Lori Laitman is an American composer who has composed multiple operas and choral works, and over 300 songs.
Laitman has set texts by classical and contemporary poets (including those who perished in the Holocaust) in her compositions. She graduated magna cum laude with an MM from the Yale School of Music.
Laitman has received commissions from The BBC, The Royal Philharmonic Society, The Grant Park Music Festival, Opera America, Opera Colorado, Lyric Fest of Philadelphia, Washington Master Chorale, Wolfgang Holzmair and Music of Remembrance.
Laitman was featured on Thomas Hampson’s Song of America radio series and website and interviewed by him on the Idagio platform. The Yale School of Music presented her with the Ian Mininberg Distinguished Service Award at Yale Commencement on May 21, 2018. She is one of four composers on baritone Stephen Powell's 2021 Grammy-nominated CD American Composers at Play.
Laitman has an extensive discography. To view please visit the recordings page on www.artsongs.com.
The Scarlet Letter
Laitman created the opera The Scarlet Letter based on the novel The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne. It was staged May 2016 by Colorado Opera. The libretto is by David Mason. Huffington Post ran an interview with Laitman, and the May 2016 issue of Opera News had a feature about Laitman and The Scarlet Letter. Naxos released the CD in Aug. 2017. Future performances are scheduled at UC Irvine and The University of Oklahoma.
Laitman and Mason also collaborated on Vedem, a Holocaust oratorio commissioned by Music of Remembrance. Indianapolis Opera's double bill of Vedem and Brundibar has been moved to the spring of 2021, due to the Coronavirus.
Laitman and Mason continue to develop the opera Ludlow, based on Mason's verse novel about the 1914 mining disaster in Ludlow, Colorado.
The Three Feathers
Laitman created The Three Feathers children's opera with librettist Dana Gioia, based on a Grimm's fairy tale. It was commissioned by the Center for the Arts at Virginia Tech. The work premiered in conjunction with VA Tech, Opera Roanoke and the Blacksburg Children's Chorale in Oct. 2015 in a production directed by Greenberg and conducted by Scott Williamson. Huffington Post ran a feature on the opera. The children's outreach version, which is condensed to under an hour, was premiered by Florida State University in February 2016. Seattle Opera commissioned a 5 voice/piano abridged version which toured Seattle schools from January through June 2018. Hartt College of Music premiered the abridged orchestral version, and L'arietta Productions in Singapore presented the international premiere. Opera Steamboat will present a full production in August 2022 (delayed, due to the virus).
Uncovered is Laitman's opera with Leah Lax, based on Lax's memoir. It was a 2018 finalist for the Domenic J. Pelliccioti Opera Composition Prize. It has now been co-commissioned by a consortium led by Utah State. City Lyric Opera of NYC (another co-commissioner) presented The Mikvah scene virtually in October 2021 (see citylyricopera.org/uncovered), and the full premiere by Utah State has been moved to April 2022 in the hopes that the vaccine will allow for travel and singing once more.
Laitman received a 2015 Centennial Commission from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra with Music Director Marin Alsop for an orchestral piece to celebrate the BSO's 100th anniversary. Unsung premiered in September 2016.
Are Women People?
Laitman's commission from the Howard Hansen Institute for American Music at the Eastman School of Music and the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Leadership produced "Are Women People?" . The piece was created for SATB vocal quartet and piano 4 hands, This piece uses texts by Alice Duer Miller, Susan B. Anthony and also the 19th Amendment of the Constitution. The work premiered at Eastman School of Music in March 2017.
The Imaginary Photo Album
Her BBC/Royal Philharmonic Society commission for soprano Katharina Konradi will premiere October 25, 2020, live at Wigmore Hall, London, to a reduced audience.
Fanfare Magazine described Laitman as “one of the most talented and intriguing of living composers,”
Gramophone wrote about The Scarlet Letter: "The first thing that leaps into one's ears is the sheer beauty of the music. Laitman has devoted much of her career to the art song, and her ability to meld words with lyrical, often soaring lines is on abundant display in her opera."
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.”
“Lori Laitman's central greatness comes not from wielding numerous and complicated elements in complex ways, but rather from her almost uncanny skill for breathing new life into a text through music. When it comes to crafting art songs, nothing else counts at all if this central matter isn’t right. Laitman’s skill in this regard is unsurpassed among current art song composers."
Dormady Eisenberg, Susan, "Lines Written At The Falls" (November 2005), Classical Singer.
Dormady Eisenberg, Susan, "From Art Song To Opera" (October 2009), Classical Singer.