Around 1998 when I was pulling together artists for the disc “Lesbian American Composers,” Laura Kaminsky wrote me a rather curt letter about the whole project.
A simple “No, thanks” would have sufficed.
I’d actually forgotten about that, having put out of my mind some of the stormier aspects of bringing to market that title and the two volumes of “Gay American Composers” discs at CRI. But Laura and I have remained friends for years and she herself reminded me of the letter about a year ago when we had a little reunion at Symphony Space.
The occasion was the premiere of David Del Tredici’s song cycle “My Favorite Penis Poems,” which Laura had programmed in her capacity as music curator. (The most startling aspect of that event, by the way, certainly wasn’t David’s typically eloquent music, nor the two singers performing at times in their underwear. No, it was approaching the venue on Broadway and seeing “PENIS POEMS” on the big bright lighted ribbon of a marquee.)
A couple of months ago when the New York Times announced that Laura had been named the new artistic director of Symphony Space, succeeding the illustrious Isaiah Sheffer, I hesitated to put her on this website about (out) GLTB artists in classical music. But recently Laura contacted me, praised the site, and said she wanted to be on it. With pleasure.
Though she doesn’t officially take the reigns of Symphony Space until July 2010, Laura already has had a broad influence in the programming decisions and she’s kindly pointed out a few of the more queer-friendly events coming up, including:
A concert (earlier this month) of Gavin Creel, star of the current Broadway revival of “Hair”
Another Del Tredici premiere, written for guitarist David Leisner on April 29, 2010.
A recital of the all-female Colorado Quartet on May 7, 2010.
“I have been trying to reach out to the gay arts community in NY to get them to pay attention,” emails Laura, adding that Symphony Space also shows lots of operas in HD.
As for Laura Kaminsky the composer, she’s at work on a string of new pieces including a quartet for the Cassatt, which will be part of an all-Kaminsky program at the Greenwich House on April 15. How she has time to run Symphony Space, write music and teach at SUNY Purchase is a wonder, but she also makes time for a girl friend, the artist Rebecca Allan.