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

Visit Elodie Lauten's Web Site
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Context Composition Serial

John Adams' and Peter Sellars' new opera Dr. Atomic will open October 1st, 2005 at the San Francisco Opera. Philip Glass’ Symphony N. 6 “Plutonian Ode”, based on Allen Ginsberg’s poem calling for nuclear disarmament, will take place at BAM on November 2, 4, and 5. Something is in the air: a couple of months ago, Michael Andre gave me a libretto entitled ‘How I Blew Up The World’, a play he wrote some 20 years ago

2005 has been a year of natural disasters, starting with a tsunami in Asia and now a series of hurricanes close to home. This added to the proliferation of terrorism and a senseless war: it seems that after all, Nostradamus was correct, even if his predictions were over the top.

In times of emergency when mere survival becomes the only concern, composing can be viewed as a useless and self-indulgent pursuit, unless the issue of context is addressed. On the other hand, music is comforting and healing and people may need it even more in these circumstances. Although the kind of music that seems to appeal in times of disaster, judging by the post-disaster fundraisers, is mostly simple, commercial pop; the Red Cross (or Red Tape headquarters, I should say) uses a bum version of Bridge over Troubled Waters – it sounds like it is sung by a tone-deaf, alcoholic - for a commercial.

This opens a discussion of how a musical piece addresses context – meaning, real-world situations, versus fictional or abstract elements. This prompts me to re-examine the various elements that come into play when writing a new composition in the 21st century.

A diagram will appear in next week’s blog…