Anne LeBaron: Pope Joan, Transfiguration


Situating Anne LeBaron


Anne LeBaron is one of the most vital composers of the postwar generation born in the boom of the 1950s and early sixties. Her music, like that of many of her generation, not only grows out of but further speaks directly to the defining issues of contemporary life. Situated by the debates over sexuality, gender equality, multiculturalism, globalization, and the environment, LeBaron’s music confirms the world around us. It offers not an escape route from our everyday encounters, but rather takes us down pathways that allow aesthetic exploration of those concerns that position us as citizens of the world.

However, LeBaron does not preach. Hers is a music that places listeners amid complexity and diversity, opening for us a network of options. Donna Haraway, the feminist philosopher and historian of science, has described well such a way of addressing the world. Arguing against rigid notions of scientific objectivity, Haraway posits a knowledge that is always contextualized by the various historical and cultural positions of a knowing person—a perception that must be understood as both partial and plural.[1] Haraway’s knowledge is not, however, a soft relativism of “anything goes.” In a similar way, LeBaron’s music does take up strongly defined positions on particular issues, but these are musically figured as multiple and perspectival.

LeBaron’s music not only situates listeners in issues of the contemporary world but it allows us to situate her. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 1953, LeBaron attended the University of Alabama in the early 1970s, where she nurtured two aspects of her compositional voice: various sorts of vernacular music, especially that of the Southeastern region of the United States, and classical music, especially that of the European/American avant-garde. These two aesthetic strands, never fully disentangled, are woven together into a richly textured musical fabric. For instance, Southern Ephemera (1993–94) evokes specific songs of the Southeast, but renders them through the rarefied sounds of two Harry Partch instruments, the harmonic canon and surrogate kithara, along with cello and flute—all microtonally inflected.[2]

LeBaron’s overall aesthetic is steeped in the sound world of the European/American avant-garde of the mid-twentieth century, but like others of her generation, she rejects the premise of stylistic continuity that underlies much classical music. It is defined by supplementation with a host of others: popular music, jazz, historical styles of the classical tradition, and so on. These differing sound worlds become expressive gestures, in themselves and in their juxtaposition with one another. The supplement not only expands sonorous and expressive options but it further affirms the postmodern taste for difference.

While LeBaron’s aesthetic feet are firmly grounded in the classical tradition, as befitting her training with such composers as György Ligeti and Bülent Arel, her music flows easily among diverse historical and present styles of the classical and vernacular traditions. For instance, her 1990 chamber work Telluris Theoria Sacra follows a narrative of world history written by the seventeenth-century author Thomas Burnet and refracts it through contemporary ideas from chaos theory. The work’s four movements use a variety of styles in the classical and vernacular traditions to express Burnet’s story: a passacaglia for a forming of order, a jazzy dance for the habitability of the Earth, and an allusion to a medieval song, the lauda, for the moment of calm after the implosion of the Earth. 

Pope Joan (2000)and Transfiguration (2003) are relatively new works that sustain LeBaron’s blossoming aesthetic of supplementation while at the same time refining and refreshing it. Both are theatrical works for soprano and chamber ensemble. Pope Joan was conceived as a dance opera, and while the recorded version here is for concert setting, the dramatic nature of the work shines through. Transfiguration is a concert work but entails dramatic staging, gestures, and props that move it toward ritual. Pope Joan develops its dramatic meaning through a combination of semantic, gestural, and musical resources, much like a traditional opera. Transfiguration, however, relies little on the semantic meaning of its text for dramatic meaning; rather the text serves as one element of musical design. Thus, its dramatic meaning arises from sonic design, allusions to semantic meaning, and performance gestures. Both works utilize a variety of different forms of vocal delivery performed primarily by the soprano but occasionally by the instrumentalists, such delivery ranging from fully expressive aria-like melodic singing to recitative-like declamation to impassive chanting. Both pieces rely on a large number of timbrally diverse percussion instruments that are essential to the dramatic design.

