If contemporary opera has a rising wunderkind, then Matthew Aucoin has to be it, writes Carlo Rotella in the May 31 edition of  the New York Times Magazine. Aucoin, 25, the Solti Conducting Apprentice of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and already an accomplished composer, conductor, pianist, poet and critic, shows promise well beyond opera or any other single form. The range of his talents, insists conductor Johannes Debus, exemplifies the concept of “Gesamtkunstwerk, Wagner’s term for everything at once.”

“Crossing,” Aucoin’s new opera based on Walt Whitman’s Civil War diaries, opens May 29 at the American Repertory Theater in Boston. Dual, Aucoin’s chamber-music work commissioned by Symphony Center Presents, had its world premiere May 17 at Orchestra Hall. But Aucoin has been dazzling the public and professional colleagues for years.

Recalling Aucoin’s audition as a pianist-coach for the Metropolitan Opera, pianist and Met panelist Ken Noda says, “He looked about 15, and when he started playing, this tornado came in the room. He was so young and intense, and he basically just ate the piano.”

A Met staffer for 24 years, Noda specializes in nurturing talent and had never seen anything like that audition, and doesn’t expect to see anything like it again. “That kind of talent comes along maybe every half a century,” he says. “He had everything — characterization, languages, he played wonderfully and he had a heightened dramatic sense of how the orchestra is part of the psychological makeup of each character. He had it in his face, his body language and intonation, and the passion was just pouring out of every cell in his body.”

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Matthew Aucoin (center) takes a bow with Alexander Hanna, CSO principal bass, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the CSO's creative consultant, after the world premiere of Aucoin's Dual.  | Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015

Matthew Aucoin (center) takes a bow with Alexander Hanna, CSO principal bass, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma, the CSO’s creative consultant, after the world premiere of Aucoin’s Dual, commissioned by Symphony Center Presents. | Todd Rosenberg Photography 2015