Lori Laitman

Laitman's oeuvre of over 300 art songs spans the breadth of American literature, from Emily Dickinson to contemporary poets. Her songs are widely performed, and she has received countless commissions to write vocal music, especially song cycles, for which she is particularly talented.

Photo: Lori Laitman, photograph by Christian Steiner, www.artsongs.com

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    About

    Lori Laitman has composed multiple operas and choral works, and hundreds of songs setting texts by classical and contemporary poets, including those who perished in the Holocaust. Her music is widely performed throughout the world and has generated substantial critical acclaim. The Journal of Singing wrote “It is difficult to think of anyone before the public today who equals her exceptional gifts for embracing a poetic text and giving it new and deeper life through music.”

    In May 2016, Opera Colorado presented the World Premiere of Laitman’s opera The Scarlet Letter, to a libretto by David Mason. Laitman and Mason also collaborated on Vedem, a Holocaust-themed oratorio commissioned and premiered by Music of Remembrance, with a new production by Indianapolis Opera now scheduled for the Spring of 2021 (delayed due to the Coronavirus pandemic).

    The Three Feathers, Laitman’s children’s opera with librettist Dana Gioia, based on a Grimm’s fairy tale, was commissioned by the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech. The abridged version toured schools in Florida, New York and Washington states, and L’arietta Singapore presented the international premiere in November 2019. Due to the pandemic, Opera Steamboat’s full production has been postponed to August 2022.  Laitman is currently finishing a chamber opera, Uncovered, based on Leah Lax’s memoir, commissioned by a consortium of universities, scheduled to premiere at Utah State University in the spring of 2022.

    Other prestigious commissions have come from the BBC and The Royal Philharmonic Society, Opera America, Opera Colorado, Seattle Opera, Grant Park Music Festival, Washington Master Chorale, Music of Remembrance, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Her works have been featured on Thomas Hampson’s Song of America radio series and website and in The Grove Dictionary of American Music.

    She is a magna cum laude Yale graduate and received her MM from The Yale School of Music. In May 2018, Laitman was the recipient of The Yale School of Music’s Ian Mininberg Alumni Award for Distinguished Service. For more information, please visit her official website www.artsongs.com.


    The composer in her own words:

    Since childhood, I have loved to listen to sung stories. Some of my earliest memories are of listening to “kiddie” records — including Bongo the Bear and PeeWee the Piccolo.  I began formal music training at age 5 with piano lessons, and at age 7, I started flute lessons. Until college, my musical life was focused on becoming a professional flutist.

    Going to Yale at age 16, I was surrounded by friends who were composers. This was a revelation, and wishing to emulate them, I started composition lessons my sophomore year with Jonathan Kramer. I remained at Yale for graduate school, and took Frank Lewin’s course in composing music for film and theater. This class taught me techniques for writing dramatic music to fit words or images.

    After graduating with a masters in music in flute performance, I freelanced as a flutist and composed music for film and theater, but it wasn’t until 1991 that I discovered my true compositional voice — when, at the behest of my dear friend, soprano Lauren Wagner, I composed my first art song, a setting of Sara Teasdale’s The Metropolitan Tower. I realized that I instinctively drew on the techniques for writing dramatic music I had learned decades ago. And in fact, I often respond to poetry as if it were film — and feel as if I am still composing dramatic music to illuminate the text.

    My compositional process is remarkably similar whether I am composing an art song, a choral work or an opera. I compose the vocal line first, aiming to create a singable line, which in turn allows the singer to effectively communicate the words to an audience. I use melody and rhythm to emphasize the most important words in a line. I use harmonies to color the emotions of the subtext. Other musical aspects add additional layers of textural interpretation. And in opera, I aim to create distinct music for the different characters, music that reveals each character’s psychological traits.

    The final composition is an aural representation of how I view the poem or libretto.

