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Our Monthly Newsletter - December 2023

What’s Ahead for Alliance for New Music-Theatre in 2024?

We are stepping up our activities this season in anticipation of celebrating in 2024 our 30-Year Anniversary of our humble beginnings as a workshop for local artists to advance their collaborative capacities to experiment in the many art forms of music-theatre.


Holiday Gathering

On Sunday, December 10, Alliance for New Music-Theatre hosted our Holiday Gathering to thank Board members, supporters, and friends.

We had a full house! – full of good company, lively music, and much cheer. It was standing room only for our program which introduced two of our new works-in-development and shared updates on exciting initiatives for the year ahead.

It’s the New Music-Theatre way to bring our community into the process of creation at the ground level. It was a great opportunity for artists and audience alike to hear scores for the first time, experience the sparks flying between composer and singer-actors, and to feel the rush of excitement in our talented performers’ early discoveries of original texts and story-telling.

One such number we shared was the opening scene and solo “I Walk Down to the River” by composer Ronald “Trey” Walton III. The character Alfred Pope was formerly enslaved, then manumitted and lived with his wife in the house he built in Georgetown at 29th and O (and it still stands.) On the docks along the Potomac, Alfred ruminates about the currents of ideas and people swirling past in mid-19th century Georgetown. To Trey’s gorgeously rich score with leitmotifs of water and winds-of-change, the audience heard the very impulse of scary creation between composer playing his music and a writer offering an interpretive reading for the first time. (Can’t get more ground floor than that!)

The scene Is part of the company’s ongoing project telling the little-known story of the African American Georgetown community in the mid-19th century. The full work, Emancipation and The Vote, will preview selections mid-March at Mount Zion UM Church, the area’s first African American Church, sponsored by Citizens of Georgetown (CAG,) then receive its premiere of its student version in April 2024.                  More information on our webpage HERE.

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Composer Andrew Earle Simpson and librettist Susan Galbraith shared a new scene from their Caesar and the Mannequin, a “Short Gems” opera created during the pandemic in celebration of some the artwork in the Phillips Collection. Caesar, like a certain would-be dictator we know, will not be stuck in a closet and goes up against the ‘degeneracy’ of artists and art-making. John Boulanger as Caesar and Alan Naylor as the slippery, androgynous character of the artist who came to be known as Man/Wo-man Ray, electrified the room.

Javier Arrey, who is featured in our chamber opera – On the Road to Arivaca – offered a powerful rendition of “Pampamapa” by Argentinian composer Carlos Guastavino then invited the Youth Chorus (coro de la comunidad) to join him in “O holy Night” sung in Spanish. What a treat for members of our youth chorus to sing with such a world class singer!

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More to follow on this new work in development


The coro also sung a lively favorite, “El Burrito Sabanero,” with a solo taken by one of our youngest singers, Gabriela Ruschel, and was led by Maestro Leo Herrera - our much beloved – Choral Director.

The program closed out with a Singalong of several holiday songs, which everyone certainly enjoyed.

Our coro has also sung in public performances at Hamilton Live for the DC Office of Latino Affairs and for District Bridges at the Christmas tree lighting ceremony at Columbia Heights Civic Plaza.

More information on how to support and join our coro on our webpage HERE


As a small not-for-profit 501(c)3 public charity organization, Alliance for New Music-Theatre’s mission is to:

  1. Nurture the creation, development and production of new works of music-theatre

  2. Foster the development of professional and young artists

  3. Engage audiences in the creative process to promote a deeper understanding and critical appreciation of the transformative power of music-theatre.

This Holiday Gathering featured all three parts that build on each other.

We need your support to continue to fulfill our mission. There are many opportunities to provide support at various levels by supporting an artist, a production, or general support.


The Donate page on our website has information about ways to contribute. Donate | New Music-Theatre (


Composer Librettist Studio

We are pleased to announce our new initiative: the Composer-Librettist Studio!

The CL Studio returns to DC in July 2024 and will be hosted at the Music Department of the University of the District of Columbia.

