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, March 26, 2005
Underground Economics

I am not sure whether people realize the economic role of the composer. The composer is a creator of economic opportunities. A new piece being produced translates into jobs, not only for musicians and performers, but brings X number of dollars for: rehearsal spaces, printers, graphic and web designers, web hosting companies, suppliers, music copyists, recording engineers, publicists, agents, lighting designers, stage managers, stage hands, theater staff, beauty parlors, and even coffee shops, restaurants and bars for the after-concert reprieve, as well as taxis and car services. In other words, the composerís work creates a plus-value that boosts economic growth. For better or worse, composers are capital-boosters.

However, the support structure is performer and organization oriented. There are hardly any programs that support the composerís activity directly Ė even the Meet the Composer Fund requires a non-profit sponsor. The programs support the ensembles, the companies, the organizations that present the work. Finding the right sponsor can be a challenge. The sponsors may have their own agendas that do not necessarily match the composerís goals.

Is the answer having oneís own non-profit organization? I have two objections: (1) Because of the capitalistic competitive environment that prevails even in the arts, there is a conflict of interest between the composer and the organization, as it aims to support multiple composers. What I have seen happen is the creation of small factions that protect their territories, just like in any other business, nothing fair or democratic about it. (2) Running the non-profit organization is paper-intensive, it takes over the composerís life and there is very little time left to practice and compose. This is becoming a leitmotiv: why are we compelled to be business people instead of pursuing our artistic expression, which is the composerís most basic human right.

Why not support the composer directly and help create that economic-boosting plus-value? A growing number of unsupported composers invest enormous sums of their own money, year after year, often re-oriented from other job earnings, into the creation and presentation of their work, which in turn benefits the various economic sectors I mentioned above. Isn't this a form of exploitation? Why do we do it? We are not pursuing fame and fortune. We do it because the Work must happen, it must be shared, heard. The reward is in the piece itself Ė it better be worth it.