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
Saturday, November 25, 2006
Ethnomusicology in the backyard

21st century ethnomusicologists, as reflected in Music and Technoculture, a series of essays edited by Lysloff and Gay (2003, Wesleyan University Press), are applying their analysis of music as culture beyond the study of so-called ‘native’ cultures to new cultures developing here and now in the western world. I like this book for its questioning of exoticism. Third-world cultures have evolved as they are affected by technology and modernism; there is a complex interactivity between the new and the old, even down to the way the music is recorded on location by ethnomusicologists themselves, who are looking for an authenticity that may be completely out of date, and therefore altered.

These very same recordings find their way into pop songs, from Brian Jones gathering soundtracks in Morocco for inspiration, to the height of new age music, with the case of Enigma’s use of Taiwanese vocal polyphonies. The Enigma CD sold seven million copies worldwide. The license for the recording of the polyphonies was obtained from the Chinese Folk Arts Foundation, but the Taiwanese singers never got paid beyond the initial small fee they received for the performance. Somehow, and completely legally, an ethno-error was perpetrated.

Another article presents the case of muzak used in commercial spaces, frighteningly pointing out that by numbers alone, this is what the majority of people worldwide actually listen to.

An essay devotes itself to Madonna and Björk, emphasizing any creative input they may have had in the production of their tunes; my only objection is, these commercial superstars chosen to represent women in music act as a foil to only further hide the work of serious women composers and skew the perception of women’s role in musical evolution.

Most interestingly, an article comes up with a new term, Mod culture – not the sixties Mods, but the module-oriented culture of shared music on the internet, a new form of culture in which songs are digitally synthesized, exchanged and recreated by multiple authors, with a striking revelation: the very notion of single authorship and ownership of a piece of music is possibly on its way out. 'Composers' in a traditional sense, as all-powerful controllers of musical content, are already an endangered species, while "we are moving from a modernist culture of calculation to a postmodernist culture of simulation" (Sherry Turkle, Life on the Screen, 1997). The rational simplicity of modernism with its predictable geometry is replaced by the complex, interactive, decentralized, iterative postmodernism with its fractal geometry of chaos, which means that creatively we may have to decentralize the composing process, which is not so unfamiliar, as some of our forefathers have experimented with chance elements and collective participation in their compositions, but in time this may become the mainstream as opposed to the avant-garde.