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, May 24, 2005
The Cult of Tech

To the profane, ordinary computer user or classically trained musician, high technology is often viewed as an impenetrable realm of wizardry, mystery and 'magick'. The new God of a somewhat faithless society is High Tech. For creators, technology can just about compensate for lack of inspiration or be its own springboard.

I noticed that lately, many chamber ensembles actually request a technology component such as electronic/computer-generated tracks. It has become more popular to use electrified classical instruments. At a recent performance, the synth track I scored as part of the percussion group of the orchestra created a fuss, but was not dismissed as I nearly expected! A few years ago, the premiere of Steve Reich’s Different Trains by the Kronos Quartet, with the interactive tape element, was a step forward. But as I remember, a tape component in a chamber music piece used to discourage performance.

Production companies such as Harvestworks have been catering to technology-driven projects for years. Roulette’s upcoming program, the Festival of Mixology 2005 (Location one, 20 Greene St, June 16-26), will feature artists who use various degrees of high tech: Nic Collins, Gill Arnó, Marina Rosenfeld, David Behrman, Angie Eng, David Linton, Julia Heyward, Koosil-ja Hwang and Aki Onda.

The fascination with high tech is not new… about thirty years ago, Jerry Hunt had performances in which he suggested the use of high-tech devices he didn’t have, cleverly creating an illusion, like a magician. About 10 years ago, Laetitia Sonami amazed audiences with an interactive glove with which she would control various musical elements of her performance. On the other hand, John Cage’s forays were essentially of low-tech nature such as transistor radios, pieces of strings, mushrooms. Low-tech/high-tech, low-brow/high-brow, classy/cheap. Is that right? Do these opposites match? Nowadays choosing high-tech or low-tech for the design of a piece can significantly affect its outcome and scope.

Does 'tech' mean 'hip'? One element to consider, though, is that technology-intensive projects are costly and accessible to a privileged few. Are we creating an aristocracy of tech? The High Priests and High Priestesses of Tech? Or is the technical savvy the poor man’s revenge, and a tool of democracy? The integration of new technical elements into a piece is a question to be addressed, but do they have to be there just because it’s ‘in’? In fact, is Tech still ‘in’ as a goal onto itself? Starting a piece from the technical standpoint: the equipment designs the project?