Pope Joan

Pope Joan (for soprano, flutes, oboe, English horn, clarinets, violin, viola, cello, piano, and percussion) was commissioned by Dance Alloy and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. It premiered as a dance opera, on October 13 and 14, 2000 in the Byham Theater in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with choreography by Mark Taylor of Dance Alloy, Kristin Norderval singing the part of Pope Joan, and Kevin Noe conducting the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. The text is based on five poems by the American poet Enid Shomer which determine the movements of the opera: To Those Who Shall Discover Me, After Love, Hymn, Elegy, and Sestina of Visions.[3]The poetry tells of a woman, a brilliant scholar who after years of deceiving the church hierarchy, ascended to the papacy in 853 CE, becoming Pope John. The truth of “John”’s gender was revealed when a child was delivered in the midst of a papal procession through Rome, after which Joan was stoned to death. The veracity of this story has been the subject of much controversy and scholarship since the Middle Ages, and its telling has regained currency in recent debates about gender equality.

Shomer’s poetry (written in 1992) presents a first-person narrative, as if Joan wrote the poems for posterity. The first poem addresses directly those who might unmask her daring actions and proclaims the validity of the daughter within the patriarchy of Catholicism. The second, After Love, extols the sensual pleasures of physical love while not setting bodily pleasures in opposition to spirituality. In Hymn, the third poem, Joan marvels at the imminent child who embodies the pleasures of physical union with her lover. The fourth and fifth poems take a turn toward darker thoughts—to questions of who will tend to the child in Elegy, and in Sestina of Visions to an embrace of the Black Mass. The poetic narrative moves from a self-confident avowal of gender equality in the face of patriarchal oppression and a joyous affirmation of sensuous pleasure as a site of spiritual awakening to a gnawing anxiety about the future of the child and a threatened revenge against oppressive social institutions.

In Pope Joan, LeBaron’s stylistic supplements serve the narrative and its historical setting; hence stylistic allusion to medieval music is prevalent. For example, open fifths in the instrumental parts characterize the sonorities of the first movement, To Those Who Shall Discover Me. In Hymn, chanting by the instrumentalists accompanies the third stanza’s reference to monks. And Sestina of Visions a raucous band, underscored with a rock-like backbeat, has figures that suggest the melodic contours of Gregorian chant.

LeBaron’s close attention to the text may be observed both in her comprehensive design and in the setting of particular words or phrases. The overall focus of dramatic and musical structure in Pope Joan centers on the third movement, Hymn, which is significantly longer than the other movements. The second and fifth movements are paired on the one hand as textual and expressive opposites, but on the other as authoritative statements of female desire. After Love celebrates sensual pleasures with a tinge of both playfulness and worry. The final movement, Sestina of Visions, is a nearly psychotic alternation of spoken language and an unruly band which ends in revengeful despair. Both the first and fourth movements are relatively short, the first setting out the terms of the story, and the fourth, Elegy, a slow, almost passionless music that belies the underlying anguish that gives way to the strident revenge of the concluding movement.

LeBaron’s sensitive setting of particular words or phrases permeates the work as a whole. One particular passage deserves attention because of its central role in the dramatic design. In the central movement, Hymn, each of the stanzas is set in a musically distinct way that underscores their differing meanings: Joan’s joy in anticipation of the imminent child, the tactile and visual pleasures of her lover’s body, and her pity of the monks. The last two stanzas, set together as a single yet complex passage of diverse ideas, marks the turning point in Joan’s mental state—from optimism and joy to despair. This concluding passage (starting at about 10'15) begins with Joan’s recollection of an untroubled sensuous encounter with her lover, but at the word “holy,” time seems to stop. In melodic reverie, the ecstatic memory of physical encounter turns into a despairing sense of present realities. Through a series of chaotic gestures in the instruments, including violent strokes inside the piano, the anguish that will take over the last two movements makes its first appearance. The memory of joy also brings about recognition of how the church will control her body and life.


