Opera Theatre of Saint Louis Announces High School Composers Workshop THE LAB in Partnership with Terence Blanchard, Lamar Harris, and Jazz St. Louis

Applications are open now through February 15 for students to work one-on-one with Grammy Award-winning composer Terence Blanchard and St. Louis-based DJ and educator Lamar Harris in a two-month program to develop their musical voices across genres

Opera Theatre of Saint Louis and Jazz St. Louis announce THE LAB, a collaborative workshop for high school composers, improvisors, and musical artists. THE LAB is led by Grammy award-winning composer Terence Blanchard and St. Louis-based DJ and educator Lamar Harris; high school-age composers selected for the program will work to develop their own compositional voices and styles across all genres. Over a period of six three-hour sessions from March 17 through May 19, students will develop original compositions to be presented at a final public performance, which will be professionally recorded.


This new collaborative initiative is a continuation of Terence Blanchard’s community engagement activities throughout St. Louis in preparation for the opening of his world premiere opera Fire Shut Up in My Bones at OTSL on June 15, 2019. The program is inspired in part by the Sundance Composers Lab, at which Mr. Blanchard was recently also a master teaching artist for young composers. By bringing together young composers who are each passionate about a variety of musical styles – from hip hop to jazz to classical and beyond – the program hopes to inspire young people to find musical connections across these diverse genres.

Applications are due on February 15, and accepted applicants will be notified by February 22. Students must submit an application, a sample of original music, and a letter of recommendation online at opera-stl.org/thelab. Applicants must be ages 14-18 and able to attend all six working sessions.

Kick-Off/Session 1: Sunday, March 17, 2019 3:00 p.m.

Working Session 2: Sunday, March 31, 2019 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Working Session 3: Sunday, April 14, 2019 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Working Session 4: Sunday, April 28, 2019 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Working Session 5: Sunday, May 5, 2019 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Working Session 6/Final Performance: Saturday, May 19

Students with limited access to transportation may qualify for transportation assistance. To inquire about THE LAB, contact Mia DeJong, Manager of Education and Community Engagement, at miad@opera-stl.org.

About Terence Blanchard
Five-time Grammy Award-winning trumpeter and composer, Terence Blanchard is one of the most prolific brass players, band leaders, jazz composers, and recording artists of his generation. Since his solo album was released in 1991, Blanchard has composed provocative new jazz material, recorded over 30 albums, composed more than 50 soundtracks, and, in 2013, debuted the opera Champion at Opera Theatre of Saint Louis. Blanchard will return to St. Louis in 2019 for the world premiere of his second opera, Fire Shut Up in My Bones, with libretto by Kasi Lemmons. Blanchard has collaborated extensively with director Spike Lee, including composing the scores for BlacKkKlansmanChi-RaqMalcolm XWhen The Levees Broke, and Mo’ Better Blues

About Lamar Harris

A respected artist, educator, arranger and music director, Lamar Harris has shared the stage with Babyface, Doug E. Fresh, Lee Fields, Marc de Clive Low, New Edition and Sheila E. In July 2014, St. Louis Magazine named him as the Best Multi-talented DJ in St. Louis. Harris was theRiverfront Time’s 2013 and 2010 Best Jazz Artist and Best Funk/R&B/Soul award, as well as one of Missouri’s 2010 winners of the Peabody Logos Leadership in Education Award. He is a member of Actors Equity Association, St. Louis Low Brass Collective and creator of the musical Superheroes of Blackness.

Fire Shut Up in My Bones is made possible in part by the Fred M. Saigh Endowment at Opera Theatre and by the Sally S. Levy Family Fund for New Works, which provides support for contemporary opera and related community engagement activities. Leadership support comes from the Whitaker FoundationThe Andrew W. Mellon FoundationCentene Charitable Foundation, Noémi & Michael Neidorff, and the Berges Family Foundation.

This production is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and made possible by an OPERA America Innovation Grant, supported by the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. Major production support is provided by Wells Fargo Advisors and OPERA America’s Opera Fund.  A generous endowment gift from the late Pris McDonnell supports composer and librettist residencies, and audience development programming for this project is made possible by PNC Arts Alive.