The music of Eric Sawyer receives frequent performances on both coasts, including at New York’s Weill and Merkin concert halls and at Tanglewood, as well as in England, France, and Germany. Many of his larger works connect to American historical subjects, though he also has a substantial output of abstract instrumental music. Sawyer’s first opera Our American Cousin, telling the story of Lincoln’s assassination at Ford’s Theater through the eyes of the actors and audience, was premiered in 2008 by the Boston Modern Orchestra Project and released on the BMOP/sound label. Premiered in 2013 Fantasy Concerto: Concord Conversations was composed for the renowned piano trio Triple Helix and the Concord Orchestra, and based on transcendentalist writings . A chamber music collection String Works and the cantata The Humble Heart, based on texts of the American Shakers, is available on CD from Albany Records. Mr. Sawyer has received the Joseph Bearns Prize, awards from the Tanglewood Music Center and the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and a recent prize from the Ravinia Festival for his piano trio Lincoln’s Two Americas. He is on the music faculty at Amherst College.
Harley Erdman is a dramaturg, playwright, and translator, as well as Professor of
Theater at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. In addition to The Garden of Martyrs, he wrote the libretto for Paula Kimper’s opera The Captivation of Eunice Williams (2004), a piece also inspired by local history. His commissioned work as a translator of contemporary Latin American theater includes work from Mexico, Nicaragua, and Chile. He has translated Spanish Golden Age plays by Calderón, Lope de Vega and Tirso de Molina, two of which were recently published by Aris & Phillips. He is currently working on a collection of translations of plays by 17th-century Spanish women, and co-editing an anthology of essays on theatrical adaptation, to be published next year. He is a winner of the Association for Hispanic Classic Theater’s Translation Prize, the author of the monograph Staging the Jew (1997), and the winner of the Kahn Award for outstanding scholarship from the American Society for Theatre Research. Other creative collaborations include work in puppetry, musical theater, and verbatim theater. Other plays and adaptations include Galloping by Gaslight (1991) and The Outcast In (1993), produced with his theater company Troupe Texas, and Marta the Divine (2009) and Suitors (2013), produced at the University of Massachusetts. Currently, he is working on an original historically based screwball comedy set in the Northampton Academy of Music in the 1940s, to be performed here in 2014.
Michael C. White
Michael C. White is the author of six novels, including The Garden of Martyrs, from which the opera is adapted. His latest is Beautiful Assassin (2010). Others include Soul Catcher, A Booksense selection; A Brother’s Blood, which was a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and a Barnes and Noble Discover Great New Writers nominee; and The Blind Side of the Heart, an Alternate Book-of-the-Month Club selection; A Dream of Wolves, which received starred reviews from Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly. A collection of his short stories, Marked Men, was published by the University of Missouri Press.
He has also published over 45 short stories in national magazines and journals, and has won the Advocate Newspapers Fiction Award and been nominated for both a National Magazine Award and a Pushcart. He was the founding editor of the yearly fiction anthology American Fiction, and was the editor of Dogwood: A Journal of Poetry and Prose. He teaches fiction writing workshops and literature courses at Fairfield University, and is the Program Director of Fairfield University’s MFA in Creative Writing.