    Related Information

    Songs

    And Music Will Not End

    Song Collection

    Lori Laitman

    A Birth

    Lori Laitman

    James Dickey

    Song Collection: River of Horses

    A Blessing

    Lori Laitman

    James Wright

    Song Collection: River of Horses

    A Letter for Emily Dickinson

    Lori Laitman

    Song Collection: Fresh Patterns

    A Pastoral Lament

    Lori Laitman

    Song Collection: And Music Will Not End

    A Small Tin Parrot Pin

    Lori Laitman

    Thomas Lux

    Song Collection: Men With Small Heads

    A Winter Night

    Lori Laitman

    Sara Teasdale

    Song Collection: The Metropolitan Tower and Other Songs

    Along With Me

    Lori Laitman

    Robert Browning

    Song Collection: Days and Nights

    Becoming a Redwood

    Song Collection

    Lori Laitman

    Dana Gioia

    Becoming a Redwood

    Lori Laitman

    Dana Gioia

    Song Collection: Becoming a Redwood

    Being Happy

    Lori Laitman

    Dana Gioia

    Curriculum Vitae

    Lori Laitman

    Dana Gioia

    Song Collection: Becoming a Redwood

    Days and Nights

    Song Collection

    Lori Laitman

    Robert Browning

    Emily Dickinson

    Christina Rossetti

    Dreams

    Lori Laitman

    Mary Oliver

    Song Collection: Sunflowers

    Early Snow

    Song Collection

    Lori Laitman

    Mary Oliver

    Fresh Patterns

    Song Collection

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Fresh Patterns

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: Fresh Patterns

    Four Dickinson Songs

    Song Collection

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Full Moon

    Lori Laitman

    William Carlos Williams

    Song Collection: Two Songs for Tenor

    Hope is a Strange Invention

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: One Bee and Revery

    It’s All I Have to Bring Today

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: Fresh Patterns

    In Sleep the World is Yours

    Song Collection

    Lori Laitman

    I Stepped From Plank to Plank

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: In This Short Life

    I'm Nobody

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: Four Dickinson Songs

    If I...

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: Four Dickinson Songs

    In This Short Life

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me

    Lori Laitman

    Mary Oliver

    Song Collection: Early Snow

    Light Hearted William

    Lori Laitman

    William Carlos Williams

    Song Collection: Two Songs for Tenor

    Lullaby

    Lori Laitman

    Song Collection: In Sleep the World is Yours

    Men With Small Heads

    Song Collection

    Lori Laitman

    Thomas Lux

    Men With Small Heads

    Lori Laitman

    Thomas Lux

    Song Collection: Men With Small Heads

    My Hand Forever

    Lori Laitman

    Song Collection: River of Horses

    Mystery

    Song Collection

    Lori Laitman

    Sara Teasdale

    Nightfall

    Lori Laitman

    Sara Teasdale

    Song Collection: Mystery

    One Bee and Revery

    Song Collection

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Old Tunes

    Lori Laitman

    Sara Teasdale

    Song Collection: The Metropolitan Tower and Other Songs

    Over the Fence

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: Days and Nights

    Partial Lunar Eclipse

    Lori Laitman

    Song Collection: And Music Will Not End

    Pentecost

    Lori Laitman

    Dana Gioia

    Song Collection: Becoming a Redwood

    Plums (Two Songs)

    Song Collection

    Lori Laitman

    William Carlos Williams

    Refrigerator, 1957

    Lori Laitman

    Thomas Lux

    Song Collection: Men With Small Heads

    River of Horses

    Song Collection

    Lori Laitman

    James Dickey

    She Died

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: Four Dickinson Songs

    Snake Lake

    Lori Laitman

    Thomas Lux

    Song Collection: Men With Small Heads

    Some Keep the Sabbath

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: In This Short Life

    Song

    Lori Laitman

    Christina Rossetti

    Song Collection: Days and Nights

    Spray

    Lori Laitman

    Sara Teasdale

    Song Collection: Mystery

    Sunflowers

    Song Collection

    Lori Laitman

    Mary Oliver

    Sunrise

    Lori Laitman

    Mary Oliver

    Song Collection: Sunflowers

    Swimmers on the Shore

    Lori Laitman

    David Mason

    The Apple Orchard

    Lori Laitman

    Dana Gioia

    In This Short Life

    Song Collection

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    The Butterfly Upon

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: One Bee and Revery

    The Hour

    Lori Laitman

    Sara Teasdale

    Song Collection: The Metropolitan Tower and Other Songs

    The Kiss

    Lori Laitman

    Sara Teasdale

    Song Collection: Mystery

    The Metropolitan Tower and Other Songs

    Song Collection

    Lori Laitman

    Sara Teasdale

    The Metropolitan Tower

    Lori Laitman

    Sara Teasdale

    Song Collection: The Metropolitan Tower and Other Songs

    The Mystery

    Lori Laitman

    Sara Teasdale

    Song Collection: Mystery

    The Rose

    Lori Laitman

    Sara Teasdale

    Song Collection: Mystery

    The Silver Swan

    Lori Laitman

    Anonymous

    The Song

    Lori Laitman

    Dana Gioia

    Song Collection: Becoming a Redwood

    The Strong House

    Lori Laitman

    Sara Teasdale

    Song Collection: The Metropolitan Tower and Other Songs

    The Sunflowers

    Lori Laitman

    Mary Oliver

    Song Collection: Sunflowers

    The War God's Horse Song

    Lori Laitman

    Song Collection: River of Horses

    They Might Not Need Me

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: Days and Nights

    This Is Just To Say

    Lori Laitman

    William Carlos Williams

    Song Collection: Plums (Two Songs)

    To a Loose Woman

    Lori Laitman

    Sara Teasdale

    Song Collection: The Metropolitan Tower and Other Songs

    To Make a Prairie

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: One Bee and Revery

    To a Poor Old Woman

    Lori Laitman

    William Carlos Williams

    Song Collection: Plums (Two Songs)

    Tragedy

    Lori Laitman

    Song Collection: In Sleep the World is Yours

    Two Horses Playing in the Orchard

    Lori Laitman

    James Wright

    Song Collection: River of Horses

    Two Songs for Tenor

    Song Collection

    Lori Laitman

    William Carlos Williams

    Wild Nights

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: Days and Nights

    Will There Really Be a Morning?

