top of page

Composer-Librettist Studio

We are pleased to announce the 2024 Composer-Librettist Studio to be held July 15 -30 at the Music Department of the University of the District of Columbia.

Per the Department Head "The UDC Music program is delighted to once again host the Composer Librettist Studio. It’s a wonderful opportunity for our program and our regional community."


 The CL Studio will be co-led by Ben Krywosz, Artistic Director of Nautilus Theater Company in St. Paul and Founder of the Composer Librettist Studio method and our own Susan Galbraith, Artistic Director of Alliance for New Music-Theatre.

Sonja Thompson returns to coach and collaborate as Music Director.

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. This nationally-renowned training program has been preparing professional artists to deepen their understanding of collaborative principles across the spectrum of music-theatre since 1986.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 the first Nautilus Composer-Librettist Studio in DC since an inaugural studio 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 of new Music-Theatre


 All participants are carefully selected through an application process to represent diversity of experience, ages, cultural backgrounds, and styles of music and textual expression.  Successful participants are eager to collaborate and be stretched out of their comfort zone. Singer-Actors gain experience and tools to contribute to collaborative processes

Some of the writers who are alums of the Composer-Librettist Studio program include Eric Overmeyer, David Ives, Kira Obolensky, Kelley Rourke, José Cruz Gonzáles, Nilo Cruz, and Caridad Svich. 

Composers have included Paul Dresher, Ricky Ian Gordon, Mary Ellen Childs, and O-Lan Jones.

Participants at our 2023 CL Studios felt the workshop was unique and life changing, including these comments:

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

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

Performers shared “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.”

“This studio wonderfully destroyed my preconceptions of all art, entertainment, and storytelling,” summarized one participant, “The tools [I learned here]. were craft-changing for me.”

 All participants are given a stipend to participate and are expected to participate in all session.

This is a Full-time commitment 

If you are interested to participate in this CL Studio in July 2024 as a Composer or Librettist, please apply with this online form:

If you are interested to participate in this CL Studio in July 2024 as a Singer - Actor, please apply with this online form:

We are glad to answer any questions you may have. Just email us at


Applications are now due no later than February 25, 2024.

Applicants will be notified of acceptance by  mid-March.

bottom of page