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The Otto Luening Trust of New York City recently donated seven (7) CDs of recordings of the works of their namesake, American composer Otto Luening (1900-1996) to UL Lafayette's Dupré Library. In addition, the trust donated copies of a centennial booklet detailing Luening's life and legacy, with essays by colleagues, friends and associates, comprehensive biographical information, and a complete catalogue of his recorded works.
The trust was established "to protect his manuscripts and promote the vast legacy of his musical works, writings and recordings." The addition of these recordings to Dupré Library will not only enhance the music collection, but will make Luening's musical legacy available to a broader audience.
During his life, Luening served as an arts advocate, conductor, educator and flutist, along with pioneering electronic music during the 1940s and 1950s. His compositions, more than 400 in number, range from orchestra and chamber music to opera and choral works, as well as music for flute and piano.
Luening also has a Louisiana connection. In 1930 he received a Guggenheim Fellowship to write the libretto for his opera Evangeline, based on the poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
During that time he researched the Acadians, traveling to both Nova Scotia and Louisiana. Following its 1948 premiere at Columbia University, this three-act opera has been performed only a few times over the years, most notably at St. Martinville in 1955 for the Acadian Bicentennial Celebration, and more recently at Bowdoin College (Maine) in 1986. While no commercial recordings of this opera are available, it has been recently recommended to an opera company in New Orleans for consideration.
In 1990, six years before his death, Luening received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society for Electro-Acoustic Music in the United States, or SEAMUS, at its annual conference. The award was one of many honors that Luening received during his long and distinguished career.