Nicole Paiement (Opera Parallèle Artistic Director, Conductor, Founder) has gained an international reputation as a conductor of contemporary music and opera. Her numerous recordings include many world premiere works and she has toured extensively in the US and Asia. This past April, Paiement was awarded the American Composer’s Forum “Champion of New Music Award” for her outstanding contributions to contemporary music. Subsequently, Paiement has been appointed Principal Guest Conductor at The Dallas Opera where she earned rave reviews for her 2012 Dallas Opera debut conducting Peter Maxwell Davies’ 1979 thriller, The Lighthouse.
Paiement has since returned to Dallas to conduct performances of Tod Machover’s Death and the Powers (libretto by Robert Pinsky), as well as the critically acclaimed and highly anticipated world premiere of Joby Talbot’s opera Everest. In Fall 2015, Paiement assumed the post of Associate Conductor for the world premiere of Jake Heggie’s Great Scott. She will return in 2017 to conduct Benjamin Britten’s The Turn of the Screw and Douglas Cuomo’s Arjuna’s Dilemma.
As Artistic Director of Opera Parallèle, Paiement has conducted many new productions, including: world premieres of Lou Harrison’s final version of Young Caesar, Dante De Silva’s commissioned opera Gesualdo, Prince of Madness (presented as a graphic opera), Luciano Chessa’s commissioned opera A Heavenly Act, and the commissioned chamber version of John Harbison’s The Great Gatsby; the West Coast premieres of John Rea’s re-orchestration of Alban Berg’s Wozzeck and Philip Glass’ Orphée; Virgil Thomson’s Four Saints in Three Acts; Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar; Francis Poulenc’s Les mamelles de Tirésias; Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel; the American Premieres of Adam Gorb’s Anya 17 and Tarik O’Regan’s Heart of Darkness; and the San Francisco Bay Area return of Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking. Under her baton, the company will perform two works this season – the premiere of the re-orchestration of Terence Blanchard’s Champion in collaboration with SFJAZZ Center and a new production of Peter Maxwell Davies’ The Lighthouse.
Additionally, Paiement has been the Artistic Director of the BluePrint Project, a new music series sponsored by the San Francisco Conservatory of Music (SFCM). With this music series, she has commissioned, premiered, and recorded works from many living American composers. At SFCM, she holds the Jean and Josette Deleage Distinguished Chair in New Music. Paiement previously served as the Director of Ensembles at the University of California – Santa Cruz (UCSC), where she conducted the university’s orchestra and opera productions. In 2014, she was awarded the UCSC Eminent Professor Award. In 2015, she received the Edward A. Dickson Emeriti Professorship in recognition of outstanding contributions and achievement in artistic scholarship and teaching. Paiement is a very active guest conductor. This past year she conducted at The Glimmerglass Festival, The Atlanta Opera, at the Monterey Jazz Festival for the world premiere of Wayne Shorter’s new commissioned work, and at Washington National Opera for the world premiere of Mohammed Fairouz’s The Dictator’s Wife. Upcoming engagements include a return to the Glimmerglass Festival; and Lyric Opera of Kansas City to conduct the reprise of Joby Talbot’s Everest.