Jake Heggie

Photo credit: Ellen Appel


Jake Heggie is the American composer of the operas Moby-Dick (libretto by Gene Scheer), Dead Man Walking (libretto by Terrence McNally), Three Decembers (Scheer), The End of the Affair (McDonald), Out of Darkness – A Holocaust Triptych (Scheer), To Hell and Back (Scheer), At the Statue of Venus (McNally), and The Radio Hour: A Choral Opera (Scheer). He is currently at work on two new stage works: Great Scott (McNally) for The Dallas Opera in 2015, and an opera based on It’s A Wonderful Life (Scheer) for the Houston Grand Opera in 2016. Heggie has also composed more than 250 art songs, as well as concerti, chamber music, choral and orchestral works, including his recent Ahab Symphony.

The operas – most created with the distinguished writers Terrence McNally and Gene Scheer – have been produced on five continents. Dead Man Walking has received more than 40 productions worldwide since its San Francisco Opera premiere in 2000 and has been recorded live twice (Erato Records in 2000 and Virgin Classics in 2011). Moby-Dick has received six international productions since its 2010 premiere at The Dallas Opera and was telecast nationally in 2013 as part of Great Performances’ 40th Anniversary Season. Moby-Dick received its East Coast premiere at the Kennedy Center in Feb 2014 with the Washington National Opera; a production from the San Francisco Opera has been released on DVD (EuroArts). It is also the subject of a book by Robert Wallace titled Heggie & Scheer’s Moby-Dick – A Grand Opera for the 21st Century (UNT Press).

 A Guggenheim Fellow, Heggie served for three years as a mentor for Washington National Opera’s American Opera Initiative. He is also a frequent guest artist and master teacher at universities and conservatories, including Boston University, Bucknell, Cornell, The Royal Conservatory in Toronto, University of North Texas, University of Colorado, USC’s Thornton School, Vanderbilt University, and at festivals such as SongFest at the Colburn School, Ravinia Festival, and VISI in Vancouver.

Jake Heggie frequently collaborates as composer and pianist with some of the world’s most loved singers, including sopranos Kiri Te Kanawa and Renée Fleming; mezzo-sopranos Joyce DiDonato, Susan Graham and Frederica von Stade; Broadway stars Patti LuPone and Audra McDonald; tenors William Burden, Stephen Costello and Jay Hunter Morris; baritones Nathan Gunn, Morgan Smith and Bryn Terfel. Directors who have championed his work include Leonard Foglia, Joe Mantello and Jack O’Brien. All of Heggie’s major opera premieres have been led by Patrick Summers; he has also worked closely with conductors John DeMain, Joseph Mechavich and Nicole Paiement.

In addition to two new operas, upcoming works include The Work At Hand: Symphonic Songs for mezzo Jamie Barton and cellist Anne Martindale Williams (Carnegie Hall and the Pittsburgh Symphony); new songs for Susan Graham (Vocal Arts DC); a new orchestration of the song cycle Camille Claudel: Into the Fire for mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and The Berkeley Symphony led by Joana Carneiro; and Stop This Day And Night With Me for The King’s Singers, the 2015 Brock Commission for the American Choral Directors Association Conference.