About the Composer & Librettist

Learn more about composer Dave Ragland and librettist Mary McCallum.

DAVE RAGLAND is a four-time EMMY-nominated composer, vocalist, and educator. He has been hailed as "uber-talented" and "Nashville's go-to composer" by the Nashville Scene. Dave received the 2021 American Prize in Composition, two Telly Awards, and two EMMY nominations for Nashville Opera's first ever commission, ONE VOTE WON -an opera commemorating the centennial of Women's Suffrage. Dave also received an EMMY nomination for composition and music direction for the Frist Art Museum's Nick Cave FEAT. Nashville. Dave was awarded Outstanding Music Director by the First Night Honors for Nashville Repertory Theater's production of Ragtime.

Dave served as Artist-in-Residence for OZ Arts Nashville during its 2020- 2021 Season. His residency culminated with the debut of his opera STEAL AWAY- a collaboration with Inversion Vocal Ensemble, Diaspora Orchestra, and shackled feet DANCE. Dave arranged "Lift Every Voice and Sing" for GRAMMY­ nominated opera singer Lawrence Brownlee for "Concert for Inauguration Day" presented by Washington National Opera. Additional composition credits include Los Angeles Opera, Portland Opera, San Francisco Conservatory of Music, Nashville Symphony, Nashville Ballet, Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Intersection Contemporary Ensemble, chatterbird, and GRAMMY-nominated ALIAS Chamber Ensemble.

For the past four seasons, Dave has served as Chorusmaster for Nashville Symphony's "Let Freedom Sing". He was the 2020 GRADY-RAYAM Negro Spirituals Foundation Composer-in-Residence, and a member of the inaugural cohort of composers for the National Teachers of Singing (NATS) Mentoring Program.

As Artistic Director, Dave oversees Inversion Vocal Ensemble - a regionally touring vocal collective that has performed with Brandi Carlile, Ruby Amanfu, Lynda Randle, Marcus Hummon, and Levi Hummon. Inversion has also shared the stage with Rivers Rutherford, The Fairfield Four, and Tanya Tucker. Previous engagements with Inversion include The National Civil Rights Museum, The National Museum of African-American Music, The Ryman Auditorium, Tennessee Arts Academy, Cheekwood, Nashville Symphony's Free Day of Music and Let Freedom Sing. Dave was a Composer Mentor for 91Classical's inaugural Student Composer Fellowship.

Dave has shared the stage with William Warfield, Louise Mandrell, and Jennifer Hudson for the Kennedy Center Honors. Dave currently serves on the board of American Choral Directors Association, Tennessee Chapter. Dave is a proud member of Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia. Learn more at www.daveragland.com


Mary McCallum received her B.S. and M.B.A. from Vanderbilt University. She is the founder of SistaStyle Productions in Nashville, TN. Writing highlights: Her play “SingleVille” was a winner of the D.C. Black Theatre Festival One Act Battle and was a mainstage selection for the prestigious National Black Theatre Festival. Her play “Six Triple Eight” took top prize at the Atlanta Black Theatre Festival and Tampa Bay Theatre Festival. The movie version of “SingleVille” (writer, co-director, actress) won several awards in 2018 including Best Feature at the Twin Cities Black Film festival and the International Black Film Festival. “Chasing Jeremy” was a screenplay winner at the British Urban Film Festival and a finalist at the Urban World Film Festival. In 2019, she was a winner of the “Women Who Rock Nashville” award for the arts. In 2020, she was selected as the librettist for Nashville Opera’s first mainstage commission “One Vote Won”, for which she received a Telly Award and is currently nominated for a Regional Emmy Award. In 2021, the screenplay version of "Six Triple Eight" won Best Screenplay at the JNX Film Festival and British Urban Film Festival.

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