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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Wednesday, September 17, 2008
A depressed look at the new cultural season

I usually read The New York Times online, but at a friend’s house I found the Arts and Leisure section announcing “The New Season” in the arts… and I opened the large-size, ink-laden pages to find humongous adverts for centennials, old classics and show biz staples: Madonna and Tina Turner making a comeback, the everlasting Rockettes of Radio City, the unavoidable Cirque du Soleil, a smattering of musical revivals: White Christmas (a fifties classic), Billy Elliot (the dance film was terrific but how many years ago was that?), To Be Or Not To Be (another fifties classic - I love the film but I only have seen it four or five times on TCM). “Classic” is the word: A Tale of Two Cities, The Seagull. There are a couple of new musicals, one based on the animation film Shrek and another one named 13… but so far the most intriguing prospect is the actor who played Harry Potter performing live (and possibly naked) in Peter Shaffer’s play Equus – which is another classic. Even the Next Wave at BAM is...well, classic, with Steve Reich and Bill T. Jones this season (but check out some of the new names at Another minimalist classic, the Dream House Sound and Light Environment by La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela at the Mela Foundation, 275 Church Street, 3rd Floor, is opening on Saturday September 20, and running every Thursday, Friday, Saturday from 2PM to midnight through June 20, 2009. Even I have been described recently as a “classic” of downtown… we’re all classics. I feel sad.

It’s almost like the 21st century is looking back really hard at the 20th century for inspiration. Could it be that people are tired, afraid to take chances, afraid of the new, as if the millennium never happened. Are we living in fear of the end of the world in 2012? Is that why most everything that is being performed on a large scale is so willfully reassuring?