Program Books/Peter Sellars

Peter Sellars

Peter Sellars (b. 1957) was born in Pittsburgh, PA, and has gained international renown for his groundbreaking and transformative interpretations of classics, advocacy of 20th-century and contemporary music, and collaborative projects. His work illuminates the power of art as a means of moral expression and social action.

Sellars has staged operas at the Dutch National Opera, English National Opera, Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Opéra National de Paris, and the Salzburg Festival, among others. He has also collaborated on the creation and production of many works with composers John Adams and Kaija Saariaho.

Recent productions include Tyshawn Sorey’s Monochromatic Light (Afterlife) for the Park Avenue Armory (New York), Heinrich Schütz’s Musikalische Exequien with the Los Angeles Master Chorale (to be seen on October 28 at Zellerbach Hall), a revival of Tristan und Isolde at the Opera de Paris, and a staging of Sorey’s Perle Noire: Meditations for Josephine at the Dutch National Opera. Upcoming in 2023–24 are new productions of Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s Médée in Berlin and Vincenzo Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda in Paris.

Sellars has led several major arts festivals, including the 1990 and 1993 Los Angeles Festivals and the 2002 Adelaide Arts Festival. In 2006, he was Artistic Director of New Crowned Hope, a festival in Vienna for which he invited emerging and established artists from diverse cultural backgrounds to create new work in the fields of music, theater, dance, film, the visual arts, and architecture for the celebration of Mozart’s 250th birthday anniversary. He served as Music Director of the 2016 Ojai Music Festival.

Sellars is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of World Arts and Cultures at UCLA and the founding director of the Boethius Institute at UCLA. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Erasmus Prize for contributions to European culture, the Gish Prize, the Polar Music Prize, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.