The composer and poet Lera Auerbach reports that a fire on October 21 has destroyed her apartment in New York City. Auerbach was out of town at the time of the fire, but reportedly the fire started in an air-conditioning unit near her Steinway D Concert Grand piano and spread rapidly to the rest of the apartment. In addition to the loss of thousands of books and completed music scores, Auerbach’s opera-in-progress, Gogol, was destroyed; also lost in the fire were a library of rare Russian books that had been sent to the composer by her family in Russia after she came to the United States in 1991. Auerbach had originally acquired the Steinway D piano in 1998 with the help of a Texas couple, who had supported the composer’s scholarship at The Juilliard School in the 1990s. Among Auerbach’s works are her Symphony No. 1 (“Chimera”), which was given its American premiere on October 30 by the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, and the score for Watch Her, a new ballet choreographed by Aszure Barton, scheduled for its world premiere with the National Ballet of Canada on November 25 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing in Toronto.

Posted November 2, 2009