Transfiguration (for soprano, flutes, harp, and percussion) received its premiere at the Burghof in Forbach, France, on May 29, 2003 with soprano Lucy Shelton. It was commissioned by the Saarlandischer Rundfunk to be performed as part of the Musik im 21. Jahrhundert festival in Saarbrücken. The work sets both a poem by Djuna Barnes and selections from various other texts: verse by Pablo Picasso, Dante’s Divina Commedia, the autobiography of Renaissance author Margery of Kempe, the song of Tom O’Bedlam as it is mentioned in Shakespeare’s King Lear, and Ecclesiastes from the Bible.[4]Barnes’s poem comprises nine stanzas, each recounting a reversal in time of either some pivotal event in Western history and thought or some elemental unidirectional temporal occurrence. These reversals—of such things as Moses’s prophesies, Pilate’s betrayal, Cain’s murder of Abel, the creation of Woman from Adam’s rib—invite readers or listeners to speculate on how the world might be a different place if such reversals were to occur. LeBaron chose the other texts as interpolated commentary on each stanza of the poem. For instance, the phrase from Dante’s Divina Commedia, taken from the first canto of the Inferno, is associated with the sixth stanza about Lucifer in Barnes’s poem, and the passage from Margery of Kempe’s autobiography addressing the daughter with the poem’s seventh stanza about Adam’s rib. While these associations are explicit in a reading of the poetry and interpolated texts, their functioning in the musical setting is more complex and richly textured.

Transfiguration is a single-movement work with three sections closely tied to text. In the Prologue the soprano sings a Picasso text, “in secret, be quiet, say nothing.” In the second section, Deconstruction, the Barnes poem and interpolated texts are sung and declaimed by the soprano and the instrumentalists; and in the third section, Reconstruction, the soprano alone sings the text of the poem.

The second section has the most complex textual organization and expressive character. The instrumentalists and soprano present not only whole words and phrases but also phonemes taken from the texts. Further, the ordering of the poem’s stanzas is altered. This dismantling of the words and of the stanzas allows for a recombination that generates new meanings. The reordering of the stanzas follows a precise plan. It begins with the central stanza of Barnes’s sequence and then moves successively before and after. In the reordering, the seventh stanza about Adam takes the central position.     

The text for the Barnes poem is recited by the instrumentalists, the words declaimed in often fragmentary units and with angular rhythms. With a couple of exceptions, the soprano sings only the interpolated texts in whole phrases with finely sculpted melodic contours. This juxtaposition between the soprano’s melodically smooth text and the instrumentalists’ phonemes draws attention to the interpolated texts while at the same time raising questions about the meaning of the fragmented texts declaimed by the usually voiceless instrumentalists.

Formally, the nine stanzas of the second section are often set off from one another by an articulation of silence and a distinction of texture and figuration. The dramatic and formal focus of the movement centers on the seventh stanza, which occurs in the fifth order position. This stanza, “To Adam back the rib is plied. . . ”, is preceded and followed by the interpolated text of Margery of Kempe in which she recounts a visitation by Jesus. The soprano’s interpolation has a song-like character that is set off by lengthy tremolos in the instrumental parts. The textural and melodic framing of the Margery of Kempe text in conjunction with the “Adam” stanza draws out the gender implications that surround the Barnes and Margery of Kempe texts with great dramatic force.

The third section, Reconstruction, rebuilds the original ordering of the text of the Barnes poem. The ease and directness of the soprano’s vocal setting assures textual comprehensibility, and the instrumental parts of the movement are woven into a simpler texture that provides transparent support for the text. While the strategy operating between the last two sections seems to be a straightforward move from complexity to simplicity, its reorderings and interpolations assure a more complex temporality. The directness of the reconstruction does not shed its complex past; rather, the second section prepares us to hear the ease of the third as vastly intricate: It debunks the possibility of any real simplicity.

While not a theatrical work in any traditional sense, Transfiguration is nonetheless a form of music drama bordering on ritual. Staging, although not heard as such on an audio recording, is carefully planned and plays a central role in musical expressivity. For instance, in the Prologue, the instrumentalists and soprano file onto the stage while playing and singing. The soprano wears a cloth around her mouth and, if performance conditions allow, a blindfold—both of which are removed by the percussionist. The soprano also plays assorted percussion instruments which are placed on a “ritual” table at her side. At various points during the piece, the instrumentalists and soprano are instructed to take up particular places onstage, sometimes kneeling, sometimes back-to-back; the percussionist is told when to move to particular instruments; and before they have finished, the soprano, flutist, and harpist file out, leaving the percussionist to conclude the piece. Overall, stage movement and gestures play important roles in defining the music as such.

