Eric Salzman: Composer, Author, Music Theater Innovator


Facebook posts

Kristin Norderval recently posted the following:

“WOW. What a year it has been!!
Beyond the political turbulence, there were many personal firsts.

2016 saw the premiere of my first full-length opera -The Trials of Patricia Isasa – at the Monument National Theater in Montreal; the release of my first CD on a jazz label; and the first performance in New York of ‘Cassandra Ground Zero’, a one woman opera written for me by Eric Salzman in 2001 that has had multiple performances in Europe but none in the US until this year in a new production expertly directed by Kira Simring and produced by the Center for Contemporary Opera. In the fall of 2016 I also had the honor of creating the soundscore for a new jill sigman/thinkdance production – Weed Heart – and participating in multiple related talk-backs and community meetings focused on issues of sustainability and racial justice. All of my work this year felt extremely relevant to the big issues that we are grappling with at this time.”

For those who need an introduction, Kristin is a hugely talented Norwgian-American singer, composer and computer performer!. Her No. 1 achievement in 2016 was the premiere of her own work, “The Trials of Patricia Isasa”, based on the true story of a survivor from the dark period of Argentine fascism not so many years ago. I believe that, unbelievably enough, Patricia Asasa herself attended the premiere which was very well received in Canada although, as usual with important American work abroad, it was ignored here. Anyway it’s an honor to be No. 2 on her 2016 hit list. It was a wonderful performance of “Cassandra” (produced by the Center for Contemporary Opera in collaboration with The Cell) and it can be seen on YouTube!

Ed Shockley, a writer and playwright from Philadelphia, wrote the libretto for “Bobos”, a hip-hop opera, with James McBride which I produced with the American Music Theater Festival. His post was a generous plug for the Oxford New Music Theater book that I wrote with Thomas Desi:

“James McBride and I worked this Eric Salzman several years in Philadelphia as we were doing “Bobos.” This is an important book. James McBride and I worked almost ten years to make it but Eric Salzman was the only one who was not afraid to say the work “Hip-Hop-Opera. (See number 367 in this book.)

Alternatives to grand opera and the popular musical can be traced at least as far back as the 1912 premiere of Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire. Yet this ongoing history has never been properly sorted out, its complex ideas and philosophy as well as musical and theatrical achievements never brought full…”


Date Posted // January 11, 2017
In Categories // Cassandra, Music Theater, News, Projects, The New Music Theater, Works and Productions

an on-line review of the music-theater book

Perry J. Greenbaum, a genial and insightful Canadian blogger on political and cultural subjects, has just posted a notice about “The New Music Theater: Seeing the Voice, Hearing the Body”, the book by Thomas Desi and myself published by Oxford University Press. Here’s the link.

Date Posted // April 18, 2013
In Categories // Music Theater, News, Reviews, The New Music Theater, Writings

The New Music Theater for Christmas

Trish Causey has put The New Music Theater in her top 10 list of Christmas gifts in her Theater Blog for

“Eric Salzman and Thomas Desi have done an incredible job of mapping the vast and ever-changing artform of Musical Theatre. No longer viewed as the unfortunate hybrid of operetta and Vaudeville, Music Theatre is an artform to be reckoned with… This 416-page survey of changing writing and performing styles should be on the book of every theatre lover.”

Date Posted // November 02, 2011
In Categories // Music Theater, News, Reviews, The New Music Theater, Writings

News for The New Music Theater

The ezine NewMusicBox (Frank Oteri, editor) is running an excerpt from the Oxford book The New Music Theater and an interview with Eric Salzman. A different excerpt will appear in the next issue of the Kurt Weill Newsletter. Oxford has also submitted the book to the Kurt Weill Foundation which gives an annual award to the best book on the subject of music theater.

A related article written by Salzman will appear in the next issue of the Yale Theater Review. It’s entitled Speaking in Tongues, or Why Should Eclectic Be a Bad Word? It will be illustrated by a lot of his work, past and present, and should be out by the fall.

Date Posted // June 07, 2009
In Categories // Music Theater, News, The New Music Theater, Writings

German Book Launch for The New Music Theater

Buchpräsentation: Thomas Desi/Eric Salzman: “The New Music Theater. Seeing the Voice, Hearing the Body”

Thomas Desi präsentiert passend zum Operettenwinter in brut seine gemeinsam mit Eric Salzman verfasste jüngste Publikation The New Music Theater.

Mit diesem Buch liefern die beiden Autoren einen soziologischen und künstlerischen Abriss des Genres Musiktheater jenseits von Oper und Musical und erörtern in vielfältiger Weise wie Musik im Theater funktioniert. Mit einer Fülle an Beispielen und Beschreibungen, nicht nur von Inszenierungen, sondern auch von Ideen, Konzepten und Trends im Musiktheater zeigen die Autoren das Potential eines lange verkannten Genres auf. Zahlreiche Illustrationen und Bilder zu Arbeiten zeitgenössischer Regisseure veranschaulichen die neuesten Entwicklungen und Thesen im Musiktheater und machen The New Music Theater zu einem unverzichtbaren Standardwerk des Genres.

“As an artist who has worked between the cracks of art forms since the 1960’s, I applaud Salzman and Desi for providing a fresh and inclusive survey of the important and evolving field of new music theater- a form that continues to expand our perception of what is possible in art that lives and breathes.”

20 uhr
brut im Künstlerhaus/Foyer
Eintritt frei

Date Posted // January 05, 2009
In Categories // Events, The New Music Theater, Writings