Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer David Lang Joins the Faculty at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music
OBERLIN, OHIO (September 23, 2008)— Composer David Lang, founder of the boundary-pushing new music collective Bang on a Can and recipient of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Music, will join the Oberlin Conservatory of Music this fall as Distinguished Visiting Professor of Composition and Composer in Residence.
“David's work as a composer is extraordinary and his contribution to the canon of great music will endure with importance for generations into the future,” says Dean of the Conservatory David H. Stull. “He is a tremendous advocate for the creation and performance of new music, and this advocacy is only surpassed by his passion for teaching and mentoring young musicians. We are privileged to welcome him to our faculty.”
Lang was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Music for The Little Match Girl Passion, a work for four solo voices and percussion based on the Hans Christian Andersen fable The Little Match Girl. The work was co-commissioned by the Carnegie Hall Corporation and the Perth Theater and Concert Hall, and premiered October 25, 2007, in Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Lang is perhaps best known as a leader of Bang on a Can, which he co-founded in 1987 with Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe. The organization advances contemporary music through recordings, performances by the touring Bang on a Can All-Stars, and two signature annual concert events, the Marathon in New York City and the Summer Music Festival at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in the Berkshires. Of the Marathon, Vanity Fair writes: “There are other places to hear new contemporary music, but it is seldom offered with such a potent blend of intensity, authority, and abandon.” In 1997, Bang on a Can established the People’s Commissioning Fund, which bundles contributions of all sizes from individuals to commission new works for the Bang on a Can All-Stars.
About David Lang
“There is no name yet for this kind of music,” writes Los Angeles Times music critic Mark Swed about the works of American composer David Lang, but audiences around the globe are hearing more and more of it: in performances by such organizations as the Santa Fe Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, and the Kronos Quartet; at Tanglewood, the BBC Proms, the Munich Biennale, the Settembre Musica Festival, the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival, and the Almeida, Holland, Berlin, Strasbourg and Huddersfield festivals; in theater productions in New York, San Francisco, and London; in the choreography of Twyla Tharp, La La La Human Steps, the Nederlands Dans Theater and the Royal Ballet; and at Lincoln Center, the South Bank Centre, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Barbican Centre, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Recent projects include the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Little Match Girl Passion, commissioned by Carnegie Hall for Paul Hillier’s vocal ensemble, Theater of Voices; Writing On Water for the London Sinfonietta, with visuals by English filmmaker Peter Greenaway; The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, a fully staged opera for the Kronos Quartet; Loud Love Songs, a concerto for the percussionist Evelyn Glennie; and the oratorio Shelter, with co-composers Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe, at the Next Wave Festival of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, staged by Ridge Theater and featuring the Norwegian vocal ensemble Trio Mediaeval.
In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, Lang has received numerous honors and awards, including the Rome Prize, the BMW Music-Theater Prize (Munich), and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1999, he received a Bessie Award for his music for choreographer Susan Marshall’s The Most Dangerous Room in the House, performed live by the Bang on a Can All-Stars at the Next Wave Festival of the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The Carbon Copy Building won the 2000 Village Voice OBIE Award for Best New American Work. The CD recording of The Passing Measures was named one of the best CDs of 2001 by the New Yorker magazine. His most recent recording, ELEVATED (on Cantaloupe), comprises three atmospheric and meditative pieces on CD accompanied by a DVD of the same three pieces interpreted by noted visual artists William Wegman, Bill Morrison, and Matt Mullican.
Lang is cofounder and co-artistic director of New York’s legendary Bang on a Can and Professor of Music Composition at the Yale School of Music. His work is recorded on the Sony Classical, Teldec, BMG, Point, Chandos, Argo/Decca, Caprice, CRI, and Cantaloupe labels. His music is published by Red Poppy (ASCAP) and is distributed worldwide by G. Schirmer, Inc.
More information is available at www.bangonacan.org.
About the Oberlin Conservatory of Music
The Oberlin Conservatory of Music, founded in 1865 and situated amid the intellectual vitality of Oberlin College since 1867, is the oldest continuously operating conservatory in the United States. Renowned internationally as a professional music school of the highest caliber and pronounced a “national treasure” by the Washington Post, Oberlin’s alumni have gone on to achieve illustrious careers in all aspects of the serious music world. Many of them have attained stature as solo performers, composers, and conductors, among them Jennifer Koh, Steven Isserlis, Denyce Graves, Franco Farina, Christopher Robertson, Lisa Saffer, George Walker, Christopher Rouse, Huang Ruo, David Zinman, and Robert Spano. All of the members of the contemporary sextet eighth blackbird, most of the members of the International Contemporary Ensemble, and many of the members of Apollo’s Fire are Oberlin alumni. The Miró, Pacifica, Juilliard, and Fry Street quartets, among other chamber ensembles, include Oberlin-trained musicians, as do major orchestras and opera companies throughout the world.
Articles appearing in the New York Times have acclaimed Oberlin as a “hotbed of contemporary classical players” and acknowledged that Oberlin “has produced some of the top names in contemporary music.” In 2007, in a co-production with Miller Theatre at Columbia University, Oberlin presented the American premiere of Olga Neuwirth’s opera Lost Highway to considerable critical praise. Since 1969 Oberlin has been a pioneering institution in the field of electronic and computer music; its TIMARA Department (Technology in Music and the Related Arts) is renowned throughout the world as one of the leading programs of electronic and computer music for undergraduate students.
For more information about Oberlin, visit www.oberlin.edu/con.
Marci Janas, Director of Conservatory Communications
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