Thursday, January 3, 2013

Region Finals 2013 "Meet the Judges": Matthew Epstein

Courtesy of Opera News

Continuing a long tradition with Columbia Artists Management, Matthew Epstein served as Director of CAMI Vocal, LLC from 1972 until 2010.

Artistic Director of Lyric Opera of Chicago from May 1999 to April 2005, Mr. Epstein collaborated with general director William Mason and music director Sir Andrew Davis on the choice or repertoire, singers, conductors, stage directors, and designers, and the development of artistic initiatives and new operatic and music-theater works.  Previously, Epstein served since 1980 as artistic consultant and later artistic advisor to general directors Carol Fox, Ardis Krainik, and Lyric’s first artistic director, Bruno Bartoletti.  He completed 25 years at Lyric Opera at the end of April 2005, with the close of the company’s golden jubilee 50th Anniversary season.

Epstein has worked closely with opera companies, recording companies, and symphony orchestras internationally on production concepts and casting for major operatic and oratorio presentations.  He has been closely identified with the career development of American singers, conductors, and stage directors.  As artistic consultant, he has worked with San Francisco Opera (for two Spring Festival seasons), Santa Fe Opera, Carnegie Hall (concert-opera productions), Sony Classical, BMG/RCA Records, and Amberson Productions,.

During his career, he has served as manager to many celebrated artists, including Kathleen Battle, Rockwell Blake, James Bowman, Ileana Cotrubas, Ryland Davies, Mark Delavan, Reneé Fleming,Maureen Forrester, Elizabeth Harwood, Rodney Gilfry, Susan Graham, Isabel Leonard, Marjana Lipovsek, Robert Lloyd, Dame Felicity Lott, Catherine Malfitano, Valerie Masterson, James Morris, Madga Olivero, Felicity Palmer, Ruggiero Raimondi, Samuel Ramey, Andrea Rost, Christine Schaefer, Neil Shicoff, Elisabeth Söderström, Tatiana Troyanos, and Frederica von Stade.  

In addition, he represented stage directors such as Christopher Alden, David Alden, John Copley, Frank Corsaro, John Cox, Lotfi Mansouri, Elijah Moshinsky, Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, and David Pountney.

For the past several seasons, he has been associated with the Music Academy of the West in Santa Barbara, California, advising young singers (along with the director of the vocal program, Marilyn Horne) on career development, repertoire choice, and other matters.  He also has performed similar duties at the Curtis Institute of Music, Juilliard School of Music, the Manhattan School of Music, the Mannes School of Music, Yale University, the San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, Canadian Opera Ensemble, Houston Grand Opera Studio, the Santa Fe Opera Apprentice Program, and other similar young-artist programs throughout the United States and Canada. Most recently, he has taught at Opera Theater of Saint Louis, Oper Frankfurt, English National Opera, The National Opera Studio of Great Britain, and in 2012 Bayerische Staatsoper as well as Semper Oper in Dresden.

As general director of the Welsh National Opera (1991-94), Epstein was the first American to run an opera company in Great Britain.  From 1988 until 1990, he was artistic director of BAM Opera at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.  Epstein has also been involved in several recording and television projects.  In 1981, he was artistic director for the Kennedy Center Gala honoring George London, which featured many opera luminaries.  The event was televised by PBS and recorded by RCA.  In 1992, Epstein oversaw the Rossini 200th Birthday Celebration Gala at Lincoln Center, which was televised internationally and recorded on both video and compact disc for EMI.  He served as artistic consultant to the “Celebration of the American Musical,” which was televised as part of “Live from Lincoln Center” on April 7, 1997.  He initiated “Music for Life,” a music industry-wide collaboration and benefit concert in 1987 that raised funds for the care of AIDS patients.  Epstein was also closely involved with the second “Music for Life” benefit concert at Carnegie Hall in 1990. Most recently, he was co Artistic Director of “Celebrating Marilyn Horne” for her 75th Birthday celebration at Carnegie Hall. In December 2011, he produced a Tribute tp Frederica von Stade for San Francisco Opera, Cal Performances, Philharmonia Baroque, and San Francisco Performances.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in European cultural history in 1969, Epstein joined Shaw Concerts, Inc.  He later helped create the opera department for that agency.
Epstein, a native New Yorker, was born in 1947.

Bio provided by Matthew Epstein