Rene Orth


Rene Orth is a composer that “breaks new ground” (Opera News), writing music described as “…always dramatic, reflective, rarely predictable, and often electronic” (Musical America). She currently serves as Opera Philadelphia’s 6th Composer in Residence, a post that she will hold through the 2018-19 season. Her work has been performed by a variety of opera companies and orchestras, including Berkeley Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, Festival d’Aix en Provence, Fort Worth Opera, and Washington National Opera. She has collaborated with notable artists and ensembles such as the Del Sol, Dover and Aizuri Quartets, Anthony Roth Costanzo, Daniela Mack Shrader, Seraph Brass, Rock School of Dance, and Pennsylvania Ballet.

​The 2018-2019 season will be a busy one. New commissions and premieres include a violin concerto for soloist Alex Boissonnault and Summerville Orchestra, a chamber piece for Philadelphia’s Network for New Music, and a Curtis Opera Theater production of a newly revised and orchestrated version of her chamber opera, Empty the House,(librettist Mark Campbell) with Mary Birnbaum as director. Rene will also attend Tapestry Opera’s 2018 Composer-Librettist Laboratory as a resident composer, and the coming season features performances by North Carolina Symphony, Seraph Brass, and ALIAS chamber ensemble.

In May of 2018, Opera Philadelphia featured an excerpt of her new chamber opera inspired by Nellie Bly’s 10 Days in a Madhouse (librettist Hannah Moscovitch) on their Double Exposure program. The same scene was presented twice with two different directors (Mary Birnbaum, Alison Moritz), conductors (Daniela Candillari, Carlos Agreda Arango), and casts. Further development of the piece will continue to be explored this season through her residency with Opera Philadelphia. She was a recipient of a 2016 OPERA America Discovery Grant, which contributed to the development of a new opera, Machine, with librettist Jason Kim. An excerpt of the piece was most recently featured in OPERA America’s 2017 New Works Showcase. In 2014, Rene was commissioned by Washington National Opera/American Opera Initiative Program for a chamber opera, An American Man (librettist Jason Kim), which premiered at the Kennedy Center. In the summer of 2015, Rene was invited to participate in Festival d‘Aix en Provence’s Opera in Creation “Reflection” Workshop and returned in 2016 as one of three composers selected for the Festival’s Song and Creation Residency.

She served on the Theory/Composition faculty for Luzerne Music Center and held residencies at the artist colonies of Yaddo and Virginia Center for Creative Arts. Rene participated in the Lake Champlain Music Festival, Fresh Inc Festival, and Atlantic Music Festival. She was a recipient of an American Composers Forum Subito grant, and Kentucky Foundation for Women Artist Enrichment Grant.

Rene is a recent graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, where held the Edward B. Garrigues Fellowship. Past teachers and mentors include David Ludwig, Mikael Eliasen, Jennifer Higdon, Richard Danielpour, Steve Rouse, and Brandon Goff. She earned an M.M. in Music Composition at the University of Louisville as a Moritz von Bomhard Fellow and holds degrees from MediaTech Institute and Rhodes College.