Pope Joan and Transfiguration offer listeners the pleasures of beautifully crafted sonic designs while at the same time challenging them to explore the complexities of our contemporary world. Listeners who engage the works through repeated hearings will discover multiple paths of sonic significance that lead inexorably to an enriched sense of the issues that situate us in the present.

Judy Lochhead is a professor of music history and theory at SUNY, State University of New York at Stony Brook.  


Pope Joan

Being Documents Found on the Body of Pope John VIII*

by Enid Shomer

I.   To Those Who Shall Discover Me

I have no story but the origins
of things: see how my quill
even as I write, suddenly lifts
in the air, remembering it was wing
before it was pen.
Now you shall distrust everyone.
Now even the building acquires
gender—arch and passageway
frankly coupled in daylight,
the rain coursing through the gutters
sexual, the garden obscene.
The mystery is deeper
than the Mass. Once I desired
the slur of the vernacular
in my ear, evening untrussed
and spilling like a cornucopia,
my hair stroked, breasts
unbound until urgency pressed
piety itself
into my flesh by slow accretion
like the making of lace
or the way time stitches the bones
of animals onto stone.
No. Nothing so cleanly chiseled.
Picture my grace, instead,
as the empty spot
in this altarpiece if tonight
the Virgin, perpetually fixed
in the painter’s blue
were to slip
the gold bars of her frame, away
from all that radiance.

In this gravel beneath my feet,

mountains. In this taper,

the hot breath and slick hide

of something once alive.

I have read in Luke where Adam
is called Son of God
and declare myself Daughter,
my child equally blessed.
Now let the censers swing.
Let the voices chime the name
of my successor.
II. After Love
Let me not be turned into a dove
like St. Gertrude. I do not wish
to fly away. Already my breasts
like two soft pigeons have nested
in the cup of his hands. Let me not
be bedecked
with a virgin’s beard or pluck
out my eyes like St. Lucy
because I am part of the beauty
of the world. Let my face bloom
in the cowl
like a crocus breaking through
the cold dark soil
of winter. Let the dust always
look this golden, let me stay
in this place,
commanding the hours like a breviary.
If he shuns my cell, let it
temper me, like the icy
stream at Meninengen where I
was baptized
and the swordsmiths plunged their new
III.      Hymn
I welcome this child who’ll come
into the world crying
his father’s sharp cry
of delight, his father
whose mouth closed first
over these nipples when love
led him all the way back
to himself, before language
or judgment. Afterwards, I studied
his body like the pattern books
of shells and rinceaux and strapwork
that illumine the holy words—
downy arms shone like two
bold flourishes in gold leaf,
rungs of sinew and muscle
sprang up between his ribs
with each deep breath—the ladder
to heaven is within us!

I pitied the monks in their cassocks
like stinking dromedaries,
their heads lowered
to the rough boards, an iron spoon

or buffalo-horn cup parting their lips.

Or at night in their cells,
undressing in a cloud of garlic
and lice, the black soutane by the bed
waiting to baffle the dawn.
I wanted to sing my lover’s
praises, I wanted to wear anklets

of bells and perform a prayer with my feet.

So many crucifixions around us
and we bejeweled with sweat.
We were the scribes who sang aloud
the verses we copied,
we made the elbows push out
the word holy. We pulled
the cords of the thighs
until bells pealed. If I spend
the rest of my days kneeling
on cold stone floors,
if I have to water dry staves
until they flower and bathe in ashes
and flog myself with the taws,
inside me there will still be this
IV. Elegy
O lift the tiny feet and hands, lift

the head carefully as a jug of wine, as blown

glass. Rinse the eyes clear. Part and comb

the fine hair, and in the desk drawer sift

among the clutter for the small gold

crucifix to be worn around his neck—a rose

of Sharon, its blossoms raging against the base

of the cross. Be wary of drafts and cold

linens. Remember when you walk, he’s not safely

tucked inside like a foot curled away from a fire,

but rides noisily upon your arm, precariously

upon your arm. Glide like a blade of light! The air,

the sunny air which polishes his cheeks and fills

his eyes with sky cannot catch him if he falls.

