Bryn Mawr - Pennsylvania, 30/03/1935
The University of Chicago
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).