News and Events

'Ucross Spotlight' Event to Feature Acclaimed Composer Ricky Ian Gordon, Grammy Award-Winning Baritone Nathan Gunn, & Singer-Songwriter Beth McIntosh

Spotlight series brings together distinguished Ucross alumni and supporters to celebrate the prestigious artist residency

The event will also honor The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming to commemorate its 20-year partnership in helping to preserve 12,000 acres of the Ucross Ranch

Jackson, WY—Sept. 11, 2019—Ucross, the prestigious artist residency program and creative laboratory for the arts in northeast Wyoming, is proud to announce the September installment of its "Ucross Spotlight” event series. The event will feature OBIE Award-winning composer and Ucross alum Ricky Ian Gordon, Grammy Award-winning baritone Nathan Gunn, and jazz chart-topping singer-songwriter Beth McIntosh.

“Spotlight” is an ongoing series that celebrates distinguished Ucross alumni and supporters with curated events across the United States. The September Spotlight event will feature Gordon, Gunn and McIntosh in performance for an invite-only audience at a private residence. The September “Ucross Spotlight” event will take place on September 14 in Jackson, Wyoming.

“These three artists represent the expressive power of American music today,” said Ucross President Sharon Dynak. “Bringing them together for the September Spotlight event is one way we can showcase Ucross’s impact and reach, and it’s a way we can highlight their impressive work and careers. We are incredibly proud to have them together on this intimate Spotlight stage at the foot of the Grand Tetons.”

Acclaimed composer Ricky Ian Gordon is a five-time Ucross resident. Gordon is a prolific composer whose operatic works include The House Without A Christmas Tree, The Grapes of Wrath, which the Chicago Tribune calls “a great American opera,” Morning Star about Jewish immigrants in New York’s Lower East Side in the beginning of the 20th century; 27 about Gertrude Stein’s salons at 27 rue de Fleurus; A Coffin In Egypt, a haunting tale of memory and murder, racism, and recrimination; Rappahannock County inspired by diaries, letters, and personal accounts from the 1860s; and Sycamore Trees.

Gordon’s latest opera, Ellen West, plunges into the emotional, psychological, and physical challenges of a woman struggling with perceptions of her body, her relationship with food, and the world closing in around her. Inspired by one of the earliest cases of existential analysis, Gordon, along with poet Frank Bidart, examines the lives of psychiatrist Ludwig Binswanger and his patient, Ellen West. Ellen West premieres at the Prototype Festival, held at The Kaye Playhouse at Hunter College in New York City, on January 14.

Gordon has been a visiting professor at colleges and universities throughout the country, including Yale, NYU, Northwestern, Juilliard, Manhattan School of Music, and Bennington. In addition to an OBIE Award, Gordon is the recipient of the 2003 Alumni Merit Award for exceptional achievement and leadership from Carnegie-Mellon University, a Shen Family Foundation Award, the Stephen Sondheim Award, and The Gilman and Gonzalez-Falla Theater Foundation Award.

“Ucross is beyond a place I go to create. I go there to breathe, to be, to rejoice, to pray, to listen, to walk endlessly into the horizon, to marvel, and to be overwhelmed with gratitude,” said Gordon. “I would be a lesser artist without it.”

Nathan Gunn is widely praised for his diverse performing career bridging the genres of opera, musical theatre, and recital. As a performer, Gunn is respected as an artist, musician, and singing actor. He has performed many of opera and musical theater’s greatest roles on the world’s most prestigious stages. Gunn has also been seen and heard on television, radio, video, and live simulcast performances, including the first ever Met in HD broadcast (The Magic Flute), in which he sang Papageno, one of his signature roles.

In addition to Papageno, Gunn has reinterpreted classic roles such as Billy Budd, Figaro, and Don Giovanni, garnering many awards, including the Grammy Award for Best Opera Recording (Billy Budd) and the Metropolitan Opera’s first ever Beverly Sills Award. Additionally, he has been widely acclaimed for his ability to cross over into musical theater, including performances with the New York Philharmonic in Carousel and Camelot, as well as a televised celebration of Stephen Sondheim’s 80th birthday. Gunn has frequently collaborated with many stars of musical theater, including Mandy Patinkin, Kelli O’Hara, Audra McDonald, and Kristin Chenoweth.

Beth McIntosh, a two-time Ucross resident, is a Wyoming native who has performed across the nation, recorded multiple albums, and influenced hundreds of students. A songwriter since age eleven, McIntosh has performed original work in the US and abroad in concert venues, churches, festivals, colleges, trains, boats, subway stations, in homes both fine and humble, and for film. McIntosh, who collaborates with writers such as Doug Peacock, Terry Tempest Williams, Charlie Craighead, and Lyn Dalebout, has created five full-length CDs. Her awards include the Wyoming Performing Arts Fellowship and the John Abercrombie Merit Based Award at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

The Spotlight event will also honor long-time Jackson, Wyoming supporters Mike Hammer and Francesca Hammer for their decades-long support of Ucross.

The event will additionally honor The Nature Conservancy in Wyoming. In 1999 Ucross established a conservation easement on 12,000 acres of their ranch to ensure wildlife habitat, open spaces, and working landscapes of the ranch remain protected.

Other Ucross Spotlight events are currently being planned for the fall in New York City and 2020 in Los Angeles.


High10 Media
Ann Kaiser |

Carly Fraysier |