Portland Opera has announced that Damien Geter has been appointed Interim Music Director as the company plans to launch season 21/22.
âI think Damien is a genius,â says Sue Dixon, general manager of Portland Opera. “This moment represents the connection of two perfect opportunities: the next steps and growth for the business, and the next steps and growth for the brilliant work Damien is already doing as an artist and leader in our community and our field. . In this role, his contributions will shine at Portland Opera in a new way, which has a direct impact on our artistic goals for continued excellence as an ensemble. “
Geter is an acclaimed Portland, OR-based composer whose growing body of work includes chamber, vocal and orchestral works. As a composer, Geter infuses classical music with various styles of the black diaspora to create music that advances the cause of social justice. Recently, his compositions have been commissioned for Resonance Ensemble (An African American Requiem), The Washington Chorus (Cantata for a Hopeful Tomorrow), Washington National Opera, Opera Theater Oregon (Invisible), University of Michigan (The Justice Symphony) and All Portland Classic (Neo-Soul). We Cannot Walk Alone for Imani Winds, co-commissioned by Anima Mundi Productions, Chamber Music Northwest and The Oregon Bach Festival, will premiere in 2022. Future commissions include world premieres in 2022, 2024 and 2025.
Geter is also a bass-baritone and acclaimed actor, with performances ranging from the opera stage (appearing with Portland Opera, the Metropolitan Opera, Seattle Opera and other companies across the United States) to the television screen. He is the artistic advisor to the award-winning Resonance Ensemble focused on social justice and is an academic author (Music in Context: An Examination of Western European Music Through a Socio Political Lens published by Kendall Hunt) and educator. Last season, he hosted Portland Opera’s Journeys to Justice production, in tandem with the Portland Opera Onscreen launch. Since July 2020, Geter has acted as Co-Artistic Advisor for Portland Opera, where his diverse artistic background, mentorship and vision continue to impact artistic and business planning.
Originally from Chesterfield County, Virginia, Damien is an alumnus of the Austrian and American Mozart Festival and the Aspen Opera Center. In addition to his artistic pursuits as a composer and performer, Geter has a history with the conductor’s baton. After studying voice and trumpet as part of his undergraduate studies, Damien received a bachelor’s degree in music education from Old Dominion University, and went on to earn a master’s degree in conducting at Indiana State. University.
âI am so honored to be part of a valued group of colleagues who are bringing this art form into the 21st century,â said Damien Geter. âAs interim musical director of Portland Opera, I hope to help shape musical experiences that will have a profound impact for our audiences to internalize and enjoy!â
Maestro Geter will take over as interim musical director of Portland Opera effective October 1, 2021; joining new Artistic Director Priti Gandhi as new members of the executive team, led by Managing Director Sue Dixon. Portland Opera Season 21/22 will debut with Tosca on October 29, 2021 at the Keller Auditorium, conducted by Linda Brovsky and conducted by Tiffany Chang, who is making her Portland Opera debut. Tickets and information are available at portlandopera.org.