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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Sunday, December 10, 2006
New opera alive and well

Not one, but two important premieres will take place this winter: at the Met, Tan Dunís The First Emperor; at LaMama, Concrete, by Robert Ashley. Uptown, downtown, each with its own hero. In passing, Meredith Monk just had a performance of her Book of Days, Panda Chant and Astronaut Anthem in Montclair, NJ at the Kasser Theater. The Robert Ashley piece promises the usual participants: his son Sam Ashley, Thomas Buckner, Jacqueline Humbert, Tom Hamilton and himself. This will have five performances from January 17 through 21. Tickets are $15 and $20, box office is 212-475-7710.

Tan Dunís The First Emperor is a very important event at the Met - they donít usually present more than one new opera each season, even though I keep saying they should do more... This series of performances features Placido Domingo himself. It is a co-production with the Los Angeles Opera. The live broadcast is scheduled for January 13, so thatís a date for your calendarÖ A logical choice, Tan Dun will also conduct his opera. He not only wrote the music but collaborated on the Ha Jin libretto as well. The production is staged by the acclaimed film director Zhang Yimou.

I loved Tan Dunís Marco Polo for its use of Chinese instruments and elements of Chinese opera, and I expect to hear some of his surprising orchestrations including Chinese and Western instruments. I only wish that the subject of the opera was about the Chinese king who finalized the I Ching while in captivity (well maybe thatís more of a subject for me ĖI have only been using the wisdom of the I Ching for some 40 years) Interestingly I met a number of young Chinese people for whom the I Ching was very obscureÖ not Ďiní the culture, obviously, for the living Chinese. Anyhow, the libretto for The First Emperor is a piece of Chinese history and I am sure it will be more interesting that Turandot. For tickets and information, call 212-362-6000.