V.  Sestina of Visions


Tonight, after evening prayers, I saw the nuns

leaving church, spilling out like the black

beads of a broken rosary. Twilight had hung orange ribbons

in the trees and embers glowed in every pane

of glass, so that it seemed they passed through a chaste

fire, their breath steaming like a noiseless pealing

of bells. Hell must be the red of the peeled

slice of sun that smoldered at the feet. The nuns

say they’ve seen the color of heaven in the chased

gold chalice of the Mass. I imagine a perfect black-

ness where passions rest like eyes behind a dark pane. . . .

Starlings swooped above them, the invisible ribbons

that bind earth and sky in their beaks, the same ribbons

that slowly streak though rocks. Father, I love to peel

the appleskin unbroken and find, uncoiling like pain,

a bright red snake dangling from my knife. O nuns,

my sisters, do you love the fiery sky or must you blacken

the lilies with faith and lay over everything a chaste

grey pall? At midnight, a dream: a demon chased

me with a copper comb to flay my flesh to ribbons.

If I swallowed enough stones, relishing them like black-

berries, I grew light enough to fly. Pebbles pealed

from my hands and mouth, my belly swelled like a nun’s

apron dancing on the line. I had to take pains

not to float entirely away. . . . I awoke with pain

in my legs, an animal hobbled by an unchaste

burden. Can I escape my fate if my nun-

cio proclaims the birth miraculous—the rib bone

of the Pope fashioned into a child? I see blood pealing

onto cobblestones, my robes torn off, blackened

by the waters. As Venice seems to melt when its black

lagoons are glazed with sun, so when my pains

come, Rome shall burn. They say it feels like being peeled

from the inside out, sawed in half like the chaste

St. Julitta, whose blood flowed in sleek ribbons

that spelled the name of God. I have lost my soul. Tell the nuns

to beware: pain is the ribbon tied around pleasure. All births

are chaste. If heaven is repealed because I ruled not nuns

but men, I will celebrate the other, the Black Mass.


*Pope Joan, according to most sources, began her career as an ecclesiastic scribe. She joined a Benedictine monastery at the insistence of her first lover and later moved to Athens and Rome, where, still disguised as a man, she became cardinal and then, in 856, pope. She was stoned to death in 858, after giving birth during a papal procession.

“Pope Joan” ©1992 by Enid Shomer. Published in Poetry (Chicago: Modern Poetry Association) where it received the Eunice Tietjens Award, and in This Close to the Earth (Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 1992). Reprinted by permission.

by Djuna Barnes
The prophet digs with iron hands
Into the shifting desert sands.
The insect back to larva goes;
Struck to seed the climbing rose.
To Moses’ empty gorge, like smoke
Rush inward all the words he spoke.

The knife of Cain lifts from the thrust;

Abel rises from the dust.
Pilate cannot find his tongue;
Bare the tree where Judas hung.
Lucifer roars up from earth;
Down falls Christ into his death.
To Adam back the rib is plied,
A creature weeps within his side.
Eden’s reach is thick and green;
The forest blows, no beast is seen.
The unchained sun, in raging thirst,
Feeds the last day to the first.

©The Authors League Fund, as literary executor of the Estate of Djuna Barnes. Reprinted by permission.

Additional texts, excerpted from their sources, appearing in Transfiguration (in order of appearance):

in secret
be quiet say nothing
except the street be full of stars
white almost pink a
river in the white space
Che la diritta via era smarrita
By a knight of ghosts and shadows
I summoned am to tourney

Ten leagues beyond the wide world’s end,

Methinks it is no journey.
(Tom o’Bedlam’s song)

Do not be afraid, daughter, though people wonder why you weep so bitterly when you receive me, for, if they knew what grace I placed in you at that time, they should rather wonder that your heart does not burst asunder.

. . . you see for yourself, daughter, that when you have received me into your soul, you are in peace and quiet and sob no longer.

(Margery of Kempe)
green that writes its pleasure
troubled blue in dark green wall

sand earth song sand of the earth afternoon sand earth


The thing that hath been it is that which shall be,

and that which is done is that which shall be done:

and there is no new thing under the sun.

(The Bible: Ecclesiastes, Chapter 1:9)


Picasso excerpts © 2007 Estate of Pablo Picasso/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.


