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Compositions | Recordings | Performer
 

Anne LeBaron Quintet at the Alternative Museum, NYC
What used to be called the avant-garde is finding itself not at the far edges of musical development but increasingly at the center of things. Thus, the Anne LeBaron Quintet's main activity was less exploration than reconciliation: Ms. LeBaron and her colleagues surrounded themselves with varying cultures and tried to draw them all closer together. She plays the harp, altering its Classical-music nature by amplification, bowing and the doctoring of strings in the manner of John Cage's prepared piano. One of the group's principal melodic agents, moreover, was another symphony orchestra instrument, the tuba, played here with unusual lyrical potency by Marcus Rojas. Yet the format is jazz, here presided over and nudged forward by the subtle drumming and percussion playing of Thurman Barker. The introductions to Wednesday's five pieces tended to wander freely, the players reacting to one another's flights of fancy and creating a world of sound halfway between musical tone and sound effect. Usually, however, firm traditional foundations, stated or implied, were laid in place. They tied futurisms to the past, sometimes with a particular beat or rhythm, elsewhere by means of a recognizable key.
Bernard Holland, The New York Times

LeBaron solo appearance at 1988 Int'l Festival Musique Actuelle, Victoriaville, Canada:
In fact, those deserving wider recognition made for some of the festival's highlights. Anne LeBaron worked from the certre of three harps, a loomstress interweaving orient, occident and accident with emphasis on the tense releations between thematic and textural material.
John Corbett, Wire Magazine

LeBaron duo performance with Peter Kowald at dc space:
Kowald and experimental harpist Anne LeBaron were alternately inspirational and jarring. . . LeBaron's harp was likewise far from the ethereal standard: she used found objects to pluck the harp's strings and also "treated" them electronically. The result ranged from koto-like simplicity to the qualities of a snare drum, achieved by weaving paper through the strings.
The Washington Post

LeBaron with Davey Williams and Vincent Chancey in Allentown PA:
From the very first moments of her performance, Anne LeBaron distanced herself from the handful of harpists working in improvised music. She began by inserting a bow for a three-quarters size cello between two of her harp's bass strings. As she bowed the string, she moved a T-shaped metal tuning key along the played string, as a slide guitarist would do. Amplified, the effect was a full sound implying motion. It was as if someone had sampled a passing freight train and selected to repeat the moment when the train's pitch was at its most intense.
The other members of LeBaron's trio--Vincent Chancey and Davey Williams -soon joined the harpist, offering a montage of textured sound layers that floated above and below LeBaron's bowed line. What followed was an afternoon of unannounced collective improvisations, this trio's first performance.
Tim Blangger, Coda

LeBaron with LaDonna Smith and Gregg Bendian at Middle East Cafe in Cambridge
The members of LSD Trio are world class improvisers, and they make it look easy. Anne LeBaron played what must have been the first concert harp ever to appear on the Middle East stage, playing harmonics, stretching strings, attaching alligator clips to them, and other bizarre activities. . . It was something like conversation, like choreography, like riding a unicycle, like diving into a pool of chocolate milk, like three other people's whole lives passing before your eyes, weird, funny, sexy, shockingly reasonable.
Michael Bloom, Boston Rock #103

LeBaron with LaDonna Smith and Marcus Rojas at Real Art Ways August Jazz Festival
Diverse as it was, the audience probably wasn't as diverse as the music it experienced. LeBaron's trio, including violist LaDonna Smith and tuba player Marcus Rojas, floated through states of heightened consciousness that ranged from blissful dreaming to ominous turbulence. Their pieces blended elements of post Stravinsky classical music with contemporary free improvisation. LeBaron's harp directed the musical interaction instead of dominating it.
Vernon Frazer, The Hartford Courant

LeBaron at Berlin's Quartier Latin
Two American women, Anne LeBaron (harp) and Candace Natvig (violin, voice), are both familiar with so-called classical music, but at the Total Music Meeting they drummed their strings, manipulated them with keys, tuning forks, etc. I found their outbursts of sound uninhibited and passionate. "Courageous," someone said. Others expressed less appreciation: "Can't you start p-l-a-y-i-n-g!" But the majority became more sensitive to the music, although one came up onstage and approached the piano, then spoke to the audience: "I thought I might accompany them. It is because I have never played the piano." LeBaron and Natvig kept cool: sovereignity by helplessness? Anyway, parts of the Berlin audience seem to be fairly crazy.
Ellen Brandt, Coda

LeBaron: Corruption in the Capital in Montgomery, Alabama:
Harpist and composer Anne LeBaron, playing a variety of stringed instruments, treated the audience . . . to a fascinating performance of uncommon and often adventurous music. Under the title "Live Music," the instruments included harps, a Korean ajaeng and Chinese chengs. The contrasting timbres of two Irish harps, punctuated by temple bowls, and the "bending" of the pitch, provided aural delgiths in several sections. "Creamy Hands" utilized a prepared harp and was described by the composer as a "take-off on 'Libestraum." It was more successful than the final work on the program, "Corruption in the Capital," whose instrumentation was expanded to include saxophone and electronic bass. No structure was readily apparent and interaction between the performers was almost non-existent. Still, this was a successful program on several levels.
David Bowman, The Advertiser

 
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