In 2014 Pittsburgh Festival Opera launched its Music that Matters series, with the goal of commissioning new operas that address important societal issues, and how those issues affect the people of western Pennsylvania.

The first work created in this series was 2015's  A New Kind of Fallout (with music by Gilda Lyons to a libretto by Tammy Ryan), which was inspired by the scientific work of Rachel Carson and the publication of Silent Spring in 1962. The story focused on a Pittsburgh family caught up in the fight against the spraying of the pesticide DDT, and raised issues of social responsibility of corporations, of citizens, and our stewardship of the environment.

The current installment in the Music that Matters series is A Gathering of Sons, with music by Dwayne Fulton to a libretto by Tameka Cage Conley. A Gathering of Sons takes us on a journey through the lives of a young Black man, a White police officer, parents of a newborn child, and a collection of spirits who watch over the world. The work will premiere in June 2017 with performances in a number of Pittsburgh venues, followed by performances in the Falk Auditorium at Winchester Thurston School.

An extensive series of developmental workshops are occurring through the winter and spring of 2017, in which audience members can get a sneak peak at selected scenes from the work, and engage in conversation with the creative team. These workshops provide valuable feedback in refining the final work.

The next project in the series is currently called Fight for the Right. a global composition competition for female composer and librettist teams to compete for the opportunity to have their original music dramas based on themes of women's education produced as a mainstage production during Pittsburgh Festival Opera's summer festival. See more details and entry requirements.