Eaton, John (Charles)

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Eaton, John (Charles)

Eaton, John (Charles), American composer and teacher; b. Bryn Mawr, Pa., March 30, 1935. He studied composition with Babbitt, Cone, and Sessions at Princeton Univ. (1953–59; B.A., M.F.A.). He also received training in piano from Steuermann, Erich Kahn, and Frank Sheridan. In 1959, 1960, and 1962 he held American Prix de Rome prizes. In 1962 and 1965 he held Guggenheim fellowships. In 1970 he became composerin-residence at the Ind. Univ. School of Music in Bloomington, where he was assoc. prof. (1971–73) and prof. (1973–91). In 1976–77 he was composer-in-residence at the American Academy in Rome. In 1990 he received the MacArthur Award. He was a prof, at the Univ. of Chicago from 1991. He publ. the book Involvement with Music: New Music since 1950 (1976). Eaton has made use of various modern resources in his compositions, including electronics. In some pieces, he has employed the Syn-Ket, a synthesizer invented by Paolo Ketoff.


DRAMATIC Ma Barker, opera (1957); Heracles, opera (1964; Turin, Oct. 10, 1968); Myshkin, television opera (1971; Bloomington, Ind., April 23, 1973); The 3 Graces, theater piece (1972); The Lion and Androcles, children’s opera (1973; Indianapolis, May 1, 1974); Danton and Robespierre, opera (Bloomington, Ind., April 21, 1978); The Cry of Clytaemnestra, opera (1979; Bloomington, Ind., March 1, 1980); The Tempest, opera (1983–85; Santa Fe, July 27, 1985); The Reverend Jim Jones, opera (1988); Peer Gynt, theater piece (1990; Chicago, May 29, 1992); Let’s Get This Show on the Road: An Alternative View of Genesis, opera (Chicago, Dec. 8, 1993); Don Quixote, theater piece (1994). ORCH.: Tertullian Overture (1958); Concert Piece for Syn-Ket and Orch. (1966); Sym. No. 2 (1980–81); Remembering Rome, sinfonietta for Strings (Bloomington, Ind., March 1, 1987). CHAMBER : String Quartet (1958); Encore Piece for Flute and Piano (1959); Trumpet Sonata (1959); Adagio and Allegro for Flute, Oboe, and Strings (1960); Concert Piece 1 for Clarinet and Piano (1960) and 2 for Syn-Ket (1966); Epigrams for Clarinet and Piano (1960); Concert Music for Clarinet (1961); Variations for Flute (1964); Vibrations for Flute, 2 Oboes, and 2 Clarinets (1967); Thoughts for Sonny for Trumpet (1968); Sonority Movement for Flute and 9 Harps (1971); Piano Trio, In Memoriam Mario Cristini (1971); Burlesca for Tuba and Piano (1981); Fantasy Romance for Cello and Piano (1989); 2 Plaudits for Ralph Shapey for Flute, Oboe, and Cello (1991); Salome’s Flea Circus for Clarinet and Piano (1994). Piano : Variations (1957); Microtonal Fantasy for 2 Pianos (1965). VOCAL: Song Cycle for Voice and Piano, after Donne (1956); Songs for R.P.B. for Voice, Piano, and Synthesizer (1964); Thoughts on Rilke for Soprano, 2 SynKets, Syn-Mill, and Reverberation Plate (1966); Blind Man’s Cry for Soprano, Syn- Ket, Moog Synthesizer, Syn-Mill, and 2 Tapes (1968); Mass for Soprano, Clarinet, and Synthesizers (1969); Ajax for Baritone and Orch. (1972); Guillen Songs for Voice and Piano (1974); Oro for Voice and Synthesizers (1974); Land of Lampedusa for Mezzo-soprano, Soprano, Piano, and Synthesizers (1974); Lullaby for Estela for Voice and Piano (1975); Duo for Chorus (1977); A Greek Vision for Soprano, Flute, and Electronics (1982); El Divino Narciso, cantata for Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, Tenor, Flute, 2 Percussionists, Cello, and Optional Electronics (1989); A Packet for Emily and Bill for Mezzo-soprano or Soprano, Clarinet, and Electronics or Piano (1991); Notes on Moonlight for Soprano, Mezzo-soprano, and Chamber Ensemble (1991); Trumpet Voluntary for Soprano and Brass Quintet (1991); Songs of Desperation and Comfort for Mezzo-soprano and Chamber Orch. (1993; Cleveland, May 9, 1994); Lettere for Mezzo-soprano, Flute, Harp, and String Quartet (1994; Chicago, April 21, 1995). OTHER: Soliloquy for Synthesizer (1967); Duet for Syn-Ket and Synthesizer (1968); Genesis for Eaton-Moog Multiple-Touch-Sensitive Keyboard (1992).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire