THE LIVING COMPOSERS PROJECT  

John Eaton

(b. 30 March 1935, Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania).

American composer of mostly stage, orchestral, chamber, and vocal works that have been performed throughout the world.

Prof. Eaton studied composition with Milton Babbitt, Edward T. Cone, Earl Kim, and Roger Sessions at Princeton University from 1953–59, where he earned his BA and MFA and where he also studied musicology with Arthur Mendel and Oliver Strunk and piano with Erich Itor Kahn, Frank Sheridan, Eduard Steuermann, and Louise Strunsky.

Among his honours are ten annual awards from ASCAP (1957–66), the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship (1958), three Prix de Rome (1959–61), the Guggenheim Fellowship (1962, 1965), 32 annual awards from BMI (1967–98), and the George F. Peabody Award and Ohio State Award (1973, both for Myshkin). He has also received the Fulbright Travel Grant (1987), the National Music Theater Award (1988), the MacArthur Fellowship (1990), a grant from the Aaron Copland Foundation (1995), and numerous grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition, he served residencies at the American Academy in Rome (1974) and at the Rockefeller Foundation Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Italy (1993).

He is also active in other positions. He performed as a jazz pianist from 1953–71 and as a pianist and synthesist in contemporary music from 1960–70, participating in premières by Larry Austin, Leslie Bassett, Niccolò Castiglioni, Joel Chadabe, Donald Martino, Robert Moevs, William O. Smith, and other composers. He has written numerous articles on new music, as well as the book Involvement with Music: New Music since 1950 (1976).

He gave concerts and lectures for the United States Information Agency throughout the Americas from 1959–77. He taught as Professor of Music at Indiana University in Bloomington from 1970–91, where he also served as artistic director of the Center for Electronic and Computer Music. He taught as the Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Princeton University in 1981. He taught as a visiting professor at the University of Chicago in 1990–91 and as Professor of Music there from 1991–2001, now emeritus. He has given lectures in various countries, including in China and South Korea in 2000.

His primary publisher is G. Schirmer Inc., but Schott Music and Shawnee Press, Inc. are the publishers of some works. All of his scores have been housed at East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania since 2003.

CONTACT INFORMATION

E-mail address: johneaton1@earthlink.net

COMPLETE LIST OF WORKS

STAGE:

Ma Barker (opera in 2 acts, libretto by Arthur Gold), lyric soprano, dramatic mezzo-soprano, tenor, small orchestra, 1957–58

Herakles (opera in 3 acts, libretto by Michael Fried, after Sophocles, Lucius Annæus Seneca), soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenore spinto, Heldentenor, baritone, 2 mixed choruses, large orchestra, 1961–64

Myshkin (opera in 1 act, libretto by Patrick Creagh, after Fyodor Dostoyevsky), coloratura soprano, soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass, 2 synthesizers/fixed media, orchestra, 1966–71 (one section may be performed separately as a concert work: Prelude to 'Myshkin')

The Three Graces (theatre piece, text by David Anderson), 2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, actor, synthesizers (2 players), 1972

The Lion and Androcles (opera for children in 1 act, libretto by Eugene Walter, David Anderson, after Aulus Gellius), children's voices, 2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, 2 pianos (tuned a quarter-tone apart), synthesizers (1 or more players), drum kit ad libitum, 1973 (also version for children's voices, 2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass, orchestra, 1973)

Danton and Robespierre (opera in 3 acts, libretto by Patrick Creagh), coloratura soprano, lyric soprano, mezzo-soprano, lyric tenor, tenor, Heldentenor, baritone, bass, 18 mixed voices, mixed chorus, male chorus, on-stage ensemble (brass, snare drum/tenor drum), large orchestra, 1978

The Cry of Clytaemnestra (opera in 1 act, libretto by Patrick Creagh, after Æschylus), coloratura soprano, soprano spinto/dramatic soprano, mezzo-soprano, lyric tenor, tenore spinto, bass-baritone, off-stage Stierhorn, on-stage tenor drum, small orchestra (20 players), fixed media, live electronics, 1979–80

The Tempest (opera in 3 acts, libretto by Andrew Porter, after William Shakespeare), lyric soprano, coloratura mezzo-soprano, female jazz voice, countertenor, 3 tenors, 2 baritones, bass-baritone, bass, mixed chorus, on-stage ensemble of Renaissance instruments (recorders/flutes [1 player], shawm/oboe, lute/harpsichord), on-stage jazz ensemble (alto saxophone, electric guitar, bass guitar, drum kit), large orchestra, 1983–85

The Reverend Jim Jones (opera in 3 acts, libretto by James Reston, Jr.), soprano, female gospel voice, tenor, baritone, 12 children's voices, 16 mixed voices, mixed chorus, on-stage gospel piano, on-stage jazz ensemble (alto saxophone, electric guitar, double bass [+ bass guitar], drum kit), large orchestra, 1988

