Though born in Florida, Jake Heggie was raised in Ohio and California, and has made his home in San Francisco since 1993. A composer and pianist, Heggie now has three popular operas to his credit: Dead Man Walking (libretto by Terrence McNally, based on the book by Sister Helen Prejean) and The End of the Affair (libretto by Heather McDonald, based on the book by Graham Greene). Besides playing major houses, both operas have received live broadcasts on National Public Radio. His latest opera success, Moby-Dick (libretto by Gene Scheer, based on the novel by Herman Melville), was commissioned by The Dallas Opera with San Francisco Opera, San Diego Opera, Calgary Opera and the State Opera of South Australia, and had its world premiere April 30, 2010, at the Margot & Bill Winspear Opera House in Dallas.
The recipient of a 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship and a 2004 Meet-the-Composer Grant, he has composed nearly 200 songs as well as concerti, orchestral works and chamber music. Heggie has been resident composer for the San Francisco Opera, EOS Orchestra, Vail Valley Music Festival, and the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival; and his operas have been performed at Seattle Opera, San Francisco Opera, New York City Opera, and Houston Grand Opera, among many others.
Besides the MOR-commissioned For a Look or a Touch, his recordings include Dead Man Walking (Erato), Three Decembers (Albany), The Faces of Love (RCA), My Native Land (Teldec), Holy the Firm: Essay for Cello and Orchestra (Oakland East Bay Symphony), and The Deepest Desire (Eloquentia). In 1999, 50 of Heggie's songs were published by Associated Music Publishers in three books titled "The Faces of Love: The Songs of Jake Heggie" (distributed by Hal Leonard, Inc.). The bulk of his compositions are published by Heggie's own company, Bent Pen Music, Inc.