Composer Usher House
Gordon Getty studied at the San Francisco Conservatory. He has produced a steady stream of compositions since the 1980s, beginning with The White Election (1981), a much-performed song cycle on poems by Emily Dickinson. Gordon’s music has been widely performed in North America and Europe in venues including New York’s Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center; London’s Royal Festival Hall; Vienna’s Brahmssaal; Moscow’s Tchaikovsky Hall and Bolshoi Theatre; Aspen, Spoleto, and Bad Kissingen Festivals. Poetry from the 19th and early-20th centuries has often inspired Gordon in his vocal compositions. His choral works include Victorian Scenes (1989, to texts by Tennyson and Housman); Annabel Lee (1990, to a poem by Poe); Young America (2001), a cycle of six movements for chorus and orchestra to texts by the composer and by Stephen Vincent Benét; Joan and the Bells, a cantata portraying the trial and execution of Joan of Arc; works based on Keats’ La Belle Dame Sans Merci, Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Match Girl, and an original poem that he modelled on Masefield, The Old Man in the Night; a new setting of the traditional text Hodie Christus Natus Est for children’s chorus or women’s chorus accompanied by chamber ensemble. Gordon has also composed the operas Plump Jack, involving adventures of Shakespeare’s Sir John Falstaff, premiered by the San Francisco Symphony in 1984; Usher House (derived from Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher), premiered by WNO this season; The Canterville Ghost (after Oscar Wilde’s tale). Although most of Gordon’s works feature the voice, he has also written for orchestra, chamber ensembles, and solo piano.