On September 9, 2011, Missouri-gal Susan Kander celebrates the 90th birthday of Leslie Laskey — Washington University of St. Louis’ renowned educator — with the world premiere of A Garden’s Time Piece. Scored for soprano and violin, and featuring Kander’s settings of Laskey’s own poetry, performers Christine Johnson and Marc Thayer will premiere the 10-minute chamber work at The Columbia Foundation in St. Louis.
“Leslie Laskey,” Kander notes, “is an artist of tremendous range. Now 90, for some 40 years he taught design at Washington University School of Architecture, influencing generations of American architects including my husband Warren. I met Leslie years ago through Warren and a friendship developed rapidly. I recently discovered he’s also a poet, and I had the opportunity to look through an advance galley of his poems. They were fun to set and I had a wonderful time writing this piece.”
Next on Kander’s calendar is the world premiere of her latest opera The Giver. Based on the award-winning Lois Lowry novel, The Giver was co-commissioned by the Lyric Opera of Kansas City and the Minnesota Opera, with stage direction by Linda Ade Brand. The opera premieres in Kansas City on January 14, 2012 (along with two educational previews), followed by performances in March at the Minnesota Opera.
Having graduated from Harvard University in 1979 with a degree in music, Susan spent the next 15 years working as a playwright before “coming home” to full time composition. Since then, she has been commissioned by a wide range of performers and ensembles resulting in a growing catalog of chamber, vocal and choral works characterized by a vivid, often chromatic tonal presence and rhythmic immediacy. Visit her at www.susankander.net for more up-to-date composer information and news.