He has been honored and recognized for his contributions from the United Nations; the National Endowment for the Arts; the National Gallery; the American Choral Directors Association; the Music Educators National Conference, and was presented with a lifetime achievement award from the National Opera Association. In 2012 the University of Kansas awarded him its first honorary degree of Doctor of Arts.
Mechem's compositions cover almost every genre, but vocal music is the core of his work. His three-act opera, Tartuffe, has been performed over 400 times in six countries. His extensive choral works have garnered him the title of "dean of American choral composers." The premiere of Mechem's large-scale dramatic opera based on American abolitionist John Brown was commissioned to celebrate Lyric Opera Kansas City's 50th anniversary. Songs of the Slave — a suite for bass-baritone, soprano, chorus and orchestra from the opera John Brown — had its 100th performance in Boston Symphony Hall, April, 2018. His comic opera, The Rivals (an American update of Sheridan’s classic play, The Rivals), was premiered in 2011 by Skylight Opera in Milwaukee. The concert premiere of his opera based on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is scheduled for April, 2019.
Mechem’s memoir, Believe Your Ears: Life of a Lyric Composer, won the 2016 ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for “outstanding musical biography.”
For specific inquiries about this composer, please contact Marcos.Cuevas@schirmer.com or call 212-254-2100 x 1132.
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