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A Season of Concerts with Anne LeBaron Kicks Off With UCLA Retrospective

Anne LeBaron smiling while playing harp
Anne LeBaron | Courtesy of the artist

Anne LeBaron, internationally acclaimed composer and harpist, 1996 Herb Alpert Award in the Arts in Music recipient, and former faculty in The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, has maintained a full schedule since her recent retirement. Preceding a string of performances in the next several months is Anne LeBaron: Portrait Concert of a Trailblazing Composer, a retrospective concert taking place at UCLA’s Lani Hall this Wednesday, Feb. 7.

Encapsulating more than 40 years of “pioneering music,” the event is a celebration of LeBaron’s distinguished career, with alum Miller Wrenn (Music MFA 17) and former School of Music faculty Timur Bekbosunov (Music MFA 08) among the performers. The program includes world premieres of two of LeBaron’s works: Two Kazakh Songs, composed for Bekbosunov, and excerpts from The Heroine with a Thousand Faces. The latter offers a preview of LeBaron’s ongoing project of the same name, for which she creates short abstract portraits composed on various instruments or ensembles to commemorate 1,000 women who have “contributed to the betterment of our world.”

The ambitious endeavor requires LeBaron to create five portraits per week for 50 weeks annually, ultimately requiring four years to complete. Eight of the portraits will be presented at the retrospective concert, which will be followed by a discussion between the artists and audience, as well as a reception.

Per The Herb Alpert School of Music at UCLA, which is hosting the event, the event marks LeBaron’s “illustrious tenure at CalArts.” Find the full concert program at UCLA.

“In reflecting on my teaching career as a professor at CalArts for 22 years (and before that, the University of Pittsburgh), I’m simultaneously sad for the loss of interaction with students in the coming years, and elated for the time I’ll now have to pursue a diverse range of projects,” said LeBaron. “There must be a word in some language that would express such a feeling … the best we have in English is ‘bittersweet.’”

Since stepping down from teaching at the Institute, LeBaron continues composing, performing, and guest lecturing. She was the featured composer and performer at the opening reception of the exhibition Electrifying Music: The Untold Story of Remi Gassman at UC Irvine’s Langson Library. LeBaron was also recently interviewed for the second edition of John Palmer’s Conversations, a newly published book of conversations with musicians conducted over the course of more than three decades. 

More events featuring LeBaron’s work on the horizon:

  • March 3: Trio performance with LeBaron (harp), Garth Powell (drums and percussion), and Elliott Kallen (shakuhachi) at Open Gate Theater as part of its Sunday Evening Series.
  • May 5: LeBaron’s compositions Sucktion and Dish to be performed at Open Gate Theater as part of its Sunday Evening Series.
  • June 14-15: PARTCH Ensemble’s LSD Ride at REDCAT features a staged concert version of scenes from LSD – Huxley’s Last Trip, LeBaron’s opera.
  • July 6: LeBaron performs with The Present Quartet at the Santa Monica Public Library as part of its Soundwaves Concert Series.
  • August: Her one-act jazz work Blue Calls Set You Free, derived from her first opera The E. & O. Line, is programmed for Muffled Voices Festival, an international festival of contemporary opera by women composers taking place at venues throughout Russia (date TBD).
Picture of Taya Zoormandan

Taya Zoormandan

As digital content and social media producer, Taya enjoys lifting up the stories and accomplishments of CalArts' students, alums, and faculty. She fancies herself a visual artist but is really more of an overzealous collector of art supplies.

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A Season of Concerts with Anne LeBaron Kicks Off With UCLA Retrospective