Laura Kaminsky, New York-based composer of contemporary chamber, vocal, and orchestral music, with social-political topics like environment and war

In the News: “As One”

As One promotional film
with musical excerpts and press quotes | 5:10

As One, developed and produced by American Opera Projects at BAM
concept and music by Laura Kaminsky
libretto by Mark Campbell and Kimberly Reed
film by Kimberly Reed
Sasha Cooke (mezzo soprano), Kelly Markgraf (baritone), Fry Street Quartet

As One Promotional Video from Laura Kaminsky on Vimeo.

The finale … is as uplifting as any operatic ending could be.”
Seattle Times

As One tells a transgender story with power, passion” | Full review

‘As One’ approaches admirable universality.” – Los Angeles Times

“As One, the every(wo)man transgender opera” | Full review

Danielle Marcelle Bond as Hannah After and Lee Gregory as Hannah Before in the Long Beach Opera production of “As One.” (Keith Ian Polakoff / Long Beach Opera)

“As One” is the hottest title in opera right now, at least among the titles written in the last 100 years.”

Full review in The Denver Post

… inspiring and groundbreaking, innovative yet relatable …” – Seattle Weekly

“From Seattle Opera, A Trans Person’s Path to Self-Reconciliation” | Full review

Taylor Raven (Hannah after) and Jorell Williams (Hannah before). Photo by Rozarii Lynch.

Taylor Raven (Hannah after) and Jorell Williams (Hannah before). Photo by Rozarii Lynch.

… a piece that haunts and challenges its audience with questions about identity, authenticity, compassion and the human desire for self-love and peace.” – Opera News

Full review

As One forces you to think, simultaneously challenging preconceptions and inspiring empathy … [with] winning humor and a satisfying emotional arc.” – The New York Times

“The Arc of a Transgender Life” | Full review


As One makes a poignant and remarkable premiere … a rich addition to the repertoire … formidable on all fronts … Laura Kaminsky is responsible for both concept and music, and her remarkable score always seems to be in perfect harmony with the libretto. The music fits naturally onto the text, her lyrical vocal writing giving the words room to expand … As One is everything that we hope for in contemporary opera: topical, poignant, daring, and beautifully written.” – New York Classical Review

Full review

a thoughtful and substantial piece as well as that rarest of operatic commodities — a story that lends itself to dramatization in music …”
… effective, direct music … Kaminsky writes well for the voice.
– Washington Post

Full review

Two voices shine in Pittsburgh Opera’s moving transgender journey, As One” – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Full review

An attractively scored, affecting 80-minute work.” – San Jose Mercury News

cutright-orozco-as-onePulsing music from a string quartet becomes a cinematic soundtrack to footage of green water swiftly flowing. The images change to handlebars while on stage a seated man pedals the air, the baritone singing ecstatically “Like every other boy, I have a paper route!” Music shifts, and the lyric becomes “… a blouse underneath feels so right.” The opening scene of the opera As One, produced by UrbanArias, beautifully establishes a work that is both universal and timely in its experience and a metaphor for the fluidity of identity of a male and female in one body.”

As One has already received that rare thing for a new work – a handful of productions around the country. But it still seems spanking new and a worthwhile risk, both in artistry and theme, for Artistic Director Robert Wood and his taut production team … As One charters new territory in theme and content of “what makes an opera.” It is a fascinating and promising chamber work and deserves serious attention.” – Susan Galbraith, DC Theatre Scene

Full review

A brisk marvel of dramatic urgency and musical characterization … [with] a delicately atmospheric film accompaniment by Kimberly Reed. The libretto conjures up [a] blend of excitement, shame, self-fulfillment and fear with crisp efficiency, and the string quartet that provides the opera’s only instrumental accompaniment chugs along in a beguiling quasi-minimalist groove. Best of all is Kaminsky’s vocal writing…straightforward melodic lines convey the sense of emotion.” – San Francisco Chronicle


Dan Kempson and Brenda Patterson as Hannah before and after.

Two Voices, one human experience.” – The Salt Lake Tribune

Full review

… a chance to expand your horizons.” – New York Classical Review

Best of 2014: Honorable Mention | Full review

Musically, Kaminsky’s dramatically charged music has a tonal ambiguity that allows each scene to go where it needs to, and in a clear dramatic trajectory … this seasoned, socially-aware composer admirably tends to subvert her exterior personality to whatever the piece at hand needs.”
– David Patrick Stearns, WQXR Operavore

Full review

As One treats the subject with great seriousness, humanity and sensitivity…Kaminsky’s music is energetic, fluid, consistent, and at times Copland-esque. Above all, it is approachable and this fits with the piece’s intent. The straightforward, relatable music emphasizes the fact that Hannah’s story, though drastically different from those of many audience members, taps into a deep vein of shared human experience: confusion, isolation, and the struggle for authenticity.” – Peninsula Reviews (San Francisco/Oakland)

Operavore: The Second Annual Excellence in Opera (‘Freddie’) Awards: Start Making Performances | Full review

Their singing, acting and remarkable cohesiveness made a challenging topic deeply humane and moving, which is what opera does best when it happens.” –

“The Uses of ‘Trans’ in Art” | Full review

Parterre Box: “outskirts” by John Yohalem| Full review

Kelly Markgraf and Sasha Cooke

Sasha Cooke and Kelly Markgraf in rehearsal at BAM for the premiere production of As One. “A Transgender Woman’s Operatic Path to Self-Acceptance” | Full review

[Q] on stage: “Magnificent As One” | Full review

Artistically distinguished, socially important … says so much with relatively modest means.” – WQXR Operavore

satisfies in an entertaining and delicately moving way.”
– New York Observer

From creation of transgender opera, ‘As One,’ to UrbanArias’ quick embrace
– DC

‘As One’ an intimate look into quest to find one’s true self
– Full story at

‘As One’ brings the story of a transgender person to opera
– Full story in the Pittsburgh City Paper

‘As One’ opera tells a universal story about a transgender woman
– Full article in The Jewish Chronicle

‘As One’: Groundbreaking opera of transgender youth’s emergence
– Full article in the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Newscenter

‘As One’ gets transcendent …
– Full article in People’s World

… the most rapidly accepted chamber piece at opera companies across the country.
– Full article in

A thoughtful piece of musical theater [with] depth, substance, and poignancy.
– Full article in the EasyReaderNews