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Lisa DeSpain

Lisa DeSpain

Biography

LISA DESPAIN is an award winning composer of opera, musical theatre and concert works.
She is the winner of the 2020 Zepick Modern Opera Commission and a 2018 OPERA America Discovery Grant.

THAT HELL-BOUND TRAIN, her deal-with-the-devil/blues opera, is the recipient of a 2020 National Endowment for the Arts Award. (Libretto by David Simpatico, based on a short story by Robert Bloch - PSYCHO.)

STAGGERWING, about the historic win by female pilots in the 1936 Bendix Trophy Air Race premieres in April 2021 with Opera Kansas. (Libretto by Rachel J. Peters)

Her junior musical, LIKE I CARE!, (Tale of a Middle School Scrooge) premieres with the Ira Jones Middle School during the 2020-2021 academic year via Zoom/YouTube. (Lyrics by Sara Wordsworth)

Lisa is the choral arranger of Broadway hits for the education market, including HAMILTON, IN THE HEIGHTS, NEXT TO NORMAL, ONCE, GREEN DAY: AMERICAN IDIOT, and more. (Alfred Publications)

Lisa is a Professor at CUNY (LaGuardia Community College) and clinician presenting masterclasses on composing for the musical stage with Utah Opera, University of North Texas, Young Women's Composer Camp, and University of Utah.

Dramatists Guild Fellowship, Copland House Fellow, ASCAP Commission Honoring the Duke Ellington Centennial, and the ASCAP Film Composers Workshop.

She ran away and joined the circus...twice.

Professional Experience

  • Broadway
  • Off Broadway
  • Regional
  • Concerts/Cabaret
  • Education
  • Tours

Regions

  • NYC/Tri-State Area
  • Denver/West

Hireable as

  • Theatrical Composer (Music and Lyrics)
  • Theatrical Composer (Music only)
  • Music Director/Conductor (Pianist)
  • Vocal Arranger
  • Classroom music teacher at an educational institution

Instruments

  • Piano
  • Voice

Software

  • Finale
  • Logic

Affiliations

  • THE AMERICAN FEDERATION OF MUSICIANS (AFM)
  • ASCAP
  • THE DRAMATISTS GUILD

Pronouns

  • She/Her