Meet the Creative Team
Matthew J. Walton - Composer
Matt Walton received a B.Mus. in Music Composition with Honors from Syracuse University. While at Syracuse he was also awarded the Brian Israel prize in music composition and was recognized as a University Scholar, the highest honor bestowed on an undergraduate. His first opera, Prodigal Lust, was the first student-written opera performed at Syracuse and was premiered by the Syracuse University opera workshop. His most recent opera, Sun Dance, is based on the trial and incarceration of Native American political prisoner Leonard Peltier and was premiered by the Syracuse Society for New Music in July of 2005. He has studied composition with Joseph Downing, Daniel Godfrey and Samuel Adler and his music has been performed in London, Boston, San Francisco, and New York City.
In 2007-08, he was an artist-in-residence at Gitameit music school in Rangoon, Burma. While there, he taught classes in voice performance and music composition, conducted the choral ensemble, Gitameit Voices, and composed a piece for the choir entitled “Burmese Blessings.” Gitameit Voices has performed this piece in Burma and Japan, and at several concerts in the US, including the May 2009 “Songs of Survival” Concert in San Francisco with Joan Baez.
Having shifted away from a primary career in music, Matt got his PhD in Political Science at the University of Washington and is currently the Aung San Suu Kyi Senior Research Fellow in Modern Burmese Studies at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford. His research focuses on religion and politics in Southeast Asia, with a special emphasis on ethnic politics and Buddhism in Myanmar. Matt’s current book manuscript (forthcoming from Cambridge University Press) explores Burmese Buddhist political thought and its influence on Myanmar’s current democratic transition. His analysis of Buddhist nationalism in Myanmar (co-authored with Susan Hayward), Contesting Buddhist Narratives: Democratization, Nationalism, and Communal Violence in Myanmar, was published in 2014 in the East-West Center Policy Studies series. Matt is also one of the co-founders of the Myanmar Media and Society project.
Leonard Walton - Librettist
Leonard Walton, librettist, is by education an engineer but has had a lifelong interest in creative writing. This is his first opera libretto and first significant involvement with Native American issues. But he has had a long history of involvement with social issues, primarily in the field of homelessness and affordable housing while living in Lancaster, PA and New York City. He is currently retired in Lancaster, working as a volunteer with a number of social service organizations.
Victoria Harder King! - Director/Adviser
Victoria holds an MFA from the Actors Studio Drama School where she studied directing with Arthur Storch and voice with Dr. Christopher Arneson. Undergraduate studies include studies in Theatre & Music at Loughborough University in England. Her New York City directing credits include Sex Myths (Wollman Theatre), Asst. Musical Director for Jesus Christ Superstar (Bleecker Street Theatre), and Dinner With Friends, Waiting For Godot, The Seagull, Hello Out There, and Keely and Du (Actors Studio). She has over 50 regional directing and acting credits. She composed two children's musicals, and co-authored a play with her high school students, which won the Indiana-Purdue Play Writing Competition, and was a finalist in the Kennedy Center Play Writing Competition. Victoria is also an accomplished set and light designer. She taught acting at SUNY Potsdam, voice at the Actors Studio Drama School, and theatre at Oswego High School. Victoria is a Trustee for the NY State Theatre Education Association. She is currently working with Full Cast Audio and teaching voice, acting, and Alexander Technique in Syracuse.