Anne LeBaron (born 1953)is widely recognized for her accomplishments in instrumental, electronic, and performance realms. Her compositions embrace an extraordinary array of subjects, often related to environmental issues or emanating from unorthodox investigations of literary subjects. As a Fulbright Scholar to Germany in 1980–81, LeBaron studied with György Ligeti, later completing her doctorate in composition at Columbia University. Her compositions have been performed and broadcast throughout the United States and elsewhere, including Stuttgart, London, Prague, Talloires, Hong Kong, Sydney, Berlin, Havana, Kyoto, Singapore, and Austria. Her latest opera, Crescent City, resurrects the legendary voodoo queen Marie Laveau, who invokes the gods from the voodoo pantheon to assist her in rescuing New Orleans from a looming, and final, catastrophe. Excerpts were performed on the New York City Opera VOX series in 2006. A workshop performance during the Dag in die Branding festival will be performed by the LOOS Ensemble in The Hague, featuring singers John Duykers, Kathryn Bostic, and Timur Bekbosunov. Additional recent premieres include Way of Light, a commission from the International Trumpet Guild for solo trumpet, electronics, and video; and Los Murmullos (incorporating passages from Juan Rulfo’s novel Pedro Paramo) for solo piano, commissioned and premiered by Ana Cervantes on the Festival Internacional Cervantino in Guanajuato, Mexico. LeBaron currently teaches composition and related subjects at the California Institute of the Arts. Two evolving fields that she has developed in her courses and in her own compositional workHyperOpera and Concert Theaterbring multiple artistic disciplines together, culminating in works fused with theater, music, video, art, movement, and improvisatory processes. She serves on the national and local boards of the American Composers Forum, and is active as a harpist specializing in improvisation in the United States and abroad.

Pope Joan

Kristin Norderval, acclaimed as a singer, improviser, and composer, has premiered numerous new works for voice and presented original compositions incorporating voice, electronics, and interactive technology at festivals and concert houses in Europe, the Far East, and the Americas. Her credits as a soloist include performances with the Philip Glass Ensemble, the San Francisco Symphony, the Oslo Sinfonietta, and the Netherlands Dance Theater. In 2004 and 2005 she was awarded a Norwegian Artists Stipend for creation of new interdisciplinary works for the stage, and in 2005 she received the Henry Cowell Award recognizing her innovative work as a composer.


Canadian violinist and improviser Eric km Clark may be heard most often performing in contemporary, experimental, and improvisational settings. Mr. Clark has collaborated in performance with many of the world’s cutting-edge artists and ensembles, including Han Bennink, Michael Gordon, Guy Maddin, and the California E.A.R. Unit.

Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick is an active soloist, chamber musician, and specialist in contemporary music. She has performed world and local premieres of solo and chamber works throughout the United States and Europe, including the Los Angeles Olympic Festival, the Computer Music Festival in Zurich, and the Ars Electronica Festival in Linz. She is a founding member of the California E.A.R. Unit.


Lorna Eder is a member of the piano faculty at California Institute of the Arts. She is an active performer of contemporary music and was a member of the California E.A.R. Unit for many years. An accomplished collaborative artist, she performs chamber music with the finest artists in the Los Angeles area.


Andrew McIntosh is pursuing a career of performing world premieres and other 20th- and 21st- century works on both viola and violin. Currently, he plays with the Formalist Quartet, Inauthentica, the pLAy ensemble, freelances in the Los Angeles area, and performs across the West Coast. He is also an active composer.


Mark Menzies has, after forming and leading his first chamber orchestra at the age of fifteen, gone on to found the Salomon Ensemble, a London-based group whose first CD was nominated for the European equivalent of the Grammy, and, most recently, Inauthentica, a Los Angeles–based collective. Renowned as a performer of contemporary music, his work as a violinist, violist, and conductor has won him personal recommendations from composers such as Brian Ferneyhough, Sofia Gubaidulina, Vinko Globokar, Roger Reynolds, and Anne LeBaron. Menzies is professor of violin, viola, chamber music, and conducting studies at the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles.


Dorothy Stone, a flutist, composer, and conductor, has been active in the vanguard of the international contemporary music scene for more than twenty years and has been consistently hailed for her virtuosic and persuasive interpretations. Ms. Stone is a founding member of the highly acclaimed California E.A.R. Unit, Ensemble in residence at the REDCAT theater in Disney Hall.


