May 19th to June 5th, 2018
The Nautilus Composer-Librettist Studio is designed to provide an opportunity for five writers and five composers to work with five professional performers, exploring the possibilities and basic elements of music-theater. The studio focuses on the process of collaboration through a series of brief exploratory assignments for the writers and composers. The exercises are then sight-read by the performers in brief working sessions. The participants rotate partners, and the process is repeated four more times. Within the two-week period, all composers work with all writers and all performers. Toward the end of the studio, an informal reading of all the compositions is held.
The studio is co-directed by Ben Krywosz (Artistic Director of Nautilus Music-Theater) and music director Sonya Thompson. All working sessions will be held at the Nautilus Studio in Lowertown Saint Paul. It is not intended as a developmental session for existing pieces, but concentrates more on the collaborative process, nurturing relationships and suggesting ways that writers, composers, and performers can work together. The collaborative atmosphere of the studio is relatively free from the performance pressures usually associated with the commercial musical theater or opera field. First created in 1984, Krywosz has conducted 62 studios around the country in such cities as New York (through New Dramatists), San Francisco, Washington, Chicago, Portland, Los Angeles, and Miami. All the studios have nurtured collaborative teams that have gone on to develop and produce new work.
The studio is an intensive two-week program with sessions scheduled primarily during afternoons, along with a few mornings and evenings. It will begin Saturday, May 19th and continue daily through Sunday, June 3rd, 2018. Selected pieces will be presented in Nautilus’ Rough Cuts series June 4th and 5th. It has been strongly recommended by past participants that we require writers and composers not to work on any other projects during the studio, since most outside time is spent writing and composing.
Because we see this studio as a long-term investment program in the professional development of creative and performing artists, each composer, writer, and performer will receive a $600 honorarium for participating in this program. Participants (60% of whom will be emerging artists) are chosen by a panel including program directors and selected past participants. This activity is made possible, in part, by a generous grant from the Jerome Foundation, along with individual donors.
Composers and writers are selected through a highly competitive application process, and must be current residents of Minnesota. Online applications are available at
In order to fill out this form and submit your application online, you must have a Gmail account (which is free and easy to set up). Alternatively, you can send us an email us at
and we can send you a PDF, which you can then fill out by hand and return to us via snail mail, or by dropping it off at our Studio in Lowertown St Paul. Questions may also be sent to this email address; no phone calls please. Applications materials (forms, resumes, scripts, scores, and recordings) must be submitted by March 30th, 2018.