Wednesday@Noon Lecture by Dana Kaufman. Creating Caitlyn Jenner in Opera Kardashian

UCR Department of Music
Wednesday@Noon Lecture

Dana Kaufman
Visiting Assistant Professor in Music Composition, UC Riverside
Creating Caitlyn Jenner in Opera Kardashian:
Composing for Trans Women Opera Singers

February 6, 2019
Wednesday, 12:10 – 1:00 P.M.
Music Rehearsal Hall, ARTS 157

In this presentation, Dr. Dana Kaufman will discuss the creation of the role of Caitlyn Jenner - the pop culture icon and Olympic decathlete who came out as trans in 2015 - in Kaufman's Opera Kardashian, a one-act opera about tragedy and the human condition, as told through the infamous, Los Angeles-based Kardashian clan. The role of Caitlyn is one of the first known operatic trans woman roles that is written to be performed exclusively by trans vocalists.

As a cis composer collaborating with a cis librettist, Kaufman will discuss ethical issues and concerns regarding the construction of a trans role—and on-stage portrayal of issues facing trans communities—by cis-identifying people. She will also discuss approaches to composing for trans voices, and musical construction of the role of Caitlyn Jenner so that it is as accessible to trans vocalists as possible. The presentation features short excerpts from Opera Kardashian performed by both cis and trans/non-binary vocalists.

Hailed as “whirlwind” (Gramophone), Dana Kaufman’s music has been heard throughout North America and Europe. Her work has been featured at venues/festivals including New York Opera Fest; Jordan Hall; Contemporary Music Center of Milan; and Ravinia Festival’s One Score, One Chicago series; it has been performed by Great Noise Ensemble; Wet Ink Ensemble; So Percussion; members of OperaRox Productions and the Houston Grand Opera Orchestra; and many others.

The recipient of numerous honors and awards, Kaufman has been a Fulbright Fellow, four-time American Prize honoree, ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards Finalist, Winner in Music Institute of Chicago’s Generation Next Composition Competition, and a Winner of “Project Extended.”

Kaufman completed her Bachelor of Arts in Music and Russian, magna cum laude, at Amherst College, her Master of Music in Composition at New England Conservatory, and her Doctor of Musical Arts at University of Miami as a Dean’s Fellow. She is Visiting Assistant Professor in Music Composition at University of California, Riverside.

Free and open to the campus
Information: (951) 827-3245

• The Wednesday@Noon Series offers concerts, lectures, and presentations of academic research by Department of Music faculty, postdoctoral researchers, students, and international guest artists and scholars. Ian Dicke, coordinator.

Wednesday, February 6 at 12:10pm to 1:00pm

Arts Building, Music Rehearsal Hall, ARTS 157
Arts Building, Riverside, CA 92507

Event Type

Arts, Music & Concerts, Lectures & Presentations


Faculty & Staff, Graduate Students, Undergraduate Students, Transfer Students, General Public


Free and open to the campus

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