La Barbara, Joan (Linda née Lotz)

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La Barbara, Joan (Linda née Lotz)

La Barbara, Joan (Linda née Lotz), American composer and experimental vocalist; b. Philadelphia, June 8, 1947. She learned piano from her grandfather, and later sang in church and school choirs and joined a folk music group. She studied voice with Helen Boat wright at the Syracuse Univ. School of Music (1965–68), music education at N.Y.U. (B.S., 1970), and voice with Phyllis Curtin at the Berkshire Music Center at Tangle wood (summers, 1967-68) and with Marion Szekely Freschl at the Juilliard School in N.Y. In 1971 she made her debut as a vocalist at N.Y.’s Town Hall with Steve Reich and Musicians, with whom she continued to perform until 1974; also worked with Philip Glass (1973–76). She toured in the U.S. and Europe; in 1979 she was composer-in-residence in West Berlin under the aegis of the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst; taught voice and composition at the Calif. Inst. of the Arts in Valencia (1981–86). In 1979 she married Morton Subotnick. A champion of contemporary music, she developed her performing talents to a high degree; her vocal techniques include multiphonics and circular breathing, with unique throat clicks and a high flutter to match. Her compositions, often incorporating electronics, effectively exploit her vocal abilities. Among her numerous awards and fellowships are NEA grants (1979, 1982, 1986, 1988, 1989, 1991) and ASCAP and ISCM commissions; also numerous radio commissions. La Barbara has collaborated on interdisciplinary projects with visual artists, including Lita Albuquerque, Judy Chicago, Kenneth Goldsmith et al.; she has also given numerous first performances of works written for her by American composers, including Robert Ashley, John Cage, Charles Dodge, Morton Feldman, Daniel Lentz et al. In 1993 she appeared in the N.Y. premiere of Subotnick’s opera, Jacob’s Room, and in 1994 in the N.Y. premiere of Robert Ashley’s quartet of operas, Now Eleanor’s Idea.


