In 1981 Summer first helmed an opera company, producing his one act opera, The Tenor’s Suite, in Philadelphia. His makeshift company earned grants from the National Endowment of the Arts, Meet The Composer, and several private and commercial contributors (such as SUN Oil Company and Atlantic Richfield, to name the two largest contributors after the NEA.) The success he experienced on the organizational level (as well as the accolades received in the Philadelphia press) motivated Summer to create the Contemporary Opera Company of America (COCOA), a 501c3 entity with a solid board of directors and an annual budget of $250,000. In 1983 Summer produced concerts and events as well as his own two act grand opera, Hippolytus (performed in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia) to excellent reviews. Summer acted as Executive Director for COCOA and during his tenure garnered a grant from the Pennsylvania Humanities Council for a study and presentation about contemporary opera, (as well as the more typical performance grants from public and private sources.)
Summer served as the Executive Director for the Commonwealth Opera Company of Massachusetts, for one year, producing the operas “Cosi fan tutte” and “Lucia di Lammermoor,” while also producing other operas with Commonwealth personnel for other organizations. On August 1, 2020, he was elected chairman of the board of the INDICTUS PROJECT. For information on the INDICTUS PROJECT, see https://www.indictus.org/
Summer’s principal work in the music production field has been as the Executive director for The Shakespeare Concerts, a position he’s held since creating the 501c3 entity in 2003. The Shakespeare Concerts has produced numerous concerts from Korea to the Virgin Islands, with an annual presentation at New England Conservatory’s Jordan Hall; has recorded for commercial release in the Czech Republic, Mechanics Hall (the preeminent recording facility in New England, and arguably the United States), and the WGBH Boston studio. The Shakespeare Concerts has received numerous accolades, grants, one Grammy nomination, and has international renown. Reviews of The Shakespeare Concerts’ recordings and concerts have appeared throughout the world in languages from Catalan to Korean.
Summer was trained at Oberlin in the field of musical acoustics (and was Oberlin’s first double major in composition/acoustics.) He coauthored the book “Music: the New Age Elixir,” published by Prometheus Books, a critique of far-fetched ideas about music. Summer’s work for the book was in regard acoustics and music theory. Summer works as sound engineer and editor for recordings outside his own music and The Shakespeare Concerts.