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Kevin Puts

Composer Institute Director

Kevin Puts, director of the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute since 2015, won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for the opera Silent Night, which was commissioned and premiered by the Minnesota Opera, as was his 2015 opera The Manchurian Candidate. His work has been commissioned and performed by leading orchestras in the U.S. and abroad, including the New York Philharmonic, Boston Pops, Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra and Minnesota Orchestra. In recent seasons the Minnesota Orchestra has performed several of his works including Two Mountain Scenes, Millennium Canons, Rivers Rush, Inspiring Beethoven, and Symphony No. 4, From Mission San Juan. He has written five symphonies as well as concertos premiered by prominent soloists including Yo-Yo Ma and Evelyn Glennie.

Puts’ newest opera is an operatic adaptation of Michael Cunningham’s The Hours, co-commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Metropolitan Opera with libretto by Greg Pierce. It is scheduled for its fully staged premiere by the Metropolitan Opera in November 2022, starring Renée Fleming, Joyce DiDonato and Kelli O’Hara. In March 2022 the Philadelphia Orchestra gave the premiere performance of a concert version of the opera under the baton of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, and was hailed as a “historic event...with a lush orchestration that hits you in the solar plexus” by The Philadelphia Inquirer. His triple concerto Contact had its world premiere in March 2022 with the Florida Orchestra, and will receive additional performances this summer with the Philadelphia Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and Sun Valley Symphony. A recording of the piece by the Philadelphia Orchestra will be released on the Deutsche Grammophon label.

Among his other recent works is an orchestral song cycle based on the letters of Georgia O’Keeffe and Alfred Stieglitz titled The Brightness of Light, which received its world premiere in 2019 by the Boston Symphony Orchestra with soloists Renée Fleming and baritone Rod Gilfry. It has subsequently been performed by the Los Angeles Opera Orchestra, Colorado Symphony and National Symphony in Washington, D.C. Another new work for orchestra, Virelai, was premiered in September 2019 by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. His other recent works include an Oboe Concerto, Moonlight, commissioned by the Baltimore Symphony for its principal oboist Katherine Needleman, and Silent Night Elegy, an orchestral fantasy based on music from Silent Night, premiered by the San Francisco Symphony. His first chamber opera, an adaptation of Peter Ackroyd’s gothic novel The Trial of Elizabeth Cree with libretto by Mark Campbell, was commissioned and premiered by Opera Philadelphia in 2017.

Puts’ music is well-represented on recordings, including an album of Silent Night with the Minnesota Opera, conducted by former Minnesota Orchestra Associate Conductor Courtney Lewis and released on the Naxos label in fall 2021, and well as Loves Comes in at the Eye, released in 2018 by Albany Records.

For more information, visit kevinputs.com.