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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Friday, September 29, 2006
Art Therapy

Once in a while I get invited to one of those classic old Soho/Chelsea artist parties, and last night was the 101st birthday of artist May Wilson (who actually passed on some 20 years ago), hosted by her son, Bob Wilson, who was kind enough to introduce me to his collection of Ray Johnson postcards and miscellaneous works of art – including the famous portrait of Elvis that travels from gallery to museum. Unfortunately that day I woke up with one of those paralyzing headaches – the ones I usually deal with by lying on my couch until it’s over. It didn’t seem like I would be in any shape to attend… but I thought this time I would try a different therapy for the headache, as my friends Bobby Buecker and Maude Boltz invited me to a gallery-hopping session in the afternoon. So I went out, chasing the pain with fresh air, good company and visual stimuli.

The outing started at Bobby’s loft on West Broadway, a bastion of the old Soho, still raw as they come, with walls covered with his own art (darling boy of the early sixties art scene), a few Ray Johnson wrapping packages stamped by the United States Post Office and framed under glass, the space filled with Buecker’s mysteriously guarded, eccentric self-made harpsichords, all wrapped and covered in blankets, sculptures in their own right, as well as rarely played musical instruments. Maude joined us, bringing a bevy of birthday balloons for the party, which I carried all afternoon throughout our gallery visit.

Remarkably, the sampling of art I saw spanned all styles, as in post-classic music.In Soho we visited Leah Durner’s colorful abstracts, in Chelsea we saw Robert Yasuda’s iridescent paintings whose color changes as you move around them, Ginny Fox’s striped paintings textured on unexpected rectangular plastic boxes, David Rankin’s stripes on canvas and paper; surprise: a little room furnished with carpets, lamps and odd shaped bottles with psychological wisdom messages imparted by 75-year old Etta Ehrlich; ‘Forces of nature’ by Ron Klein who uses natural seed pods, pine cones, branches and other dried natural found objects in combination with metal, wax and rubber, painstakingly pinned to the gallery walls in clever shapes; the huge white constructs of Mia Westerlund Roosen, in giant mop shapes or other oversized household objects in disarray; Lucas Samaras’ collection of iMovie portraits of mostly mature, intelligent-looking individuals (no vacuous pretty faces here), posing for the movie camera, not moving much, but enough, which reminded me of an earlier video work by Bill Viola where a group of people kept completely still for a long time, until you might notice the almost imperceptible movement of a hand or an eye. At Bill Wilson’s party, I noticed a woman with bright orange hair and when someone introduced me I realized that was Jeanne Claude accompanied by Christo – I should have known because her hair was the color of The Gates from a couple of years ago in Central Park. When I returned home, the headache was completely gone. I should try art therapy more often.