Composer in Residence
Anne LeBaron’s compositions embrace an exotic array of subjects encompassing vast reaches of space and time, ranging from the mysterious Singing Dune of Kazakhstan, to probes into physical and cultural forms of extinction, to legendary figures such as Pope Joan, Eurydice, Marie Laveau, and the American Housewife. Widely recognized for her work in instrumental, electronic, and performance realms, she has earned numerous awards and prizes, including a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the Alpert Award in the Arts, a Fulbright Full Fellowship, two awards from the MAP Fund for her operas, Sucktion, and Crescent City, and a Cultural Exchange International Grant from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs for the Silent Steppe Cantata. Most recently, she was named a recipient of Opera America’s Discovery Grant, to support the development of her new opera, Psyche & Delia.
As a Fulbright Scholar to Germany in 1980 – 81, LeBaron studied with György Ligeti and Mauricio Kagel, later completing her doctorate in composition at Columbia University. Her compositions have been written for virtually every contemporary genre and performed and broadcast throughout the U.S. as well as Sweden, Stuttgart, London, Prague, Paris, Talloires, Hong Kong, Sydney, Berlin, Havana, Kyoto, Singapore, Dresden, Vienna, and Kazakhstan.
Her one-woman cyborgopera, Sucktion, has been performed several times in Europe and the U.S., most recently in Vienna with Musikwerkstatt Wien. Eleven performances of her sixth opera, Crescent City, were produced by The Industry in May, 2012. Mark Swed, of the Los Angeles Times, called it ‘weirdly exuberant,’ and ‘breathtaking.’ Also in the summer of 2012, the Los Angeles Philharmonic performed her work for large orchestra, American Icons, at the Hollywood Bowl, with Leonard Slatkin conducting. A choral work commissioned by the Solaris Vocal Ensemble, Floodsongs, had its first performance in Seattle in 2012 and is now available on Albany Records. Breathtails (13 Songs in 21 Breaths), commissioned by Thomas Buckner for baritone, shakuhachi, and string quartet, was premiered in November 2013 in a profile concert of her music in New York. Also in 2013, Southwest Chamber Music commissioned and premiered Some Things Should Not Move, a paranormal monodrama with a libretto by the composer’s daughter, Yvonne Eadon. She has broken ground on her seventh opera, Psyche & Delia, a panoramic project charting the powerful historical/political, scientific, and cultural events set into motion by Albert Hofmann’s discovery of LSD. A sneak preview of Psyche & Delia was included in the programming for two portrait concerts of her as part of the 10th anniversary season in spring 2014 at REDCAT, in downtown Los Angeles.
The Silent Steppe Cantata, a large-scale work completed and premiered in December, 2011, forms a sonic portrait of the Republic of Kazakhstan. As the composer and co-producer of this international collaborative project, LeBaron wrote music to texts by Kazakh writers spanning ten centuries, for the National Ethnographic Ensemble “Orchestra Sazgen Sazy,” the State Opera Women’s Chorus, and Kazakh tenor Timur Bekbosunov. The world premiere, heralded as ‘legendary,’ formed part of a two-week festival of activities celebrating the twentieth anniversary of Kazakhstan, and took place in Astana, on December 10, 2011.
Recent articles she has penned include an experimental essay on her composition Breathtails for Current Musicology, and a feature on the future of opera, including her concept of hyperopera and how it relates to her own Crescent City, for the Journal of the International Alliance for Women in Music.
An accomplished harpist, LeBaron is renowned for pioneering many diverse extended harp techniques, along with electronic enhancements, and notation, in both compositional and improvisational contexts. 1, 2, 4, 3, a double CD of her collaborations with thirteen different musicians in solo, duo, quartet, and trio configurations, can be heard on the Innova label.
Recordings of her compositions are available on Mode, Music & Arts, New World Records, Ear-Rational, and Albany. She serves as a Member of the Corporation of Yaddo, and on the board of the American Composers Forum. She currently holds the Roy E. Disney Family Chair in Musical Composition at CalArts, and has been appointed Co-chair of the Composition Program in the School of Music.
Anne LeBaron’s attendance at the 13th Totally Huge New Music Festival is supported by Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation through USArtists International in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.