Portrayed in The New Yorker as “an admired West Coast experimentalist, who is an innovative performer on the harp as well as an unusually inventive composer,” Anne LeBaron’s compositions have been performed around the globe, most recently at venues in Sydney, Vienna, Sweden, Kazakhstan, New York, and Los Angeles. Her operas celebrate legendary figures such as Pope Joan, Eurydice, Marie Laveau, and the American Housewife. Acclaimed for her work in instrumental, electronic, and performance realms, her numerous awards and prizes include a Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the Alpert Award in the Arts, a Fulbright Full Fellowship, two awards from the MAP Fund for two of her operas, Sucktion and Crescent City, and a Los Angeles Cultural Exchange International Grant for the Silent Steppe Cantata. Her primary composition teachers were Frederic Goossen, Bülent Arel, György Ligeti, Mauricio Kagel, and Chou Wen-chung. She earned a doctorate from Columbia University in 1989.
Her new project, LSD: The Opera, won a development grant from Opera America in 2014, and was selected for inclusion in The Industry’s 2015 First Take showcase at the Wallis Annenberg Theater in Beverly Hills. In his Los Angeles Times review, Mark Swed wrote “In LSD: The Opera, she expands consciousness with an expanded orchestra, incorporating Harry Partch’s gorgeously weird microtonal instruments into the orchestra in a way no one has thought of before.” New scenes from this opera, featuring characters Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, and others, were performed at REDCAT, a theater in the Disney Hall complex in Los Angeles, on June 19 and 20, 2015, on the annual Partch Ensemble concerts. A recording of the live performance of her sixth opera, Crescent City, is now available on Innova.
In 2015, LeBaron was awarded both a Copland House Residency and a Djerassi Foundation Residency. The Sorel Organization and SongFest commissioned Radiant Depth Unfolded: Settings of Rumi, premiered on June 21, 2015 in Zipper Hall at the Colburn School in Los Angeles.
Also an accomplished harpist, she has pioneered methods of extended harp techniques, electronic enhancements, and notation in compositional and improvisational contexts. She began these investigations over forty years ago, leading to concert and recording collaborations with iconic improvisers such as Derek Bailey, Evan Parker, Leroy Jenkins, and many others. At the 2014 World Harp Congress held in Sydney, she was a featured guest, as a workshop leader and composer. Her new monodrama scored for soprano, flute, harp, and bass, Some Things Should Not Move, was performed at the Congress. She performed in a stellar group assembled by percussionist Gerry Hemingway at The Stone in New York, during the summer of 2015.
LeBaron’s music has been celebrated in three portrait concerts in both New York and Los Angeles in the recent past. The LA Times review headline, “an amazing body of work,” went on to describe her as a “composer as transformer.” Recordings of her works are available on Mode, New World Records, Albany, Ear-Rational, Innova, and Music and Art. Her essay, “Composing Breathtails,” is published in the Spring 2014 issue of Current Musicology, a publication from Columbia University. The fall 2015 Leonardo Music Journal (#25), Politics and Sound Art, published her essay on music and politics, edited by Alyce Santoro. Co-chair of the Composition Program in the Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, LeBaron holds the Roy E. Disney Family Chair in Musical Composition.
Gerd Stern is a founder of the 1960’s communal arts collaborative, USCO, headquartered in an old church building in Garnerville, Rockland County, New York. USCO’s work in multi-media productions and in international museum exhibitions was featured on two LIFE Magazine covers and has been the subject of many reviews and articles. Among those was a chapter in Fred Turner’s volume “From Counterculture to Cyberculture,” and a 2010 Art Journal article about the history of USCO. As president of Intermedia Foundation Stern presented USCO’s work as part of the “Summer of Love” exhibition in three European museums, at New York’s Whitney Museum of American Art, and at the Centre Georges Pompidou’s “Traces du Sacre” in Paris. His oral history was published by the University of California’s Bancroft Library Regional Oral History Office. He presently lives in New Jersey, and in 2013 presented a seminar titled “McLuhan Plus” on prophetic technology at ZKM, in Karlsruhe. He is a contributor to the anthology “Real Virtuality” published in Germany and by the Columbia University Press.
Edward Rosenfeld is a writer and editor. His screenplay, MK-ULTRA, was the original basis for the libretto for the opera: LSD: Huxley’s Last Trip. In the early 1960s, Rosenfeld founded the Natural Church, focused on using psychedelics as spiritual sacraments. As psychedelics became illegal, one of his early books, The Book of Highs, focused on more than 250 ways to alter consciousness without drugs. This was an effort to make sure expanded consciousness was not made illegal. A new, revised and updated edition of The Book of Highs was published in 2018. Rosenfeld was a founding editor of Omni Magazine. From 1984 until 2017, he edited and published a monthly newsletter, INTELLIGENCE – The Future of Computing, later subtitled: Making the World Work. It covered advanced computing and communications developments and trends, focusing on neural networks and machine intelligence. His other books include three volumes on neural networks, one: Talking Nets – An Oral History of Neural Networks. He has also completed the original Oral History of Gestalt Therapy. His latest endeavor: www.worldworking.net/.