OCB Founder Recalls MSU Music Origins

Alumnus draws on experience to broaden reach of Opera Company of Brooklyn.

Jay Meetz at left is the founder and artistic director of the Opera Company of Brooklyn. Photo Courtesy OCB, credit Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
Opera Company of Brooklyn members rehearse. Photo courtesy OCB.

Jay Meetze may have graduated from the MSU College of Music and moved to New York but his latest entrepreneurial venture shows he never forgot the vision of his alma mater to ensure affordable, accessible opportunities to all.

As the founder and the artistic and musical director of the Opera Company of Brooklyn, Meetze strives to make opera accessible to a wider audience. Since its beginnings in 2000, the opera company stages unusual settings at affordable prices, while giving young artists opportunities to perform and develop their talents. Many of his opera endeavors have been featured on national media, while Grammy-nominated recordings have been hailed "Critic's Choice" and "Best of the Year" by Metropolitan Opera's Opera News magazine.

"I draw upon all past experiences and relationships as I constantly brainstorm fresh ideas for promoting young artists and the opera through my work with OCB," said Meetze in a recent interview with the College's Running Start program. "My education at MSU allowed me to understand the singing voice and gave me knowledge for teaching music."

Meetze earned his bachelor's in music from MSU in 1991 and went to teach general music to gifted children in Chicago. Moving to Brooklyn, he taught music appreciation to 9th graders, developed composition classes, and conducted at the Manhattan School of Music. He plans to continue conducting and developing music scores, and to present two evenings of opera a month through his company.

Meetze says the high level of educational opportunities and the nurturing environment he experienced at MSU were true gifts in his life, as are the friendships that continue to this day.

"My advice to any student or entrepreneur is that with any endeavor, if you say you will do something, do it well," he says. "The artist's world is small, and you never know where your reputation may lead you."

Opera Company of Brooklyn on YouTube.

Source: Running Start March 2015 Spotlight.

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