James Sullivan explores the versatility of the clarinet in an expansive scope of styles and repertoire. In addition to the soprano clarinet, he specializes in the bass, contra-alto, and contra-bass clarinets. He plays with the music ensembles Freshly Squeezed, Ensemble Green, and Brad Dutz Quartet and substitutes with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.


Percussionist Nicholas Terry, pursuing interests in contemporary music and improvisation, performs with Inauthentica, the California E.A.R. Unit, PARTCH, Eighteen2, the Lucerne Festival Percussion Group, and Sharp Three. He currently serves on the faculty of the Conservatory of Music at the Chapman University College of Performing Arts.


Oboist Keve Wilson is a graduate of the Eastman School of Music and 1997 winner of the International Concert Artists Guild Competition. As principal oboist of the Grammy-nominated group Kristjan Järvi’s Absolute Ensemble, Ms. Wilson has performed in Italy, Germany, Austria, England, Estonia, Finland, and much of the United States. In 1999, she made her Carnegie Hall debut with her quintet, Meliora Winds.


Enid Shomer’s poetry books include Stalking the Florida Panther, This Close to the Earth, Black Drum and Stars at Noon. Her fiction debut, Imaginary Men, won both the Iowa Prize and the LSU/Southern Review Prize. Her 2007 fiction book from Random House, Tourist Season, was selected for Barnes & Noble’s “Discover Great New Writers” series. The recipient of multiple grants from the NEA and the State of Florida, she is at work on a novel for Random House.


American soprano Lucy Shelton, winner of two Walter W. Naumburg Awards—for chamber music and solo singing—is an internationally recognized exponent of 20th- and 21st-century repertory. She has performed world premieres of more than a hundred works, many of which were composed for her. Notable among these are song cycles by Elliott Carter (Of Challenge and Of Love), Oliver Knussen (Whitman Settings), Louis Karchin and James Yannatos. Ms. Shelton has appeared with leading conductors such as Marin Alsop, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Reinbert De Leeuw, Alan Gilbert, Oliver Knussen, Kent Nagano, Simon Rattle, Helmuth Rilling, Mstislav Rostropovich, Esa Pekka Salonen, Leonard Slatkin, and Robert Spano with major orchestras worldwide. She joined the resident artist faculty of the Boston Symphony's Tanglewood Music Center in 1996.

June Han holds a Premier Prix for Harp and for Chamber Music from the Paris Conservatory, as well as degrees from Yale (MM, AD) and Juilliard (DMA.) Since 1998, she has been a member of several new-music groups: Ensemble Sospeso, Sequitur, Ensemble 21, and Columbia Sinfonietta. Ms. Han is on the faculties of Yale and Columbia Universities, and at The Juilliard School (Pre-College).


Flutist Camilla Hoitenga’s performances have ranged from concertos in London, Paris, Helsinki, and the Kremlin to interdisciplinary projects in Marseilles and the Arab Emirates to solo tours in Japan. Many composers have dedicated pieces to her, and her programs include both classic repertoire and world premieres. Born in Michigan, Camilla Hoitenga now lives in Cologne, Germany.


Composer/conductor Rand Steiger was born in New York City in 1957. His compositions have been performed and commissioned by many leading ensembles and soloists including Alan Feinberg, Daniel Druckman, the American Composers Orchestra, IRCAM, La Jolla Symphony, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, where he served as Composer Fellow from 1987 through 1989. He is also active as a conductor specializing in contemporary works. Steiger was a member of the faculty of California Institute of the Arts from 1982 through 1987, and is currently Chair of the Music Department at the University of California, San Diego.


William Trigg lives in Trenton, New Jersey, and performs solo, chamber, and orchestral music, specializing in music of the past fifty years. He composes extensively for percussion and for modern dance, and has appeared on numerous recordings of chamber music for percussion. He has premiered more than a hundred solo and chamber works for percussion. He enjoys collaborating with Anne LeBaron, and has appeared on two of her previous recordings.


Dish. Included on Urban Diva. Dora Ohrenstein, soprano. New World/Composers Recordings NWCR 654.

