Why Opera Composer Jake Heggie Writes Music by Hand

“Music is very tactile to me.”

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Episode Notes

This week, host June Thomas talks to composer Jake Heggie, who the Wall Street Journal described as “arguably the world’s most popular 21st-century opera and art song composer.” In the interview, Jake talks about how he fell in love with opera and why he composes all his work on manuscript paper by hand. He also discusses his recent work, Songs for Murdered Sisters, which he created with the help of writer Margaret Atwood and singer Joshua Hopkins.

After the interview, June and co-host Rumaan Alam talk about Joshua’s refined artistic instincts. Then they help a listener who wants to start publishing fiction again after a long break.

Send your questions about creativity and any other feedback to or give us a call at (304) 933-9675.

Podcast production by Cameron Drews.


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Slate interviews Americans about their jobs.

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  • June Thomas is senior managing producer of Slate podcasts.