John Eaton (composer)
John Charles Eaton (born 30 March 1935) is an American composer (Anon. n.d.(a); Morgan 2001), recipient of the Prix de Rome, Guggenheim Fellow (Morgan 2001), MacArthur Fellow, and professor emeritus of composition at the University of Chicago (Anon. 2008).
John Eaton was born in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. He attended Princeton University, where he graduated in 1957 (Morgan 2001). He later lived in Rome (1957–68), returning to Princeton to earn a Ph.D. in 1970 (Anon. n.d.(c)). He subsequently held faculty appointments at Indiana University (1970–92) and the University of Chicago (1989–99) (Morgan 2001; Anon. n.d.(b)).
Eaton is a prominent composer of microtonal music, and worked with Paul Ketoff and Robert Moog during the 1960s in developing several types of synthesizers (Chadabe 1967; Frankenstein 1968; Morgan 2001). He innovated a compositional genre called pocket opera, operas scored for a small cast of vocalists and a chamber group.
His most famous opera is The Cry of Clytaemnestra (1980), a re-telling of some of the events surrounding the Trojan War from the perspective of Agamemnon's wife Clytaemnestra, which has been hailed as the first feminist opera. It was premièred in Bloomington, at the Indiana University Opera Theater, on 1 March 1980, and received a number of subsequent productions, most notably in New York and California (Morgan 1992b).
Eaton's opera, The Tempest, with a libretto by Andrew Porter after William Shakespeare, was premièred at the Santa Fe Opera on 27 July 1985 (Morgan 1985a; Morgan 1992c; Morgan 2001), and subsequently performed in the autumn of 1986 at the Indiana University School of Music (Anon. 2010).
- Ma Barker (written 1957–58)
- Herakles (written 1964; 10 October 1968, Turin)
- Myshkin (23 April 1973 Bloomington, Ind.)
- The Lion and Androcles (written 1973; 1 May 1974 Indianapolis)
- Danton and Robespierre (written 1978; 21 April 1978 Bloomington)
- The Cry of Clytemnestra (written 1979–80; 1 March 1980 Bloomington)
- The Tempest (written 1983–85; 27 July 1985 Santa Fe)
- The Reverend Jim Jones (written 1989)
- Let's Get This Show on the Road (written 1993)
- Golk (written 1995)
- Antigone (written 1999)
- . . . inasmuch (written 2002)
- King Lear (written 2003–2004)
- Anon. n.d.(a) "John Eaton". G. Schirmer website (Accessed 16 July 2010).
- Anon. n.d.(b). "JOHN EATON (IU faculty: 1970-1992)." Accessed Jun 9, 2013.
- Anon. n.d.(c). "John Eaton." Accessed June 9, 2013. http://music.uchicago.edu/page/john-eaton
- Anon. 2008. "John Eaton". The University of Chicago Department of Music website (Accessed July 16, 2010).
- Anon. 2010. "Eaton". American Composers Alliance website (Accessed July 16, 2010)
- Chadabe, Joel. 1967. "Concert Piece for Synket and Symphony Orchestra". Electronic Music Review, no.4 (1967): 46.
- Frankenstein, Alfred. 1968. "Introducing John Eaton and his Pieces for the Syn-ket". Hi Fidelity, 18, no. 7:82.
- Morgan, Robert P. 1985a. "John Eaton and The Tempest". Musical Times 126 (July): 397–400.
- Morgan, Robert P. 1985b. "Alchemist". Opera News 1, no. 1:28–31.
- Morgan, Robert P. 1992a. "Cry of Clytemnestra, The". The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, 4 vols., edited by Stanley Sadie; managing editor, Christina Bashford. London: Macmillan Press. ISBN 0-935859-92-6
- Morgan, Robert P. 1992b. "Danton and Robespierre". The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, 4 vols., edited by Stanley Sadie; managing editor, Christina Bashford. London: Macmillan Press.
- Morgan, Robert P. 1992c. "Tempest, The (ii)". The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, 4 vols., edited by Stanley Sadie; managing editor, Christina Bashford. London: Macmillan Press.
- Morgan, Robert P. 2001. "Eaton, John C(harles)". The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition, edited by Stanley Sadie and John Tyrrell. London: Macmillan Publishers.