Peer Gynt (incidental music, play by Henrik Ibsen), flute (+ piccolo, alto flute, bass flute), clarinet (+ bass clarinet), violin, cello, piano, percussion (with conductor ad libitum), theatrical set ad libitum, live electronics, 1990

Let's Get This Show on the Road: an Alternative View of 'Genesis' (opera in 1 act, libretto by Eugene Walter), soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, 1 or more flutes, 1 or more clarinets, violin, cello, piano, Eaton–Moog Multiple-Touch-Sensitive Keyboard, percussion, 1993

Salome's Flea Circus (theatre piece), clarinet, piano, 1994

Don Quixote (theatre piece, text by Miguel de Cervantes), flute (+ piccolo, alto flute, bass flute), clarinet (+ bass clarinet), violin, cello, piano (+ synthesizer), percussion (with conductor ad libitum), theatrical set ad libitum, lights ad libitum, live electronics ad libitum, 1994

Golk (opera in 1 act, libretto by Richard G. Stern), soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, 1 or more flutes, 1 or more clarinets, violin, cello, piano, synthesizer, percussion, theatrical set ad libitum, lights ad libitum, live electronics ad libitum, 1995

Travelling with Gulliver (theatre piece, text by Estela Eaton, after Jonathan Swift), flute (+ piccolo, alto flute, bass flute), clarinet (+ bass clarinet), violin, cello, piano (+ synthesizer), percussion (with conductor), theatrical set ad libitum, lights ad libitum, live electronics ad libitum, 1997

El Divino Narciso (cantata, text by Nelda Nelson, after Juana Inés de la Cruz), coloratura soprano, mezzo-soprano, lyric tenor, dance troupe, mixed chorus, flute (+ piccolo, alto flute, bass flute), cello, 2 percussion (with conductor ad libitum), live electronics ad libitum, 1998 (stage version of vocal work)

Antigone (opera in 1 act, libretto by Nicholas Rudall, after Sophocles), soprano, mezzo-soprano, female jazz voice, tenor, baritone, 1 or more flutes, 1 or more clarinets, violin, cello, piano, percussion, live electronics, 1999

Youth (dramatic cantata–opera, libretto by Estela Eaton), soprano, mezzo-soprano, female jazz voice, tenor, baritone, 1 or more flutes, 1 or more clarinets, violin, cello, piano, percussion, live electronics, 2000

'...inasmuch' (opera in 1 act, libretto by Estela Eaton, after Eugene Walter), 3 coloratura sopranos, mezzo-soprano, female jazz voice, tenor, baritone, 1 or more flutes, 1 or more clarinets, violin, cello, piano, Eaton–Moog Multiple-Touch-Sensitive Keyboard, percussion, live electronics, 2002

King Lear (opera in 3 acts, libretto by Laura Bates, after William Shakespeare), 2003–04

ORCHESTRAL:

Tertullian Overture, 1958

Adagio and Allegro, flute, oboe, string orchestra, 1960

Concert Piece, synthesizers (1 player), large orchestra (minimum 89 players), 1968

Transformations, synthesizers (1 player), symphonic band, 1975

Symphony No. 2, large orchestra, 1981

Remembering Rome (symphony), 22 or more strings, 1986

Threnody for Paisan, 2003

CHAMBER MUSIC:

String Quartet No. 1, 1958

Sonata, trumpet, piano, 1959

Encore Piece, flute, piano, 1959

Three Epigrams, clarinet, piano, 1960

Concert Piece No. 1, clarinet, piano, 1960

Concert Music for Solo Clarinet, 1961

Theme and Variations, flute, 1964

Prelude to 'Myshkin', synthesizer, 1966 (section of Myshkin; may be performed separately as a concert work)

Concert Piece No. 2, synthesizer, 1966

Soliloquy, synthesizer, 1967

Vibrations, flute, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 1967

Five Thoughts for Sunny, trumpet, 1967

Duet, synthesizers (1 player), 1968

Study for Viola and Two Tape Recorders, viola, fixed media, 1970

Sonority Movement: In the Cave of the Sybil, flute, 9/12 harps, 1971

Piano Trio: In Memoriam Mario Cristini, violin, cello, piano, 1971

Variants, double bass, 1975

Burlesca, tuba, piano, 1981

Duo for Julian and Estela, 1 or more violins, cello, 1984

Big Aerobics, violin, 1985

A Little Love Song, flute, piano, 1987

String Quartet No. 2, 1987

Four Miniatures, tenor saxophone, 1987

Fantasy Romance, cello, piano, 1989

Two Plaudits for Ralph (Shapey), flute, oboe, cello, 1991

Genesis..., Eaton–Moog Multiple-Touch-Sensitive Keyboard, 1992

Golk Sonatina, oboe, piano, 1995

Three Designs for Solo Clarinet, 1996

Footnotes, 2 bass clarinets, 2000

String Quartet No. 3, 2003

CHORAL:

