Claudia Stevens

Visiting Scholar


Claudia Stevens continues in her appointment as Visiting Scholar in Music. She has received many honors and artist residencies, first as a composers' pianist, subsequently as a multidisciplinary performer and playwright, and recently as a librettist. These include grants from the Virginia Commission for the Arts to create and present her original works on tour. With degrees in music from Vassar College (summa cum laude), UC, Berkeley, and the DMA from Boston University, she was an Adjunct Associate Professor of Piano at William & Mary until 2005.

Claudia has just completed the libretto for a major new opera, Howards End in her newest collaboration with composer Allen Shearer.

She has created five previous chamber operas with Shearer. Their high profile one-act The Dawn Makers (2009) was one of three finalists in the National Opera Association's 2015 Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Competition. The premiere of their widely acclaimed Middlemarch in Spring, adapted by Claudia from George Eliot's Middlemarch, took place at Z Space in San Francisco on March 19-22, 2015, produced by Composers, Inc., with leading soloists conducted by Jonathan Khuner of San Francisco, Chicago Lyric and Metropolitan operas. Her adaptation was called "one of uncanny mastery" (Gereben, SF Examiner). Five glowing reviews of the opera, shown here: appeared in Bay Area media outlets. In December, 2015, The San Francisco Chronicle chose Middlemarch in Spring one of ten top opera events of 2015.

Her article "A New Opera: Middlemarch in Spring" has just come out in George Eliot-George Henry Lewes Studies (Penn State Univ. Press, 2015), and Michael Halliwell's review of the opera will appear in the next volume of The George Eliot Review (UK).

Claudia is a contributing director of Sonic Harvest, a new music series in Berkeley, California. She received a Creative Connections grant from New Music USA for her works presented by Sonic Harvest in 2012 and shared a 2014 New Music USA grant with composer Allen Shearer toward production of Middlemarch in Spring. This interview with Claudia, about her career and her works as librettist, by musical journalist Erica Miner, appeared in Broadway World and the "LA Opus" website (Los Angeles) in 2015. Several of her plays and her libretto for the comic chamber opera, "A Very Large Mole" appear in the avant-garde literary journal Exquisite Corpse.

A recent Wikipedia article about Claudia's career includes references to the expanding archive of her papers at Swem Library Special Collections.