Neal Goren

Neal Goren

Conductor Neal Goren has been lauded by the New York Times for his “vivid, atmospheric performances” and for leading his orchestras “with considerable force” (Musical America) in performances throughout his career.  Labeled a specialist in both contemporary and rarely performed works, Goren maintains an active career as a frequent guest conductor throughout North American and Europe.

In the summer of 2020, he founded Catapult Opera, where he also serves as Artistic Director, a project-driven organization supporting innovation and experimentation in opera.  The mission of Catapult Opera is to support artists across musical genres by providing the opportunity to realize operatic work that falls outside the bounds of the traditional Western classical cannon.  Their first digital commission, The Glitch, a one act opera by Nico Muhly and Greg Pierce, conducted by Goren, was released in February of 2021. Upcoming productions include Errollyn Wallen’s The Silent Twins, Toshio Hosokawa’s Hanjo, Nadia Boulander’s La ville morte, and David Hertzberg’s The Wake World.  Future commissions also include the works of R&B singer-songwriter Celisse Henderson, performance artist Laurie Anderson, rock and roll singer-songwriter Tamar-Kali, and metal singer-songwriter Jessica Pimentel.

Artist Bio

Conductor Neal Goren has been lauded by the New York Times for his “vivid, atmospheric performances” and for leading his orchestras “with considerable force” (Musical America) in performances throughout his career.  Labeled a specialist in both contemporary and rarely performed works, Goren maintains an active career as a frequent guest conductor throughout North American and Europe.

Notable appearances include Respighi’s La bella dormente nel bosco for the Lincoln Center Festival and Spoleto Festival USA, Transformations by Conrad Susa, for San Francisco Opera’s Merola Program, The Turn of the Screw with Opera de Nantes and Angers in France, Die Zauberflöte for the Trentino Festival, the World Premiere of Mila by Eli Marshall for Asia Society of Hong Kong with subsequent performances in New York and San Francisco, the U.S. premiere of Anaïs Nin and Odysseus’ Women by Louis Andriessen for the Center for Contemporary Opera, Krasa’s Brundibar for the City University of New York, and the World premiere of Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters for Gotham Chamber Opera, as well as reprisals for Opera Philadelphia and in the European premiere for the Trentino Festival in Italy.

In the summer of 2020, he founded Catapult Opera, where he also serves as Artistic Director, a project-driven organization supporting innovation and experimentation in opera.  The mission of Catapult Opera is to support artists across musical genres by providing the opportunity to realize operatic work that falls outside the bounds of the traditional Western classical cannon.  Their first digital commission, The Glitch, a one act opera by Nico Muhly and Greg Pierce, conducted by Goren, was released in February of 2021.  Upcoming productions include Errollyn Wallen’s The Silent Twins, Toshio Hosokawa’s Hanjo, Nadia Boulander’s La ville morte, and David Hertzberg’s The Wake World.  Future commissions also include the works of R&B singer-songwriter Celisse Henderson, performance artist Laurie Anderson, rock and roll singer-songwriter Tamar-Kali, and metal singer-songwriter Jessica Pimentel.

Recognized by the New York Times as “an important artistic voice” for his activities as founder and Artistic Director of Gotham Chamber Opera, he popularized the formerly overlooked genre of chamber opera, bringing works and innovative productions to New York audiences for the first time.  Over fifteen years, he conducted 27 productions, including the World Premieres of Dark Sisters by Nico Muhly’s and I have no stories to tell you by Lembit Beecher as well as the U.S. stage premieres of works by Kaija Saariaho, Toshio Hosokowa, Bohuslav Martinu, and Xavier Montsalvatge. Gotham’s productions often featured unexpected elements, such as site-specific presentations in locales thematically related to the operas, such as Cavalli’s Eliogabalo presented in the Box, a louche Manhattan night club; Haydn’s Il mondo della luna, presented in the Hayden Planetarium of the American Museum of Natural History; and Daniel Catan’s La hija de Rappaccini, presented in the Rose Garden of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and the Greystone Manor Gardens in Beverly Hills, CA.

