Lei Liang

Lei Liang is a Chinese-born American composer whose works have been described as “far, far out of the ordinary, brilliantly original and inarguably gorgeous” by The Washington Post. Liang started composing at the age of six, ansd came to the US after joining the protests in Tiananmen Square during the Cultural Revolution. In works like Cuatro Corridos, a chamber opera about human trafficking, he explores contemporary topics pertinent to him as both a Chinese immigrant and an American citizen.


Ligia Bouton is a visual artist who combines sculpture with performance, digital video, and photography to recreate appropriated narratives.

Artist Bio

Lei Liang is a Chinese-born American composer.

Artist Bio

Matt Donovan is a writer of prose and poetry, living in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Artist Bio

Inheritance is a chamber opera designed for a lead soprano plus three female voices and a chamber ensemble. This opera’s production will be housed within a multimedia environment that examines gun culture in America through the lens of Sarah Winchester’s life. According to popular belief, Winchester was an eccentric widow self-imprisoned in her labyrinth-like home and seeking refuge from the spirits of those killed by Winchester rifles. The legend surrounding her life, impossible to extract from her actual history, is indicative of America’s inability to separate fact and fiction within gun-debate discourse. Although the libretto for Inheritance is anchored in Winchester’s biography, this work explores her life and home as a metaphor for America’s violent legacy and deeply complex relationship with guns.

Inheritance premiered at ArtPower at UCSD in San Diego in October, 2018.

Award Year


Ligia Bouton

Ligia Bouton was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and spent her childhood in London, England. She received her education at Vassar College and at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University. Her creative work combines sculpture with performance, digital video and photography to recreate appropriated narratives. Each project wrestles with the intersection of functionality and narrative, drawing on sources from art history, literature and science. Recent projects have been shown at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Guildhall Art Gallery in London, SITE Santa Fe, the New Mexico Museum of Art and the Philadelphia Art Alliance. Reviews of her work have appeared in Art in America, Art Papers, The Art Newspaper, The Philadelphia Enquirer and The New York Times. Ligia Bouton is currently Associate Professor of Art and Art History at the University of New Mexico.

Matt Donovan

Matt Donovan is a writer of prose and poetry, living in Amherst, Massachusetts. As a writer, Donovan finds inspiration in simple objects that cross history, often which he uses to give meaning to contemporary life. In Vellum, a collection of poems inspired by the paper Ireland’s Book of Kells is written on, Donovan meditates on beauty, art, and the violence sometimes inherent in both. A collection of essays, A Cloud of Unusual Size and Shape, features a treatise based on Mount Vesuvius’s famed eruption as a point of inquiry into power and the loss of it. Donovan serves as the Director of the Poetry Center at Smith College.