Eric Salzman: Composer, Author, Music Theater Innovator


New Releasings

Labor Records in collaboration with Naxos is releasing a series of recordings of my work covering more than half a century! The most recent release is "Jukebox in the Tavern of Love" paired with a new work by Meredith Monk. "The Nude Paper Sermon" and "Wiretap" is a double album containing no fewer than five works; see below for details. "Civilization & its Discontents" is a words-and-music collaboration with Michael Sahl. More information, reviews and ordering (physical or digital editions) is available below or by going to Labor Records.

Jukebox in the Tavern of Love Nude Paper Sermon - Wiretap Civilization Discontents

from The Gramophone


John Cage Was . . .

The striking new collection of Cage photos by James Klosty, published by Wesleyan University Press, also includes quotations about John from a variety of sources. One of the sources is the program notes that I wrote for the premiere of my Five Dances for String Quartet, arrangements of Cage prepared piano pieces at a Cage Festival at Bard College a couple of years ago.  The quote (about Cage and mushroom) is pretty good but the best part is the company it keeps!

Date Posted // November 19, 2014
In Categories // Five Dances for String Quartet, Writings

New recording of “Jukebox in the Tavern of Love” is cited by Gramophone 2014 Awards issue as a best of year!

The new Western Wind recording of two commissioned works — “Jukebox in the Tavern of Love” (Eric Salzman; text by Valeria Vasilevski) and Meredith Monk’s “Basket Rondo” — has been selected in the current 2014 awards issue of Gramophone as a best of year. Here is an excerpt from Daniel Rosenberg’s review of this recent Labor/Naxos release:

“Salzman takes advantage of the [Western Wind’s] versatility and vocal gifts in Jukebox in the Tavern of Love, a ‘madrigal comedy’ with a libretto by Valeria Vasilevski. Set in a New York bar, the narrative introduces a series of characters (bartender, nun, dancer, rabbi, poet, utility worker), each of whom tells a story as the remaining observers react in Greek-chorus mode.

“The score is a delicious stew of musical styles, showing Salzman’s range as a composer and his ability to tickle the funny bone (with thanks to Vasilevski’s droll text). It’s a tour de force for the intrepid members of the Western Wind, who are as suave in the Renaissance-inspired material as they are swinging in Salzman’s jazzy concoctions.”

Gramophone, published in the UK, is the leading English-language publication covering the recording field. You can find the whole review at


“This is, so far, my Best New Record of 2014. Get it!”

These are the final words of Lynn René Bayley ‘s review of “Jukebox in the Tavern of Love” (Eric Salzman; text by Valeria Vasilevski) and “Basket Rondo” (Meredith Monk), commissioned and recorded by the Western Wind and released by Labor Records and Naxos as LAB 7094.

Here is a longer except from that review:

“…one of the oddest yet most refreshing discs I’ve heard in years… the music [of Jukebox in the Tavern of Love] is a lot of fun to listen to, based somewhat on Monk’s aesthetic, somewhat on polyphonic madrigals, but all of it constantly evolving and morphing.…there follows first a dancer singing nonsense lyrics in a peculiar rhythm, then a tune titled “When I romp with my baby tonight” that begins as a solo but becomes a fugue when other voices enter one at a time. Weird stuff, but good weird stuff! Next comes the song of a rabbi, “Do you know what a DP (displaced person) is?” This, too, evolves into its own polyphony as he describes how he wanted to become a Jesuit priest: “You can’t; you’re Jewish…a Jewish Jesuit will never do!” The nun then tells the story of her late aunt, who left her a pile of love letters and a confession that she was a lesbian. The poet sings a toast to love in all its forms, then a four-part madrigal (led by the rabbi) on the words “Salute amore” before the Con Ed worker (Consolidated Edison, the New York power and light company, for those who may need a translator) drinks and sings a toast to love: “Wine is the balm of lovers, come pour a cup for me…Awaken, lovers, listen!” It’s a wonderful, enchanting piece, difficult to put into words. You really have to hear it to appreciate it.

This is, so far, my Best New Record of 2014. Get it!”  [© 2014 Fanfare]

–Lynn René Bayley

Here is the link to the entire review: <>






“Big Jim” excerpts on YouTube

Audio excerpts from the Faison Firehouse Theatre performance of “Big Jim & the Small-time Investors” are on YouTube together with photos from the two workshop performances. The link is <>.

Videos from this performance are also on YouTube at <>,  <> and <>