Gardens.
Virginia Woolf (text by James Schuyler)
Daniel's CD with Ricky's songs