Duo (text from the Bible), soprano, mixed chorus, piano, 1977

Mass, soprano, 5 mixed voices, clarinet, piano, 2 percussion, live electronics, 1997 (version of vocal work)

VOCAL:

Song Cycle on Holy Sonnets of John Donne, female voice, large orchestra, 1956

Songs for R. P. B. (texts by Hart Crane, R. P. Blackmur), voice, piano (2 players), synthesizer, 1964

Thoughts on Rilke, soprano, synthesizers (2 players), sound technician (with reverberation plate), 1966

Blind Man's Cry (text by Tristan Corbière [translated by Patrick Creagh]), soprano, synthesizers (1 player), 1968

Mass, soprano, clarinet, synthesizers (4 players), live electronics, 1970 (also version for soprano, 5 mixed voices, clarinet, piano, 2 percussion, live electronics)

Ajax (text by Sophocles [translated by John Moore]), baritone, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, 3 harps (tuned a sixth-tone apart), 4 violins, 2 violas, 2 cellos, double bass, 2 pianos (tuned a quarter-tone apart), 1972

Guillén Songs (text by Jorge Guillén), mezzo-soprano, piano, 1974

Oro (text by Matthias Bomhard), voice, synthesizers (1 player), 1974

Land of Lampedusa (text by Marilyn Perry), soprano, mezzo-soprano, piano, synthesizers (1 player), 1974

Lullaby for Estela (text by Patrick Creagh), voice, piano/synthesizer, 1975

Emily Dickinson Song (text by Emily Dickinson), voice, piano, 1975

A Greek Vision (text by Angelos Sikelianos [translated by Edmund Keeley]), soprano, flute, 1981

Ars Poetica (song-cycle, text by William Butler Yeats), mezzo-soprano, flute, harp, cello (with conductor ad libitum), 1986

Songs of Despair (song-cycle, text by James Joyce), mezzo-soprano, small orchestra (17 players), 1987

El Divino Narciso (cantata, text by Nelda Nelson, after Juana Inés de la Cruz), coloratura soprano, mezzo-soprano, lyric tenor, flute (+ piccolo, alto flute, bass flute), cello, 2 percussion (with conductor ad libitum), live electronics ad libitum, 1989 (also version as a stage work)

Overture for the Dedication of a House (texts by Margarita Peña, Federico Campbell, Hernán Lavín Cerda, Héctor Valdés), boy soprano, mezzo-soprano, viola, synthesizer, 1990

A Packet for Emile and Bill (text by Emile Snyder), soprano/mezzo-soprano, clarinet, piano/live electronics, 1991

Notes on Moonlight (song-cycle, texts by Federico García Lorca, Wallace Stevens, Leopoldo Lugones, Charles Baudelaire, William Butler Yeats), soprano, mezzo-soprano, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, harp, 2 violins, viola, cello, piano, percussion, 1991

Trumpet Voluntary (text by Geoffrey Chaucer), dramatic soprano, French horn, 2 trumpets, trombone, tuba, 1991

Songs of Desperation and Comfort (texts by John Donne, Patrick Creagh, William Shakespeare, Tristan Corbière), mezzo-soprano, orchestra, 1993

Lettere (text by Michele Ranchetti), mezzo-soprano, flute, harp, string quartet, 1994

Ad Luciam Beatricem (text by Hugo Henricus Paoli), mezzo-soprano, clarinet, 1995

Sor Juana Songs (text by Juana Inés de la Cruz), mezzo-soprano, piano, 1998

Tocotín (text by Juana Inés de la Cruz), mezzo-soprano, guitar, 1998

Sor Juana's Dreams, mezzo-soprano, guitar, piano, live electronics, 1999

Elegy for Jane (text by Theodore Roethke), mezzo-soprano, harp, guitar, mandolin, 1999

Dirge without Music (text by Edna St. Vincent Millay), mezzo-soprano, piano, 2002

Vespers, 2 sopranos, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone, bass, flute (+ piccolo, alto flute, bass flute), clarinet (+ bass clarinet), bassoon, viola, piano, 2 percussion, live electronics, 2002

PIANO:

Variations, 1957

Microtonal Fantasy, 2 pianos (tuned a quarter-tone apart) (1 player), 1965

DISCOGRAPHY

Mass (original version); Blind Man's Cry; Concert Music for Solo Clarinet. (Composers Recordings, Inc.: CRI SD-296, 1971) (LP)

Danton and Robespierre. (Composers Recordings, Inc.: CRI 421, 1980) (LP)

Aria and Scena from The Cry of Clytaemnestra; Ajax; Fantasy Romance; Sonority Movement: In the Cave of the Sybil; A Greek Vision; Ars Poetica. (Indiana University Press, 1992)

Songs of Desperation and Comfort. (Albany Records: TROY 298, 1998)

Mass (second version). Carmen Helena Téllez/Aguavá New Music Studio (Aguavá New Music Studio: 2001-1, 2001)