Matt Aucoin: "Walt Whitman and the Ethics of Optimism"

This lecture and performance features 2018 MacArthur Fellow Matthew Aucoin, composer and writer of the critically acclaimed original opera Crossing, based on Walt Whitman's diary entries during his time tending wounded soldiers in the Civil War. Aucoin will discuss Whitman, the creation of Crossing, and the themes the opera addresses. The event will include a performance of songs from Crossing sung by leading American operatic baritone Rod Gilfry, who originated the role of Whitman, and accompanied by pianist Adam Nielsen. This event celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Walt Whitman on Long Island (May 1819) and offers a rare opportunity for audiences in the New York area to hear this critically acclaimed work, which was last performed on thr East coast at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in 2017.

Matthew Aucoin is a composer, conductor, writer, and pianist. His musical works vividly communicate the nuances, ambiguities, and multiple meanings of texts in musical form. Aucoin is both Artist-in-Residence at the Los Angeles Opera and co-artistic director of the newly-formed American Modern Opera Company. Aucoin is currently at work on a new opera, Eurydice, which has been co-commissioned by the Metropolitan Opera and the Los Angeles Opera. 

Daveed will sing the role of John Wormley.

Free and open to the public.

For more information on the Run Run Shaw lecture series, visit