From Duluth to Broadway: Local musician composes music for Macbeth

Published: May. 2, 2022 at 9:44 PM CDT
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NEW YORK CITY, NY. (CBS 3 Duluth) -- The biggest stage in the world is now home to music created by a Duluth native.

Gaelynn Lea is the composer of Broadway’s ‘Macbeth’.

“It was just an amazing experience, it took a long, long time,” she said.

Lea spent many years performing at arts venues in the Northland. She went on to win NPR’s 2016 Tiny Desk Contest and has traveled the world touring her music and speaking for disability advocacy.

The production of Shakespeare’s famed play stars Daniel Craig and Ruth Negga. It’s directed by Sam Gold, whom Lea said reached out to her last year to compose music for the show after hearing some of her work, which combined traditional sound with an apocalyptic aura.

“It was a pretty cool honor that he wanted to incorporate my music,” Lea said.

Lea said her hometown roots helped write the lyrics to her career.

“Obviously, Duluth has had a huge impact on the kind of music I make,” Lea said. “Most notably, Alan Sparhawk of Low is the person that gave me my first looping pedal and I started creating instrumental music, which is not something I had ever done before I met him.”

Her team for ‘Macbeth’ was made up of other musicians and producers she’s worked on previous albums with, all of whom live and work in Minnesota.

“It was really fun to bring them into a different kind of project for a totally different audience, but still have that Minnesota connection,” Lea said.

According to Lea, working on the play has been a life-changing experience.

“I think of all the things I’ve created, I’m most proud of this particular soundtrack,” Lea said.

Lea’s work could be nominated for a Tony Award, Broadway’s biggest honor. Those nominations come out next week. Another current Broadway production ‘Girl From the North Country’ takes place in Duluth and features the music of Minnesota-native Bob Dylan.

‘Macbeth’ is currently running on Broadway in a limited engagement until July. For information about the show, click here.

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