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
Sunday, April 27, 2008
Of all the many little things that can go wrong...

I am blessed but also cursed with an ear for detail. I still remember that time in the 80s when a overly amplified saxophone sent an excruciating message to my brain for days, even though my intellect appreciated both the performer and the original music being created.

Especially with singers, I (for better or worse) can hear all the little flatnesses and sharpnesses that occur, and that makes the vocal landcape slighly more painful to navigate - but I am still able to enjoy every minute of it.

The acoustical problems are in the forefront of my perception, and they plague many of the spaces, which actually are mostly churches lately (thank God for that), as there seems to be a scarcity of creative venues, where we can listen to live music: sound bouncing too much, or not bouncing at all, flat, muddy.

Amplification issues may happen: everything was perfectly planned for natural acoustics but the room required miking of the instruments, meanwhile the performers can't hear themselves from one end of the stage to the other unless they wear headphones... Sometimes it's a theater made for drama, not sound, and where no matter where you sit, you're going to hear something totally different - and none of it in keeping with what it should sound like, but no one will really know because it's a premiere; one person says the violin was too loud, the other says they couldn't hear it at all, but they are both complaining.

I hear the slightest out-of-tuneness of a piano, even a mere out-of-temperament-ness of the instrument and the other instruments being ever so slightly at odds with it...

The distractions from audience vibrations and moods, the near-psychic perception of how people are feeling at the time in a collective situation also have their part in the aural experience, and so does the presence of Critics with a Capital C, whether old-school ones who enjoy career-bashing power or the impression of it and new-school ones who will casually but just as irresponsibly blog it negative for the sake of being perceived as witty.

The programs can often be under-rehearsed because performers are so busy making a living they can't really afford the time to learn the music properly, and they certainly cannot be blamed for it.

In brief, so many things can go wrong with a performance, and I doubt that a single one of them will escape my noticing. However, it's funny how some events can turn out to be so grand that one is able to get beyond the uncomfortable and mundane aspects of the experience, such as bad seating, and how some other events can be nearly painful in the very humbleness of their endangered form.

This is really somewhat of a nightmare, isn't it?