Composer/keyboardist/producer Elodie Lauten creates operas, music for dance and theatre, orchestral, chamber and instrumental music. Not a household name, she is however widely recognized by historians as a leading figure of post-minimalism and a force on the new music scene, with 20 releases on a number of labels.

Her opera Waking in New York, Portrait of Allen Ginsberg was presented by the New York City Opera (2004 VOX and Friends) in May 2004, after being released on 4Tay, following three well-received productions. OrfReo, a new opera for Baroque ensemble was premiered at Merkin Hall by the Queen's Chamber Band, whose New Music Alive CD (released on Capstone in 2004) includes Lauten's The Architect. The Orfreo CD was released in December 2004 on Studio 21. In September 2004 Lauten was composer-in-residence at Hope College, MI. Lauten's Symphony 2001, was premiered in February 2003 by the SEM Orchestra in New York. In 1999, Lauten's Deus ex Machina Cycle for voices and Baroque ensemble (4Tay) received strong critical acclaim in the US and Europe. Lauten's Variations On The Orange Cycle (Lovely Music, 1998) was included in Chamber Music America's list of 100 best works of the 20th century.

Born in Paris, France, she was classically trained as a pianist since age 7. She received a Master's in composition from New York University where she studied Western composition with Dinu Ghezzo and Indian classical music with Ahkmal Parwez. Daughter of jazz pianist/drummer Errol Parker, she is also a fluent improviser. She became an American citizen in 1984 and has lived in New York since the early seventies

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Thursday, May 19, 2005
The myth of stress

Living in New York, there is a pressure to be stressed. Stress is a lifestyle. If you are not totally stressed and stretched in every direction, you are most probably not living to the fullest of your potential. People are so, so busy. It is a combination of reality and myth. If you are not that busy, you must at least create the impression of being super-busy by not ever answering the phone. And don’t ever tell anyone how many hours you spend watching TV.

The stress of the living composer is to juggle the small business end of it, i.e. contacts and opportunities, as well as the real business of working with music. Additionally, for those who aren’t so lucky as to be continually commissioned, and there are thousands, juggling some sort of earning activity, which can actually preclude the completion of any serious work.

In the midst of stress, the myth of stress as a lifestyle emerges. Out of the stress comes superficiality. How can one really go deep and fast at the same time? “Faster, faster pussycat…kill, kill!” (title of a classic sixties B movie)…Even music seems to be moving faster. There is pressure to play faster and even tune higher so the cycles themselves are faster (driving up to A442, when Mozart’s A was at 415). People play fast to show off, or because they are excited with the speed, like race-car drivers. We are a speed-thrilled society. Speed and superficiality rule. We are tuning further away from the natural cycles, as global warming progresses and already caused severe weather disturbances.

My musical reaction to this is: a slow moving, stay on one tone kind of piece to heal not only the stress, but the hype placed on stress… then, maybe something else that brings us back to earth.