David Lang Appointed as IAS Artist-in-Residence

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Alexandra Altman
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The Institute for Advanced Study has announced the appointment of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang as Artist-in-Residence effective July 1, 2016. Lang will curate the Institute’s Edward T. Cone Concert Series as well as pursue his creative work as part of the Institute’s community of scholars.

Peter Serling

Lang is the recipient of the prestigious Pulitzer Prize (2008) for his piece The Little Match Girl Passion, which The New Yorker called “one of the most original and moving scores in years.” Based on a fable by Hans Christian Andersen and Lang’s own rewriting of the libretto to Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passion, the recording of the piece was also awarded a 2010 Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance. In addition to these works, Lang’s Simple Song #3, written as part of his score for Paolo Sorrentino’s acclaimed film Youth, received many award nominations in 2016, including an Academy Award and Golden Globe.

“We are thrilled that David will be the Institute’s next Artist-in-Residence,” said Robbert Dijkgraaf, Director and Leon Levy Professor at the Institute. “This appointment speaks to the growing role of the Artist-in-Residence program and the importance of using music as a tool to bring together different academic disciplines and perspectives.”

“I am very excited to be the new Artist-in-Residence at the Institute for Advanced Study,” said Lang. “The Institute is a legendary home for independent thought and it is a great honor to become an active member of this community of powerful thinkers. I thank the Institute and previous Artists-in-Residence for building this residency into such a meaningful program.”

The Artist-in-Residence program was established at the Institute in 1994 to create a musical presence within the Institute community and to have in residence a person whose work could be experienced and appreciated by scholars from all disciplines. Pianist Robert Taub was the first Artist-in-Residence (1994­–2001), followed by Jon Magnussen (2000–2007), Paul Moravec (2007–2009) and Derek Bermel (2009­–2013). Lang succeeds composer Sebastian Currier, who was named Artist-in-Residence in 2013.

“David is an engaging and thoughtful composer who has wide intellectual interests and is very influential in the field,” said Currier. “I believe David will quickly become an important presence at the Institute and I’m very excited for what his appointment will bring to the community.”

Lang’s works are performed worldwide by the BBC Symphony, the International Contemporary Ensemble, eighth blackbird, Santa Fe Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the Netherlands Chamber Choir, the Boston Symphony, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, the Kronos Quartet and many others. Lang’s music has also been featured at venues such as Lincoln Center, the Southbank Centre, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Barbican Centre, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and festivals such as Tanglewood, the BBC Proms, MusicNOW Festival, The Munich Biennale, the Settembre Musica Festival, the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival and the Almeida, Holland, Berlin, Adelaide and Strasbourg Festivals.

Lang’s music is used regularly for ballet and modern dance around the world by choreographers such as Twyla Tharp, Susan Marshall, Edouard Lock and Benjamin Millepied, who choreographed a new piece by Lang for the LA Dance Project at BAM in 2014. Lang’s work also includes music for many films including the score for Jonathan Parker’s (Untitled), the music for the award-winning documentary The Woodmans, and the string arrangements for Requiem for a Dream, performed by the Kronos Quartet. His music is also on the soundtrack for Paolo Sorrentino’s Oscar-winning La Grande Bellezza.

In addition to winning the Pulitzer Prize, Lang is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including Musical America’s Composer of the Year, Carnegie Hall’s 2013­–14 Debs Composer’s Chair, 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. Lang received the Bessie Award (1999) for his music in 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. His piece The Carbon Copy Building won the 2000 Village Voice OBIE Award for Best New American Work and the recording of The Passing Measures (Cantaloupe Records, 2001) was named one of the best CDs of 2001 byThe New Yorker. Additionally, his CD Pierced (Naxos, 2008) was praised both on the rock music site Pitchfork and in the classical magazine Gramophone, and was called his “most exciting new work in years” by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Lang is Professor of Composition at the Yale School of Music in addition to his work as a composer. He is also co-founder and co-artistic director of New York’s legendary music collective Bang on a Can. Lang’s music is published by Red Poppy Music (ASCAP) and is distributed worldwide by G. Schirmer, Inc.

About the Artist-in-Residence Program

The Artist-in-Residence program was established at the Institute for Advanced Study in 1994 to create a musical presence within the Institute community and to have in residence a person whose work could be experienced and appreciated by scholars from all disciplines. Pianist Robert Taub was the first Artist-in-Residence from 1994 to 2001, followed by composer Jon Magnussen, who served as Artist-in-Residence from 2000 to 2007. Paul Moravec served as Artist-in-Residence from 2007 to 2008 and Artistic Consultant from 2008 to 2009. Derek Bermel, a composer, clarinetist, conductor and jazz and rock musician, served as Artist-in-Residence from 2009 to June 2013.

Composer Sebastian Currier became Artist-in-Residence in July 2013. His complex and imaginative works have been performed by such eminent artists and ensembles as Anne-Sophie Mutter, Berlin Philharmonic, Kronos Quartet and the New York Philharmonic. A recipient of the prestigious Grawemeyer Award, Currier has received numerous honors including the Berlin Prize, the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship and an Academy Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.