Christopher Stark is enjoying noteworthy success.
A composer and assistant professor of music at Washington University, Stark has been chosen for a 2017 fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. And as if that prestigious honor wasn’t enough, the Montana native has contributed the score to the upcoming film “Novitiate” (starring Margaret Qualley of HBO’s “The Leftovers”).
“Listening to music has always been my favorite activity, since I can remember,” says Stark, who focuses on contemporary classical music but also appreciates rock and jazz. “I attend every concert in St. Louis that I can possibly get to.”
Stark is among 173 Guggenheim Fellows selected from nearly 3,000 applicants — artists, scholars and scientists — in the United States and Canada. The fellowship will support his work on a chamber opera inspired by Dorothea Lange’s Depression-era photographs. Lange was known for her penetrating images of rural poverty.
“Contemporary opera has taken a lot of interesting twists and turns, as far as storytelling,” Stark says. “The narrative can be quite complex or more abstract.” In his opera, he plans to use Lange’s photographs as jumping-off points.