    Lori Laitman

    Emily Dickinson

    Song Collection: Four Dickinson Songs

    Yes

    Lori Laitman

    Song Collection: In Sleep the World is Yours

    Videos

    Recordings

    American Composers at Play

    (William Bolcom, Ricky Ian Gordon, Lori Laitman and John Musto)

    2020

    The Secret Exit

    (Lori Laitman)

    2020

    The Soul Fox

    (Amy Marcy Beach, Lori Laitman and Ned Rorem)

    2017

    In This Moment: Women and Their Songs

    (Juliana Hall, Lori Laitman and Libby Larsen)

    2013

    Experience

    (Lori Laitman and Richard Pearson Thomas)

    2013

    (In) Habitation

    (Tania León, Lori Laitman and Libby Larsen)

    2010

    Between the Bliss and Me. . . Songs to Poems of Emily Dickinson

    (Ernst Bacon, Aaron Copland, John Woods Duke, Arthur Farwell, Lee Hoiby, Lori Laitman and Richard Pearson Thomas)

    2009

    Wild Songs

    (Steve Heitzeg and Lori Laitman)

    2012

    Laitman: Within These Spaces

    (Lori Laitman)

    2009

    Heggie: For a Look or a Touch / Laitman: The Seed of a Dream

    (Jake Heggie and Lori Laitman)

    2008

    The Shining Place

    (Lee Hoiby, Lori Laitman, Stephen Paulus and Simon Sargon)

    2006

    Dwell in Possibility: Dickinson in Song

    (Ernst Bacon, Aaron Copland, Celius Dougherty, John Woods Duke, Lee Hoiby, Richard Hundley, Jake Heggie, Lori Laitman, Libby Larsen, Etta Parker, Simon Sargon, Leo Smit and Richard Pearson Thomas)

    2004

    Dreaming - Songs of Lori Laitman

    (Lori Laitman)

    2003

    Mystery: The Songs of Lori Laitman

    (Lori Laitman)

    2000

    American Song Recital

    (Leonard Bernstein, William Bolcom, Paul Bowles, John Corigliano, John Woods Duke, Richard Hundley, Lori Laitman, John Musto and Richard Pearson Thomas)

    1992

    Sheet Music

    Lori Laitman Sheet Music

    Buy via MusicaNeo

    Becoming a Redwood (High voice)

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Song(s): 1. The Song
    2. Pentecost
    3. Curriculum Vitae
    4. Becoming a Redwood

    Voice Type: High

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Becoming a Redwood (Medium Voice)

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Song(s): 1. The Song
    2. Pentecost
    3. Curriculum Vitae
    4. Becoming a Redwood

    Voice Type: Medium

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Being Happy

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Early Snow

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Song(s): 1. Last Night the Rain Spoke to Me
    2. Blue Iris
    3. Early Snow

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Four Dickinson Songs (High Key)

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Song(s): 1. Will There Really Be a Morning?
    2. I'm Nobody
    3. She Died
    4. If I...

    Voice Type: High

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Four Dickinson Songs (Low key)

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Song(s): 1. Will There Really Be a Morning?
    2. I'm Nobody
    3. She Died
    4. If I...

    Voice Type: Low

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    In This Short Life

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Song(s): 1. Some Keep the Sabbath
    2. I Stepped From Plank to Plank
    3. In This Short Life

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Men With Small Heads (Baritone)

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Song(s): 1. Men With Small Heads
    2. Refrigerator, 1957
    3. A Small Tin Parrot Pin
    4. Snake Lake

    Voice Type: Low

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Men With Small Heads (Countertenor or Mezzo-Soprano)

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Song(s): 1. Men With Small Heads
    2. Refrigerator, 1957
    3. A Small Tin Parrot Pin
    4. Snake Lake

    Voice Type: Medium

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Mystery (Mezzo-Soprano Version)

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Song(s): 1. Nightfall
    2. Spray
    3. The Kiss
    4. The Mystery
    5. The Rose

    Voice Type: Medium

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Mystery (Baritone Version)

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Song(s): 1. Nightfall
    2. Spray
    3. The Kiss
    4. The Mystery
    5. The Rose

    Voice Type: Low

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    One Bee and Revery

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Song(s): 1. The Butterfly Upon
    2. Hope is a Strange Invention
    3. To Make a Prairie

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Plums (Two Songs)

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Song(s): 1. To a Poor Old Woman
    2. This Is Just To Say

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Sunflowers

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Song(s): 1. The Sunflowers
    2. Dreams
    3. Sunrise

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Swimmers on the Shore

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Song(s): David Mason

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    The Apple Orchard

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    The Metropolitan Tower and Other Songs

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Song(s): 1. The Metropolitan Tower
    2. A Winter Night
    3. Old Tunes
    4. The Strong House
    5. The Hour
    6. To a Loose Woman

    Voice Type: High

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    The Silver Swan

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Voice Type: High

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

    Two Songs for Tenor

    Composer(s): Lori Laitman

    Song(s): 1. Full Moon
    2. Light Hearted William

    Buy via Classical Vocal Reprints

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