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Rachel J Peters

Rachel J Peters

  • She/Her
  • Biography

    Composer/librettist Rachel J. Peters writes all manner of works for the stage. primarily operas that sound like musicals and musicals that sound like operas, including: Lesson Plan (On Site Opera), Companionship (Virginia Arts Festival, Fort Worth Opera), Rootabaga Country (Sarasota Opera), The Wild Beast of the Bungalow with Royce Vavrek (Oberlin Conservatory), No Ladies in the Lady’s Book (Utah Opera; published by E.C. Schirmer), Staggerwing (Opera Kansas), and Men I’m Not Married To (Cleveland Opera Theater) with Lisa DeSpain; Steve (Boston Opera Collaborative), Everything Comes to a Head with Margi Preus and Jean Sramek (Lyric Opera of the North/Decameron Opera Coalition), Pie, Pith, and Palette with Marvin J. Carlton (The Atlanta Opera), and Monkey Do (Rhymes With Opera). She has the distinct honor of writing the only opera score including a barfing cat ever performed (so far, at least) at the Caramoor Festival. Several more operas are in progress.

    Rachel’s musicals include Only Children with Michael R. Jackson (NYU Tisch, Lincoln Center Directors Lab), Tiny Feats of Cowardice with Susan Bernfield (NYC Fringe Festival), Write Left with John Walch (Playwrights Horizons Theatre School), Tomato Red (UC Irvine), and Octopus Heart (NYU Steinhardt). Scores for plays include Stretch (a fantasia) (New Georges) and Tania in the Getaway Van (Flea Theater) by Susan Bernfield, Transatlantic by John Walch (Arkansas Rep), The Bacchae (Asolo Rep Conservatory), and several works by Stan Richardson. Her concert mini-monodrama, Ethel Smyth Plays Golf in Limbo, written for Albatross Duo, was performed at Semperoper Dresden and continues to enjoy performances all over the US. Other concert works include If You Can Prove That I Should Set You Free (Albany Symphony’s Dogs of Desire), Jack's Vocabulary (Hartt SPASM), I Live Here (Galapagos Art Space), Canon I (Two Sides Sounding), And Then (BayPath College), and Fronds: The Wisdom of Fanny Fern (Walt Whitman Project).

    Rachel’s extensive catalogue of art songs and cabaret songs has been performed at Lincoln Center, Second Stage, National Opera Center, Symphony Space, National Sawdust, Ars Nova, Joe's Pub, and cabarets and theatres nationwide. Rachel is a contributing composer/lyricist to the new generation of The AIDS Quilt Songbook. Additionally, her music can be heard on Michael R. Jackson’s Dirty Laundry and Zachary James’s CALL OUT albums. More are forthcoming.

    Rachel has held residencies as composer and/or librettist at Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, Yaddo, Brush Creek Arts, and Soaring Gardens Artists Retreat. Rachel has received Anna Sosenko Assist Trust and multiple ASCAPlus awards. OPERA America awarded her a Female Composers Discovery Grant to write Nothing Except My Genius with Kevin Thomas Townley, Jr., the first wholly original work for Stephanie Blythe’s alter ego, Blythely Oratonio; other such grants were awarded to Sarasota Opera for Rootabaga Country and to Rachel’s collaborator Leanna Kirchoff for their opera Friday After Friday. Rachel is a proud alumna of New Dramatists Composer-Librettist Studio, The American Opera Project’s Composers and the Voice, and the John Duffy Institute for New Opera. She holds a double B.A. summa cum laude from Brandeis University and an MFA from New York University’s Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program, and she serves on the Opera Committee of the Dramatists Guild.

    Professional Experience

    • Regional
    • Concerts/Cabaret
    • Education


    • NYC/Tri-State Area

    Interested in touring?

    • Yes

    Maestra Expertise

    • Theatrical Composer (Music and Lyrics)
    • Theatrical Composer (Music only)
    • Theatrical Bookwriter
    • Opera Librettist
    • Vocal Arranger
    • Incidental Music Composer/Arranger
    • Music Transcriber

    Primary Instruments

    • Piano


    • Finale


    • ASCAP