composer, writer and director of numerous music/theatre pieces. He
has had the honor of collaborating with great theater artists
including Mark Morris, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Mabou Mines, and
Sir Peter Hall. He is currently at work on the operatic adaptation
of Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead;
excerpts were performed as part of New York City Opera's VOX
2006 "Showcasing American Composers."
Mr. Garfein wrote the libretto for, and directed the workshop production of
Robert Aldridge's opera Elmer Gantry. Elmer Gantry will premiere at Nashville Opera in
November, 2007 and at "Peak Performances @ Montclair" at the Kasser Theater
in Montclair, NJ in January, 2008. When excerpts were performed as part of
New York City Opera's VOX 2007, the New York Times raved, "...an
unabashedly populist piece...steeped in American vernacular idioms; the
storytelling is urgent."
Mr. Garfein emerged as a theatrical composer and writer with his
landmark dance triptych Mythologies for choreographer Mark Morris.
The first section, Championship Wrestling After Roland Barthes,
was commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music "Next Wave"
Festival in 1985. The complete trilogy, Mythologies, comprising ...Wrestling...,
Striptease and Soap-Powders & Detergents has been performed to
acclaim and controversy in Brussels, Boston and New York (the
latter performances conducted by Mr. Garfein.)
Mr. Garfein collaborated with famed experimental theatre group
Mabou Mines and noted mezzo Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, writing both
music and lyrics for Sueños ("First-rate theater music" -The
Boston Herald) which opened at the Hasty Pudding Theater in Boston
and ran Off-Off- Broadway at the Manhattan Triplex Theater. In
2001, he composed incidental music for a new Off-Broadway
production of Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida, directed by Sir
Peter Hall (Theatre for a New Audience).
Other music/theatre credits: libretto and direction of Robert
Cohen's Edison Invents, a one-man show for Broadway baritone Ron
Bohmer, and the Westfield (NJ) Symphony. Viktor Ullmann's The
Emperor of Atlantis (adaptation and direction; Northeastern
University and Merkin Hall, NYC); Third Person (libretto for a
musical based on a Henry James story; workshop at The York
Theatre, NYC); White Jazz (lyrics for musical; workshop at NYU).
In the concert realm, he is the composer of American Steel, an
orchestral work commissioned by the Alabama Symphony, which
premiered in Birmingham in March, 2002. Other recent works
include String Quartet No.2 ('Hidden Things'); Music for The
Nature Theater of Oklahoma, a large-scale orchestral work; and
Places to Live, a symphonic suite commissioned by The Boston
Classical Orchestra in honor of its 20th Anniversary. Places to
Live was named by the Boston Globe as one of the "year 2000's
He received his musical training at Yale University, New England
Conservatory, and the Experimental Music Studio at MIT.
For his compositions, Mr. Garfein has received grants and awards
from: The National Endowment for the Arts, The Massachusetts
Artists Foundation Fellowship (twice), The Massachusetts Cultural
Council, The National Institute of Opera/Musical Theater, the
Jerome Foundation, American Dance Festival, the Sundance
Institute, and the MacDowell Colony.
Mr. Garfein is an Adjunct Instructor in the Program for Vocal
Performance at the Steinhardt School, New York University.
[author of the play] is widely acknowledged as one of the
world's leading dramatists. His first major success came with
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, which catapulted him into the
front ranks of modern playwrights overnight when it opened in London in
1967. The play, which chronicles the tale of Hamlet as told from the
worm's-eye view of the bewildered Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, two
minor characters in Shakespeare's play, was immediately hailed as a
modern dramatic masterpiece. The Broadway production won the Tony
Award for Best Play.
Stoppard's trilogy The Coast of Utopia recently completed
a critically lauded, sold-out run at the Lincoln Center Theater.
It won a record-breaking seven Tony Awards, including Best Play.
His latest play, Rock 'n Roll, will open on Broadway in
November, 2007, transferring from a highly successful run in
London's West End.
Among Stoppard's best-known plays are Jumpers (1972) Travesties (1974)
The Real Thing (1982) Aracadia (1993) and The Invention of Love
(1997). His works have won numerous awards, including nine Evening
Standard Awards, the Italia Prize for radio plays, four Tony Awards and
the Shakespeare Prize.
In addition to his work for the stage, Stoppard has written a number of
screenplays including The Human Factor (1979), Empire of the Sun
(1987), and Billy Bathgate (1991). He co-authored the screenplay for
Brazil (1985), which was nominated for an Academy Award in 1985, and in
1999, he won an Oscar for "Best Screenplay" (with Marc Norman) for
Shakespeare in Love.
Garfein's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is the first operatic
adaptation of a Stoppard play.