We plan to conduct the CL Studio annually in DC as an intensive workshop for professional artists that demands a full-time commitment of all participants for two and a half weeks. The CL Studio is a unique, ongoing professional development program that provides an opportunity for five composers, five librettists and five singer-actors to focus on the principles and process of collaboration through a series of brief exploratory assignments in the hybrid form of music-theatre.


In June 2023, New Music-Theatre conducted its first full Composer-Librettist Studio since an inaugural studio in DC in 1994, which seeded our company. Ben Krywosz, Artistic Director of Nautilus Theater Company and Founder of the program led the 18-day intensive workshop at UDC with Music Director Sonja Thompson for fifteen professional artists from the DMV. All composers work with all writers and performers in rotating assignments to push the artists out of their comfort zones and support the growth of everyone to develop new capacities. On the final day, an informal sharing of all the short pieces allows these talented artists and courageous risk-takers to celebrate new voices and seeds of work.

All participants emerged with renewed confidence and commitment to the craft, as well as a committed network of sustaining supporters, energized and well-equipped to advance the field.

Participants at our 2023 CL Studios had these comments:


  • “If I had been part of the original CLS here in 1994, I would have been a better writer and collaborator. It has changed my life.”

  • “I never realized I’d learn these things and absorb so many great concepts.”

  • “I have gone from being simply a singer to a performer and storyteller. You don’t learn this in other conventional programs and conservatories… It was a magical experience.”


All participants are carefully selected through an application process to represent diversity of experience, ages, cultural backgrounds, and styles of music and textual expression. All participants receive an stipend.

If you are interested to participate in this Studio next June in 2024, we are glad to answer any questions you may have. Just email us at

For more information on our webpage HERE.


Featured Artist - Javier Arrey - Bringing the Very Best

Many of our followers had the opportunity to experience the artistry of Baritone Javier Arrey sing the lead character, The Samaritan, in the chamber opera On the Road to Arivaca by Composer Rosino Serrano and Librettist Susan Galbraith. The opera tells the story of unintended encounters on our southern border. There were two different workshops in 2022 and 2023, and one of those concerts was sponsored by the cultural arm of the European Union as part of their conference on global migration.


However, few people had the privilege of being in on the ground floor of this creation and the first concert Javier gave introducing The Samaritan’s first aria, based on a poem by Mexican American Larry Ortiz, hosted by The Mexican Cultural institute in Columbia Heights and St. Thomas Church in Dupont Circle. We had just launched our Youth chorus (coro de la comunidad) in preparation to integrate a neighborhood coro into the development of an original opera. Not only did our young singers get to experience this world-renowned opera singer, they got to sing with this man, simply the very best.

And they got to again this past Sunday at our New Music-Theatre House Concert and Holiday Gathering.

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This is not the only opportunity the amazing baritone has paid it forward, inspiring the next generation to develop a passion for opera and the performing arts. Before Maryland Lyric Opera closed before opening its 2023-2024 season, Javier designed and led two experiential projects, bringing students to the opera and bringing opera into the schools. He gave students an introduction to the world of this most fully synthetic art form, combing drama, singing, full orchestra, often dance, and almost always visual design. He gave hundreds of students opportunities they might never have had, including touring backstage and meeting the artists.

Born in Chile, Javier knows first-hand how one positive performance experience can light a fire in a young person and make him or her dream big. And he has spoken of how artists too need that live energy passing between stage and audience, “The labor of every Artist achieves its greatest fulfillment, only when it’s shared with someone else.”


A key element in Javier’s conception of his arts-in-education model is one we share in New Music-Theatre: first impressions are crucial; bring nothing less than the very best to the schools and community, and this includes the best singers available in the area for the concerts at schools, educational materials to give context, and buy-in from the parents and teachers, especially the music teacher of each school.


Stay tuned as Javier and Artistic Director Susan Galbraith work together with company members and partners like Conductor Angel Gil Ordoñez to develop further the model and carry forward community engagement with students.

Read more about Javier Arrey on his webpage HERE.


We invite you to join us by helping with your financial support and human resources to bring to the next generation the very best.

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