John Eaton's 80th birthday celebration in music


Oct 23 2015 - 8:30pm
Join John Eaton, friends, and Pocket Opera Players, for a celebration of music by John Eaton, and the composer's 80th birthday year.

This retrospective will include works for soloists and ensemble: "Mass II" and "El Divino Narciso" as well as songs for voice and piano. Carmen Helena-Tellez will be the music director.


FRI. OCT. 23, 2015

8:30 PM

Purchase Tickets Here

The program will begin with one of the composer’s first compositions, “Death” – a song on poetry of William Carlos Williams from 1946, performed by the extraordinary soprano, Sharon Harms.  Ms. Harms will also perform excerpts from the composer’s setting of Milton’s Lycidas, composed just last year, exploring micro-intervals and the resonances of the piano.

El divino Narciso (1998) is a dramatic cantata with texts from an allegorical play by the 17th century Mexican poet, Sor Juana Inez de la Cruz.

Mass II (1997) is a microtonal exploration of the words from the Latin Mass, expressed in different textures of voices, with clarinet, percussion, and electronic sound processing.

Together with Ms. Harms, the composer John Eaton and conductor Carmen-Helena Tellez have assembled a magnificent ensemble of world-class solo performers, including cellist Danile Barrett, clarinetist David Keberle, flutist Roberta Michel, pianist Christopher Oldfather, and vocalists Phillip Cheah, Bridget Parker, Stephen Ng, and Phoebe Haines, among others.

The concert celebration is sponsored by Pocket Opera Players, with support from the New York Composers Circle, American Composers Alliance, and many generous donors.

John Eaton, Professor Emeritus, University of Chicago, is a composer with special interest in opera. Called "the most interesting opera composer writing in America today" by Andrew Porter in the London Financial Times, Eaton has penned over fifteen operas and garnered international acclaim as a composer and performer of electronic and microtonal music. Notable works include his television opera, Myshkin; and the operas The Cry of Clytaemnestra and The Tempest. In 1993 he formed the Pocket Opera Players, which has presented Pinocchio, Peer Gynt, Let's Get This Show on the Road, Don Quixote, Golk, Traveling with Gulliver, Antigone, Youth, Salome's Flea Circus, and "inasmuch..." Eaton is the recipient of several prestigious awards, including a MacArthur Foundation "genius" award in 1990. His music was chosen to represent the United States at the International Rostrum of Composers a quarter-century ago; since then, he has received a citation and award from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, three Prix de Rome Grants, two Guggenheim Fellowships, and commissions from the Fromm and Koussevitsky Foundations and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Eaton was Composer in Residence at the American Academy in Rome and taught at Indiana University Bloomington for twenty years and the University of Chicago for ten.