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.
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, where she studied with Chou Wen-chung and Mario Davidovsky. Her compositions have been written for virtually every contemporary genre and performed and broadcast throughout the U.S. and elsewhere, including Sweden, Stuttgart, London, Prague, Paris, Talloires, Hong Kong, Sydney, Berlin, Havana, Kyoto, Singapore, Dresden, and Vienna.
The Industry, a new experimental opera company based in Los Angeles, produced eleven performances of her most recent opera, Crescent City, in May, 2012. The critical response was overwhelmingly positive; Mark Swed, of the Los Angeles Times, called it ‘weirdly exurberant,’ and ‘breathtaking.’ Her one-woman cyborgopera, Sucktion, has been performed around Europe and the U.S., most recently in Vienna with Musikwerkstatt Wien, to unanimous critical acclaim.
The Silent Steppe Cantata, another 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. Other upcoming premieres include the central aria from Some Things Should Not Move, an autobiographical monodrama commissioned by Southwest Chamber Music for their twenty-fifth anniversary; Breathtails (13 Songs in 21 Breaths), commissioned by Tom Buckner, for baritone, shakuhachi, and string quartet; and Floodsongs, commissioned by the Seattle-based vocal ensemble, Solaris.
LeBaron currently teaches composition at the California Institute of the Arts, along with courses she has developed that reflect her personal research interests, such as HyperOpera – Song Beyond Borders; Musical Reflections of Surrealism; Concert Theater; Adventures in Writing for Everything Else; and Contemplative Practices, Musical Arts, Compassionate Mind. She writes and lectures on these topics and others at educational institutions, conferences, and festivals. Upcoming publications include an experimental essay on her composition Breathtails for Current Musicology, and a feature on the future of opera, including LeBaron’s development of hyperopera and her own Crescent City, for the Journal of the International Alliance for Women in Music.
An accomplished harpist, LeBaron is renowned for her pioneering methods of developing and implementing extended harp techniques, electronic enhancements, and notation in compositional and improvisational contexts. A double CD of her collaborations with thirteen different musicians:
1, 2, 4, 3, has been released on Innova. Recordings of her compositions are available on Mode, Music & Arts, New World Records, and Ear-Rational, among others. She has been elected to serve as a Member of the Corporation of Yaddo, and is also on the New Music Committee of the World Harp Congress.
Selected press quotes from 2012:
“…darkly mysterious, troubling yet weirdly exuberant and wonderfully performed.”
“She is fluent in grandly operatic manner and in the language of avant-garde…a perspective that is always changing, and always captivating.”
Los Angeles Times (Mark Swed)
An idiosyncratic visionary in the mode of George Crumb and John Zorn.
Los Angeles Times (Reed Johnson)
“A creative journey of wonderment. The Industry, in its world premiere presentation of Anne LeBaron's super- duper hyperopera, truly achieves the goals of Artistic Director, Yuval Sharon: ‘to expand the traditional definition of opera and create a new paradigm for interdisciplinary collaboration.’”
LeBaron has cooked up a complex, exotic, polyrhythmic gumbo of sound. The images are indelible, and it is a production you will not soon forget…Preservation Hall on acid.”
“More Eraserhead than Ernani in its visceral impact, Crescent City hits like a hurricane.”
“A totally unforgettable event and a superb score.”
Anne LeBaron happens to be the local composer of the moment withher breathtaking opera “Crescent City” currently in production and a piece on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s opening Hollywood Bowl concert in July.
Los Angeles Times (Mark Swed)
Anne LeBaron’s Irona (the Housewife) translated the soap operas and household chores defining Irona’s daily existence into a musical language that sucessfully combines electronic pop elements and repetitive patterns into the trash aesthetic of television.
Hilariously funny and unexpectedly surreal – Muiskwerkstatt Wien has once again landed a real highlight!