Composer Matthew Aucoin on “The Impossible Art”

On Sunday, March 26, at 4 p.m., join MacArthur genius composer Matthew Aucoin, “the most promising operatic talent in a generation” (The New York Times Magazine), for a discussion of his new book, “The Impossible Art: Adventures in Opera.” PLUS: A performance from a special guest!


Aucoin’s book is a user’s guide to opera that examines 400 years of the art and its librettists. He describes the creation of his own groundbreaking new work, “Eurydice,” and shares his reflections on the past, present, and future of opera. The event will help celebrate the launch of plans for the new Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Exhibit and Performance Center, funded by a $1.5 million gift from the Wachenheim family.

In the Boston Globe, John Domini called Aucoin’s book “a magnificent blend of criticism and rapture.” Thomas Forrest Kelly, in Harvard Magazine, writes: “Like Stravinsky and Rosen before him, Aucoin displays a prose style, a thoughtfulness, a brazenness of opinion arising from expertise, that puts him in a league with those predecessors.”


Official bio: Matthew Aucoin (b. 1990) is an American composer, conductor, writer, and pianist, and a MacArthur Fellow. He has worked as a composer and conductor with the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, American Repertory Theater, Los Angeles Philharmonic, and Music Academy of the West. He was the Los Angeles Opera’s Artist in Residence from 2016 to 2020, and is a cofounder of the American Modern Opera Company.


The Jay Heritage Center (JHC) is an educational nonprofit and the steward of the Jay Estate in Rye, New York, a 23-acre National Historic Landmark site and public park. JHC hosts programs in American history, social justice, environmental stewardship, architecture, and preservation. Learn more at or email for more information.