(all voices amplified unless otherwise noted): large ensemble:Chandra for Solo Voice, 5 Men’s Voices, Electronics, and Chamber Orch. (Bremen, May 6, 1978; rev. 1983); The Solar Wind III for Voice and Chamber Orch. (San Francisco, May 12, 1984). amplified voice(s) and instruments:Ides of March Nos. 1-7 for Voice and Instruments (1974–78); Thunder for Voice, 6 Timpani, and Electronics (1975); WARP-32375-1 for Voice and Percussion (1975); An Exaltation of Larks for Voice and Electronics (1976); Chords and Gongs for Voice, Chinese Cymbal, Large Gong, and Finger Cymbals (1976); As Is/Layers for Voice, Electronics, and Acoustic and Electronic Percussion (1977); Loisaida for Voice, Kalimba, Hi-Hat, and Steel Drum (N.Y, Feb. 17, 1978); Silent Scroll for Voice, Flute, Cello or Double-bass, Percussion, Gong, and Zoomoozophone (N.Y, April 25, 1982); Vlissingen harbor for Voice, Flute and Piccolo, Clarinet and Bass Clarinet, Trumpet, Harp, Piano and Celesta, Violin, and Percussion (Los Angeles, Dec. 6, 1982); The Solar Wind I for Voice, Chamber Ensemble, Tape, and Percussion (1982; Los Angeles, Feb. 7, 1983) and II for 16 Solo Voices, 2 Percussion, Flute, and Electronic Keyboard (Copenhagen, Nov. 14, 1983); A Rothko Study for Voice and Chamber Ensemble (Los Angeles, Nov. 3, 1985); A Rothko Study No. 2 for Voice, Cello, and Computer (1986); ROTHKO for Solo Voice, 16 Voices on Tape, and 2 Bowed Pianos (Houston, April 5, 1986); Helga’s Lied for Voice and Chamber Ensemble (Århus, Oct. 10, 1986); Urban Tropics for Voice, Percussion, and Taped Sounds (Miami, Dec. 12, 1988); Klangbild Köln for Voice, Percussion, and Taped Sounds (WDR Cologne, May 7, 1991); “to hear the wind roar” for Voice, Percussion, and Tape (1991; Santa Fe, Aug. 8, 1992; also versions for 8 Voices and Percussion, Pasadena, May 9, 1992, and for Chorus and Percussion, Adirondack, N.Y, July 18, 1992); Face to Face for Voices, Electronics, and Percussion (Houston, Feb. 1, 1992; in collab. with David Moss); Awakenings II for Voice and Chamber Ensemble (Tempe, Ariz., Jan. 28, 1992); Shaman Song for Voice, Percussion, and Tape (Athens, March 2, 1992); “73 Poems” for Voices and Electronics (first complete perf., Miami, Dec. 4, 1993; in collab. with Kenneth Goldsmith); “in the shadow and act of the haunting place” for Voice and Chamber Ensemble (1993; San Francisco, Jan. 17, 1995); Calligraphy II/Shadows for Voice and Chinese Instruments (N.Y, June 8, 1995); de profundis: out of the depths, a sign//a different train for 4 Voices, Percussion, Bowed Pianos, and Tape, after M. Sumner Carnahan (1996); A Different Train for 4 Voices, Bowed Pianos, and Tape, after M. Sumner Carnahan (1996); deprofundis: Out of the depths, a sign, after M. Sumner Carnahan for 4 Voices, Percussion, and Tape (1996). amplified voice(s)(all for Solo Voice unless otherwise noted): Hear what I Feel (1974); Performance Piece (1974; rev. 1979); Voice Piece: One-note Internal Resonance Investigation (1974); An Exploration in Vocal Sound and Movements for 2 Performers using Voice and Movement (1975; in collab. with D. Reitz); Circular Song (1975); Vocal Extensions for Voice and Live Electronics (1975); Chords (1976); Des Accords pour Teeny (1976); Les oiseaux qui chantent dans ma tête (1976); Cathing for Voice and Tape (1977); Twelvesong, for Voice and Tape (Bremen, May 6, 1978; also as a radio work, Radio Bremen, Nov. 1, 1977); Autumn Signal for Voice and Buchla Synthesizer (Berlin, Oct. 22, 1978); California Chant (“Raicha Tria”) for Amplified for Unamplified Voice (1979); Klee Alee for Voice and Tape (1979); Shadowsong for Voice and Tape (1979); Twelve for Five in Eight for 5 or More Voices (1979); Erin for Voice and Tape (Paris, June 21, 1980); October Music: Star Showers and Extraterrestrials for Voice and Tape (Paris, June 21, 1980); Winds of the Canyon for Voice and Tape (San Francisco, Nov. 12, 1982; rev. staged version, with visual environment, Los Angeles, March 3, 1986); Berliner Träume (Berlin Dreaming) for Voice and 16-track Tape (1983; Minneapolis, Feb. 18, 1984); After “Obervogelsang” for Voice and Tape (N.Y., June 5, 1984); Time(d) Trials and Unscheduled Events for 8 Solo Voices and Tape (1984; rev. for 8 Solo Voices, 1987); Loose Tongues for 8 Solo Voices and Tape (1985); Voice Windows for Voice and Interactive Video Systems (Los Angeles, March 3, 1986; in collab. with Steina and W. Vasulka); Conversations (Rome, Aug. 4, 1988). tape:The Executioner’s Bracelet (1979); “quatre petites bêtes” (1978-79; Cologne, May 9, 1979); Responsive Resonance with Features for Piano and Tape (1979); Autumn Signal (1982); l’albero dalle foglie azzurre (the tree of the blue leaves) for Oboe and Tape (St. Louis, March 20, 1989); also versions of other live performance works listed in other categories. other:Hunters (video; 1975); Vermont II (video; 1975); Space Testings for Acoustic Voice (1976); CYCLONE for Amplified Voice, Tape, and Light- panning Activating Device (1977; rev. as CYCLONE CON(S)T(R)AINED, sound installation, for 16-track Tape, 1978); She is Always Alone (video; 1979); 3 Space Trio/A Lament for the Wizard (video; 1982; in collab. with E. Emschwiller); as lightning comes, in flashes for 2 to 6 Amplified Voices, Dancers, and Video (1982); Prologue to The Book of Knowing…(and) of Overthrowing, solo performance aria for Voice, Projections, Costumes, and Movement (1987-88; N.Y., July 6, 1988; in collab. with J. Chicago); Events in the Elsewhere (opera; 1990); In the Dreamtime (sound collage; 1990; Cologne WDR, May 7, 1991); Anima, filmscore for Voice, Cello, Gamelan, Music Box, Percussion, Electronic Keyboards, and Computer (1991; N.Y., Sept. 25, 1992); Awakenings for Chamber Ensemble (1991); The Misfortune of the Immortals, interdisciplinary interactive media opera for Voices, Dancers, Actors, Video Projections, MIDI Instruments, and Interactive Computer Systems (1994-95; in collab. with M. Coniglio and M. Subotnik); “a trail of indeterminate light” for Singing Cellist (1997); Snowbird’s Dance, Into the Light for Voice and Chamber Ensemble (N.Y., May 19, 2000).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire