Lesbian American Composers

CRI salutes the eleven composers on this disc for their music and all that goes into it. As they say for themselves in their notes which follow, their gender and sexuality are but parts of their whole persons. But we also salute their bravery in standing as proud lesbians in a profession and in a society where just being a woman can sometimes still be a detriment.
This disc is the third volume in CRI's series of music by fine composers who "just happen to be gay." The first volume, "Gay American Composers," released in 1996, was never conceived to be all an all-male affair. But when we began discussing the project with prospective artists, there were very few woman interested in or available to be a part of the project. We feared that if only one or two women had been included, they would have seemed like red herrings if not tokens. Nevertheless, we announced our intention then to release a full disc of lesbian composers. Now two years later — and after far more rejections than we received from men — the project has become a reality.
Again with this new collection, we present representative works from each composer and we let the listener decide if there is a gay or lesbian sensibility that unites them. The artists range in age from their 30s to the 70s and have backgrounds in mainstream composition and teaching, as well as in performance art and ritual, film scoring and Broadway. And again we allow each of them to make their own statements on the topic of sexuality and music.
Like all first-rate American artists, these lesbian composers share a boldness of vision and a determination to bring it to reality. We hope that this introduction to their work will draw you further into the ever new and changing world of American classical music.
Joseph R. Dalton
Executive Director
Composers Recordings, Inc

PAULINE OLIVEROS (b. 1932) is a composer and accordionist, widely regarded leader in electronic music, new performance techniques, and interactive sound environments. She has composed in a variety of mediums and recorded widely as a soloist and with her Deep Listening Band. Since the early 1980s, she has been concerned with group improvisation, graphic scores and guided meditation. Through the Pauline Oliveros Foundation, she leads annual retreats in training and experiencing her system of Deep Listening. One of Oliveros' most recent major works is Njinga, a theatrical collaboration with her companion, the author, playwright and director Ione, which was based on the life of the African warrior queen and has been performed throughout Europe and North American. Her recordings on CRI include Bye, Bye Butterfly from the collection "Women in Electronic Music - 1977" (CD 728) and "Portrait of the Quintet of the Americas" (CD 722).

NURIT TILLES (b. 1952) has been praised by the Village Voice as "one of new music's most valuable pianists" and has enjoyed a long association with many distinguished composers. She has performed and recorded with Steve Reich since 1974 and with Meredith Monk since 1984. She and Edmund Niemann are the duo-pianists known as Double Edge, considered by the Village Voice to be "one of the century's best piano duos." Since their 1987 Town Hall debut they have toured extensively with programs ranging from Mozart, Brahams, Stravinsky and Messiaen to new pieces written for them by John Cage, "Blue" Gene Tyranny, David Lang, Kevin Volans, David Borden and many others. Double Edge recordings on CRI include a collection of American works entitled "U.S. Choice" (CD 637), and "Cage: Music for Two Pianos" (CD 732). "Ragtime Here and Now," Tilles' solo recoirdng of modern rags by Donald Ashwander, J.T. Thomas, James Tenney, Paul Epstein and others, was produced by Rudi Blesh in 1983. In recent years she has given performances of Ives' rarely-heard Piano Sonata No. 1; recorded with jazz pianist Fred Hersch; and written a second piece, The Kitchen Table.

LINDA MONTANO (b. 1942) Self Portrait:
Although trained in sculpture and having graduated from the University of Wisconsin with an MFA in that field, I have been exploring performance for the past 25 years, creating 50 different major works. Themes have been: Duration, Transformation, Humor, Attention States, Hypnosis, Eating Disorders, Death, and Obliterating Distinctions Between Art and Life.
My writings can be found in 30 publications and I have written five books. I have been written about in over 20 journals and 17 art-related books. I have had over 125 reviews of my work.
On July 4, 1984, I finished a one year performance with Tehching Hsieh. We were tied at the waist with an 8 foot rope for a year, and never touched.
On December 8, 1984, I began 7 Years of Living Art (1984-1991), a multi-layered personal experiment in attention, which lasted for 7 years. I wore only one-color clothes; listened to one note 7 hours a day; stayed in a colored space 3 hours a day; spoke in a different accent each year (except with immediate family); and for 7 years I read palms and gave Art/Life Counseling, once a month, in a 7 year installation at the New Museum, as an extension and testing of my inner work.
On December 8, 1991, I began Another 7 Years of Living Art (1991-1998). Four times a year for 7 years, I will meet physically or astrally, at the Chagall Chapel (United Nations, New York, NY) to sit still. At the Art/Life Institute and Ashram, Kingston, I will continue disciplines (wearing one-color clothes each year, etc.) to bring new attention and appreciation to the energy centers.
I have taught performance/video and sculpture on the graduate level at almost 20 different colleges and universities including UT in Austin where I live.

