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Special Reports

MA Top 30 Professional: Gil Rose

December 6, 2022 | By John Fleming

Artistic Director, Boston Modern Orchestra Project
Artistic Director/Conductor, Odyssey Opera

Gil Rose founded the Boston Modern Orchestra Project 26 years ago with a business model focused on performing contemporary works and making top-level recordings of them. Rose has conducted more than 100 recordings with BMOP and Odyssey Opera, which he also founded, mostly for his independent record label, BMOP/sound. Using freelance players from Boston’s rich music community, he manages to control costs and remain flexible in a way that served his organization well during the challenges of Covid.

“BMOP was conceived so that if times were good we’d do big, exciting things, and if times got tight, then we’d still do good artistic things but at a smaller level,” Rose said. [BMOP was Musical America’s 2016 Ensemble of the Year] “So, in a sense, BMOP was made for the pandemic.” Although the orchestra did not give a live concert for almost two years, and did only one virtually, it got back to recording in the spring of 2021 and now has 17 albums awaiting release by, among others, Vijay Ayer, Avner Dorman, Ellen Zwillich, Carlos Surinach, Nancy Galbraith, and Joan Tower.

In September, BMOP/sound released Anthony Davis’s X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X, which was presented in a semi-staged concert version with cast members from a Detroit Opera production, including Davóne Tines as Malcolm. It was the first performance and recording in a five-year initiative by BMOP and Odyssey called “As Told By: History, Race, and Justice on the Opera Stage.” Other works in the series are Harriet Tubman: When I Crossed That Line to Freedom by Nkeiru Okoye; Troubled Island by William Grant Still; Frederick Douglass by Ulysses Kay; and the premiere of The Bridge by Jonathan Bailey Holland.

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