Goren led several other critically acclaimed productions for the company, including Mozart’s Il sogno di Scipione, Milhaud’s Les Malheurs d’Orphée, Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas (with period instruments), Martinu’s Hlas lesa and Les Larmes du Couteau, Sutermeister’s Die schwarze Spinne, Catan’s Rappacini’s Daughter, Handel’s Arianna in Creta, Rossini’s Il Signor Bruschino, Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel, Hindemith’s Hin und zurück (There and Back), Milhaud’s L’enlèvement d’Europe (The Abduction of Europa), and Ernst Toch’s Die Prinzessin auf der Erbse.

He displayed his skill as an innovative programmer, leading productions of Astor Piazzola’s tango operita Maria de Buenos Aires in coordination with the David Parsons Dance Company, Scenes from Gypsy Life featuring music by Janaĉek and Dvorak, and Ariadne Unhinged featuring music by Monteverdi, Haydn, and Schoenberg. His productions were staged by directors best known for their work in other artistic genres, such as choreographers Mark Morris, Karole Armitage, David Parsons, and Luca Veggetti; Broadway directors Moisès Kaufman and Rebecca Taichman, and puppeteer Basil Twist; and featured sets by internationally celebrated visual artists Georg Baselitz and Vera Lutter.

A much sought-after recital accompanist, Goren was a protétgé of Geoffrey Parsons and has concertized extensively with Leontyne Price, Kathleen Battle, Hei-Kyung Hong, Harolyn Blackwell, Hakan Hagegard, Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, Aprile Millo, Hermann Prey, among others. He is an Associate Professor at Mannes College, The New School for Music, where has served on the faculty since 1991. He is a frequent judge of national and international vocal and composers’ competitions and is a frequent featured guest on the Metropolitan Opera quiz. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Richard Tucker Music Foundation from 1991-2003.

A celebrated writer and lecturer on opera topics, his book, Beyond the Aria; Artistic Self-Empowerment for the Classical Singer was published by Rowman & Littlefied (formerly Amadeus Press) in January 2021. He has written about music and architecture for Yale Constructs Magazine and about music and art for Air Mail online newsletter.

Video

Beyond the Craft | Episode 1 | Joshua Winograde

Beyond The Craft | Episode 2 | Thomas Lausmann

Beyond The Craft | Episode 3 | Michael Heaston

BEYOND THE CRAFT | Bonus Episode | Neal Goren

Press

"performed with considerable force" – Musical America

World Premiere of Eli Marshall's Mila – "Under the musical direction of Neal Goren, a ten-piece ensemble that featured four percussionists on various drums and mallet instruments, performed with considerable force."

"the concept was Neal Goren's" – Musical America

Haydn's Il Mondo della luna – "The concept was Neal Goren's...Goren wisely has reduced the work to about 100 minutes of music, without intermission. He keeps the emphasis on music (nicely-judged orchestral playing) and singing, but gives the visual side full rein, abetted by Paulus' very broad handling of the cast."

"dependably creative and musically keen" – New York Times

Gotham Chamber Opera – "Perhaps most intriguing and promising is the Gotham Chamber Opera. Over the past decade, with ample praise but without much fanfare, Gotham has earned a reputation for being dependably creative and musically keen. Its production last year of Haydn’s “Mondo Della Luna,” ingeniously set amid star projections in the Hayden Planetarium, was one of the delights of recent seasons. Gotham’s founder and artistic director, Neal Goren, has a gift for spotting talented young singers"

"vivid, atmospheric performance conducted by Neal Goren" – New York Times

Toshio Hosokawa's The Raven – "I wish that now and then the singer would break into patter, or skittish bursts that match the instruments — which include a sultry saxophone and a reedy clarinet — especially in the vivid, atmospheric performance conducted by Neal Goren."

"this production was the brainchild of the conductor Neal Goren" – New York Times

The Tempest Songbook – "Gotham closed its 14th season this weekend with a modest, though rewarding offer: 'The Tempest Songbook,' which opened on Friday at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. A collaboration between Gotham and the Martha Graham Dance Company, this production was the brainchild of the conductor Neal Goren, Gotham's artistic director, and the director/choreographer Luca Veggetti."