The Musical Railism of Anne LeBaron. New Music Consort, Theater Chamber Players of Kennedy Center; Anne LeBaron, Leon Fleisher, Claire Heldrich, conductors. Mode Records 42.

Rana, Ritual & Revelations. New Music Consort, Linda Bouchard, Claire Heldrich, Anne LeBaron, conductors; Theater Chamber Players of Kennedy Center, Anne LeBaron, conductor. Mode Records 30.

Sacred Theory of the Earth. Atlanta Chamber Players, David Rosenboom, conductor; Paula Peace, piano; Christopher Pulgram, violin; Amy Porter, flute; Anne LeBaron, harp. New World/Composers Recordings NWCR 865.

Southern Ephemera. Included on Dance of the Seven Veils. New Band. Music & Arts 4931.


Ammer, Christine, ed. Unsung: A History of Women in American Music, 2nd. Edition. New York: Amadeus Press, 2000.

Burns, Kristine, ed. Women and Music in America since 1900. Westport, CT: The Oryx Press, 2000.

Edwards, J. Michele. “Anne LeBaron,” The New Grove Dictionary of Music Online, ed. L. Macy (Accessed February 7, 2003). <

———. “North America since 1920,” Women and Music: A History, ed. K. Pendle. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1991.

Gagne, Cole. Soundpieces 2: Interview with American Composers. Metuchen, NJ: Scarecrow Press, 1993.

LeBaron, Anne. “Reflections of Surrealism in Postmodern Musics,” Postmodern Music/Postmodern Thought, eds. Judy Lochhead and Joseph Auner. New York: Routledge, 2002.

———. “Darmstadt 1980,” co-authored with Denys Bouliane, Perspectives of New Music 19/1–2, 1980–81.

Lochhead, Judy. “Composer Portrait: Anne LeBaron,” International Alliance for Women in Music, vol. 9, no. 1, 2003: 1–6. 


Production credits for Transfiguration

Produced and engineered by Judith Sherman

Engineering and editing assistant: Jeanne Velonis

Recorded on May 13, 2006, in the Recital Hall of the Performing Arts Center, SUNY Purchase, Purchase, New York.

Production credits for Pope Joan

Producer: Dorothy Stone
Production assistant: Sage Lewis
Engineer: Clay Chaplin
Engineer assistant: John Baffa

Recorded on May 22 and 23, 2007, in the Roy O. Disney Concert Hall, California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California.


Digital mastering: Paul Zinman, SoundByte Productions, Inc., NYC

Cover design: Bob Defrin Design, Inc., NYC


This recording is supported in part through Subito, the quick-advancement grant program of the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter of the American Composers Forum, in partnership with the American Composers Forum of Los Angeles. Special thanks to David Rosenboom and the CalArts School of Music, and to the Getty Research Institute.

This recording was made possible by grants from The Aaron Copland Fund for Music and the Francis Goelet Charitable Lead Trust.


Herman E. Krawitz, President; Lisa Kahlden, Director of Information Technology; Paul M. Tai, Director of Artists and Repertory; Mojisola Oké, Bookkeeper; Anthony DiGregorio, Production Associate.



Richard Aspinwall; Milton Babbitt; Jean Bowen; Thomas Teige Carroll; Emanuel Gerard; David Hamilton; Rita Hauser; Lisa Kahlden; Herman E. Krawitz; Fred Lerdahl; Robert Marx; Arthur Moorhead; Elizabeth Ostrow; Cynthia Parker; Larry Polansky; Don Roberts; Marilyn Shapiro; Patrick Smith; Paul M. Tai; Blair Weille.


Francis Goelet (1926–1998), Chairman


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LINER NOTES - Anthology of Recorded Music, Inc.


[1] Donna Haraway, “Situated Knowledge,” Simian, Cyborgs and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, 1981: 183–201.

[2] More information about Harry Partch’s instrumental inventions can be obtained at

[3] A sestina is a poetic form consisting of six six-line stanzas followed by a tercet. The six final words of each line of each stanza occur as the final words in the other stanzas but in a different ordering.


[4] Barnes (1892–1982) was an American writer who went to live in France in the 1920s, returning eventually to the United States in the late-thirties. She is best known for her novel Nightwood, which achieved cult status in the early years of the twentieth century.