Elodie Lauten: The Death of Don Juan

Composer Elodie Lauten 50th Year Retrospective The Death of Don Juan - an opera of consciousness

Featuring the Trine, a custom-made electro-acoustic lyre

"Elegiac melodies...pungent and intriguing."
-- The New York Times

"A composer of enchanting music, one of New York's most individual voices of the present generation."
-- The Village Voice

"A force on the new music scene."
-- Fanfare

Saturday October 21, 2000 at 8 PM
Music Under Construction
10 East 18th St. 3rd Floor (between Broadway and Fifth)
Concert and reception
Admission: $20
Reservations/Information: 212-388-0202

cybercast @ www.theconstruc tioncompany.com

(concert to be cast in real time on the Internet at this site)
Celebrating composer Elodie Lauten's 50th anniversary, Music Under Construction presents a multimedia performance of Lauten's groundbreaking work of the 1980's, The Death of Don Juan, which received a National Endowment for the Arts award in 1985 and a Massachusetts Council for the Arts award in 1987 for the premiere at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. The original recording released on Cat Collectors in 1985 will be enhanced by live improvisations by the composer on the Trine, her custom-made electro-acoustic lyre, and projection of video work created in 1990 by the composer during residencies at Film Video Arts and the Experimental Television Center.


The Death of Don Juan is about the myth rather than the story of Don Juan. In this work, he is an archetype, a symbol of human desire for freedom and transcendence. The setting is a screen reflecting Don Juan's terminal experience as it unfolds in real time, as an apocalyptic replay of his past life as it comes back to him. Death appears to him in a vision in the form of a woman who speaks in tongues and whose multiples voices are those of the women he seduced. This confrontation with the female entity is a role reversal for Don Juan. The power is held by the opposite sex this time around. But he is at once seduced by the Death as a Woman and therefore unable to win his ultimate battle. Instead he begins to realize how barren he has made his life. His mind struggles with self-destruction and insanity. Only then is he able to understand the need for love, compassion, purity and sincerity, all of which he once found trivial. This awakening is his salvation. There is no hell for this Don Juan: he is able to forgive himself and be forgiven.

Composer Biographical Summary

Recently, Elodie Lauten's solo piano work Variations on the Orange Cycle (Lovely Music) was recently included in Chamber Music America's list of 100 best works of the 20th century.
Born and raised in Paris, Elodie Lauten studied classical piano and was initiated to jazz by her father jazz pianist/ drummer/ composer Errol Parker. At age 22, she was chosen to compose and perform the music for an experimental play by Dashiell Hedayat at the Paris Museum of Modern Art. Shortly after, in New York, she found a mentor in Allen Ginsberg who encouraged her to compose and introduced her to Buddhism. She moved to New York permanently in 1976 and became an American citizen in 1984. In the early 80s she started producing her own music and released 4 albums between 1981 and 1984. In 1983, following the release of Piano Works, the Dance Theater Workshop presented her compositions and her music became a regular feature of the New Sounds program on WNYC. She has received commissions from Lincoln Center, the Elinor Coleman Dance Company, the Soho Baroque Opera, the Queen's Chamber Band, The Lark Ascending and the Bozeman Symphony Society -- to name a few. Her work has been presented by the Whitney Museum, The Kitchen, the Performing Garage, La Mama, the New Music America Festival, the American Festival of Microtonal Music. In 1993 she moved to New Mexico, spending two years devoted exclusively to composing. During the late 90s a number of CDs featuring her varied output appeared on various labels: Tronik Involutions (O.O. Discs), Variations on the Orange Cycle (Lovely Music), Music for the Trine (Nonsequitur) and Inscapes from Exile (New Tone). The Deus Ex Machina Cycle, music for voices and Baroque ensemble (4Tay) is her latest release (1999). Elodie Lauten has a Master's in composition from New York University.
For further information on the Elodie Lauten 50th Year Retrospective or for copies of the 50th Year Retrospective CD please email ElodiL010@aol.com or call 212-388-0202.

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© 2011 Elodie Lauten; designed by Henry Lowengard
update: Aug 28, 200