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
Monday, May 28, 2007
The Beethoven Icon

To outsiders to the classical music world, out of the holy trinity of classical music, Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, it is Beethoven who appears to represents the ultimate icon of the composer: it is Beethoven who is told to ‘roll over’ in the early rock n’ roll song; it is Beethoven whose name is borrowed by an 80s alternative rock group from California,Camper Van Beethoven. I once taught music to a very little girl who thought Beethoven was a big fluffy St Bernard, but now she knows, and now I know what it feels like telling a child Santa Claus is not real.

I recently saw the film Copying Beethoven by Agnieszka Holland, produced in Budapest and London, with Ed Harris in the role of Beethoven and Diane Kruger in the role of Anna Holtz, from a screenplay by Stephen J. Rivele and Christopher Wilkinson. This film is for the most part about the circumstances in which the Ninth Symphony received its premiere. I immediately liked this premise, because for a composer, certain premieres are really once-in-a lifetime events, especially when you have to conduct a huge chorus and orchestra work but can’t hear a thing. I also liked the imaginary character of Anna Holtz, the copyist who longs to be a composer, a character undeniably not from Beethoven’s time, but from our time: it seems that the increased interest of women for composing, and the personas that have come to the fore in the late twentieth century have had some influence on this screenplay, and I appreciated that. In the beginning of the film, Anna is told by Beethoven that “no woman can compose…” – which may be consistent with the views of the time – but he later condescends to brutally critique her piece. At one point in the film, after behaving rudely in all kinds of ways, Beethoven finally bares his behind for Anna while talking about the “Moon”-light sonata (I am not convinced that Beethoven himself has nicknamed his piece that way), and the heavy-handed joke in an otherwise serious, sexless movie, was however enjoyable because so… utterly ridiculous.

Immortal Beloved, released over ten years ago, directed by Bernard Rose, with Gary Oldman in the role of Beethoven and Isabella Rossellini as a supporting actress, was focused on Beethoven’s rather elusive romantic interests. Below is a link to a site featuring the many movies about Beethoven. Strangely enough, aside from Amadeus, there haven’t been nearly as many movies about Mozart – although his music has been used in hundreds of soundtracks. There are even less films on Bach. It seems that his personality has failed to interest film makers, even though he so justly deserves to be remembered by a film; all I could find was a 1968 film entitled The Chronicles of Magdalena Bach, directed by Jean-Marie Straub. And while I’m at it, I’ll mention in passing the Werner Herzog documentary on Gesualdo, the composer who was a real-life Othello.