LORI FREEDMAN (b. 1958) is internationally recognized by audiences in the dance, theatre, contemporary, improvised and electroacoustic music communities. In her native Canada, she is a frequent performer with the Vancouver New Music Ensemble, Banff Music Theatre Productions, and the multi-discipline ensemble Thira. She has appeared as guest soloist with many symphony orchestras including Vancouver, CBC, Winnipeg, and Manitoba Chamber. Extensively involved with the creation of new work, more than thirty Canadian composers have written bass clarinet solos for her, and she herself writes music for film, video, theatre and dance. MARILYN LERNER (b. 1957) is a Montreal-born jazz pianist/composer who as an improvisor speaks from an amalgam of influences includes the lyrical impresionism of Bill Evans, the eloquent simplicity of Horace Silver, the brash risk taking of Bud Powell, the angular individuality of Thelonius Monk, all distilled through her early classical training and recent forays into New Music. As a composer, her complex multi-layered pieces combine a unique jazz conception with ideas derived from Bartok, Stravinsky and Messiaen. As the jazz-influenced composer/improvisation duo Queen Mab, Freedman and Lerner have worked together since 1991 and released their debut CD Barbie's Other Shoe on the 9 Winds label in 1997.

PAULA M. KIMPER (b. 1956) has composed music for theater, film and public television. A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, her CD release "Flight of the Harmonic Messenger," a one hour meditation on Sacred Sites of the Earth, has been played widely on New Age radio programs worldwide. Patience & Sarah, to a libretto by Wende Persons, is Kimper's first opera. The world premiere of the American Opera Projects production is slated for Lincoln Center Festival in July 1998. Kimper lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn with her lover, mezzo-soprano Elaine Valby, who sings the role of Sarah.

EVE BEGLARIAN (b. 1958) is a composer, performer and audio producer whose work has been performed internationally in mainstream concert halls and theaters as well as in alternative clubs and lofts. She has written a large body of chamber music and also worked extensively with dancers and choreographers including Robert La Fosse and the New York City Ballet, Monica LÈvy and the Washington Ballet as well as Victoria Marks, Ann Carlson, Cydney Wilkes, and Hilary Easton. Her experience in music theater includes collaborations with Shi-Zheng Chen for the China National Beijing Opera Theater and Terry O'Reilly with Mabou Mines. Her performing duo, twisted tutu, with keyboard player Kathleen SupovÈ, blends high technology with theater. The duo has recorded music by Beglarian and Randall Woolf for CRI's Emergency Music series. Her first solo CD, "Overstepping" was just released by O.O. Discs. In addition to her composing and performing work, Beglarian directs and produces audiobooks of authors including Stephen King and Anne Rice for Random House and Viking Penguin.

JENNIFER HIGDON (b. 1962) was born in Brooklyn, New York, but grew up in the mountains of East Tennessee. She now lives in Philadelphia with her partner, Cheryl Lawson, and is on the faculty of The Curtis Institute of Music. She has received numerous awards, including a Guggenheim Fellowship and two awards from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. Her orchestral work, Shine, was chosen as Best New Classical Piece of 1996 by USA Today. She is most active as a composer, but continues to perform on flute and conduct. She appears as a conductor on CRI's recording of music by Robert Maggio (CD 720) and she plays flute in a CD of her chamber works on the I Virtuosi label.

ANNEA LOCKWOOD (b. 1939) was born in New Zealand. After studies and early work in England and Europe, she moved to the United States in 1973. Since 1985, she has been a faculty member at Vassar College teaching composition, theory and a course on women in music. In the last decade Lockwood has concentrated on vocal and instrumental music, but she is best known for herlarge-scale mixed-media performance works and installations. In A Sound Map of the Hudson River (installation, 1982) she traces the flow of the river through recordings made at 15 different locations (available on CD from Lovely Music). Thousand Year Dreaming (1991), scored for didjeridus, conch shells, winds, brass and percussion, incorporates projections of ancient cave drawings (available on CD from O.O. discs). CRI's collection "Women in Electronic Music - 1978" (CD 728) includes an excerpt of World Rhythms (1978) a ten-channel performance work featuring geysers, pulsars and other natural phenomena.

MADELYN BYRNE (b. 1963) is currently at work on a doctoral dissertation at the City University of New York Graduate School and University Center. She also teaches at Hunter College and at New York City Technical College. Her music has been performed in the United States and Hong Kong and been broadcast in Germany, Canada, and the U.S. Her electronic piece Winter was a co-winner of the 1997 Friends and Enemies of New Music Composition Competition. Byrne lives in Park Slope, Brooklyn and in Long Island with her partner Linda Fisher and their son Jason.

RUTH ANDERSON (b. 1928) studied flute with John Wummer and Jean-Pierre Rampal and composition with Darius Milhaud and Nadia Boulanger. She supported herself during her twenties as a flutist, playing for several seasons with the Totenberg Instrumental Ensemble and as principal flutist for one season with the Boston Pops, and during her thirties as an orchestrator, mainly at NBC-TV as well as for the LIncoln Center Theater revivals of "Annie Get Your Gun" and "Showboat." In 1966 she joined the faculty of Hunter College in Manhattan where she was the founding director of the Electronic Music Studio and taught composition and theory until retiring in 1989. Her composition Points is available on CRI's collection "Women in Electronic Music - 1978" (CD 728) and I come out of your sleep is available on the XI label (CD 118).