Mark Lanz Weiser, composer

Described as “brilliantly expressive” by the Washington Post, composer Mark Lanz Weiser explores his passion for the combination of music and drama through his operas, art songs and concert music. 


The Place Where You Startedis Mark’s fifth musical dramatic work. Others include Where Angeles Fear to Tread, an opera based on the novel by E. M. Forster. Premiered by Opera San Jose, Angelswas described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “potent and well-made” and “ravishing” by the San Jose Mercury News. Both publications included the opera on their top 10 lists of 2015 musical events. Purgatory, Mark’s opera based on the W. B. Yeats play of the same name, was described by the Baltimore Evening Post as “evocative, complex, and beautiful.”

Mark received the ASCAP Foundation Rudolf Nissim Prize for his second symphony (Sinfonia Magalhães), a musical evocation of Magellan’s circumnavigation of the globe. Other awards include the Ithaca College International Heckscher Composition Prize (High Velocity, for piano), the NATS National Art Song competition (An Anthem for a Doomed Youth, for baritone and piano) and residencies at the Yaddo colony in New York, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. His music has been published by Boosey & Hawkes and Editions Bim International Music Publishing.


Mark Lanz Weiser received his bachelor’s degree in piano performance and master’s degree in composition from the Peabody Conservatory of the Johns Hopkins University. He is currently Assistant Professor in Composition and Director of Music Theory at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music.

Amy S. Punt, librettist

Amy Punt is a Los Angeles based screenwriter, essayist and freelance journalist. Her writings have been featured in Salon and The Weeklings, and she has appeared as a commentator on MSNBC. She’s developed scripts with Warner Brothers Animation and guided screenwriters through a professional development program at The Writers Boot Camp, L.A.’s premier screenwriting training facility.

Amy began life as an actor in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Theatre from Hope College in Holland Michigan and immediately started directing and producing for Chicago stages such as The Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Bailiwick Repertory, and Strawdog Ensemble. 

Amy then left Chicago theatre to build an acting troupe at Willow Creek Community Church, which boasted a congregation of 25,000 members. She went on to study film at Regent University and received a Master of Directing for Cinema/TV and Communication. While The Place Where You Started is her first foray into opera, it is her return to the stage, a place where she feels very much at home.