2019–20 Edward T. Cone Concert Series
October 4 & 5
Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble
Meredith Monk is one of the world’s most inventive composers. She has had to be inventive—since the 1960’s she has pioneered a way of performing that is so genre defying that no individual existing medium or structure can wholly describe her. Starting as a singer and a composer she soon began mixing dance, theater, costume, and film into her performances. She invented her own sonic vocabulary that was beyond traditional language and notation. In order to make work that crosses so many boundaries she has had to invent her own way of making it, her own way of teaching it, and her own way of training a generation of singers and performers in how to perform it with her. The result is the creation of a way of singing that is unmatched in its immediacy, its intimacy and its invention.
At these concerts, Monk will be joined by renowned members of her Vocal Ensemble, Katie Geissinger and Allison Sniffin.
November 15 & 16
Robert Schumann’s Kreisleriana is a piece we often think of when we think of virtuosic romantic piano music—flashy, brilliant, massive, astonishingly and jaw-droppingly hard. Schumann was both a composer and a virtuoso pianist. Pianist Conrad Tao, himself a composer and a virtuoso, performs the Schumann and other works by composer/pianists that explore the shifting equilibrium between composer and performer.
This concert is supported by a grant from the PNC Foundation.
January 31 & February 1
Vicki Ray and Flux Quartet
How long is a piece of music? We don’t usually think of the duration of a piece of music as its most important feature. Most composers want us to pay attention to their use of melody, or harmony, or color, or form. But there are pieces that get their power from how short or how long they are, and composers have to do things differently to make us notice that the foreground of a piece is the time it takes to play it. The Flux quartet plays Stravinsky’s early Three Pieces—a complete and revolutionary work in three movements that only lasts 4 minutes—and is joined by pianist Vicki Ray in Morton Feldman’s lush, delicate, 80 minute-long Piano and String Quartet.
March 13 & 14
Before people wrote our stories down our poets would declaim them. The Odyssey, Tristan and Isolde, Beowulf—many of our literary classics have their roots in the spoken word, and they were recited for generations before anyone thought of trying to capture them on paper. It is speculated that music played a part in how such long and complicated stories could be remembered and retold—patterns in the text become underlined by patterns in the music, making them easier to keep straight. In a tour de force of storytelling, mediaeval music scholar and performer Benjamin Bagby recreates the experience of how music supports the telling of the story of Beowulf. The famed warrior comes alive as Bagby sings, speaks, intones and howls the story at us, in Anglo Saxon, accompanied by mediaeval harp and with projected supertitles in English.
About Artist-in-Residence David Lang
David Lang is a Pulitzer Prize–winning composer who begins his second three-year term as IAS Artist-in-Residence. As part of his residency, Lang will pursue his creative work as part of the Institute community and exchange ideas with scholars from all disciplines. In an exploration of mastery, meaning, and experience, Lang will also curate the 2019–20 Edward T. Cone Concert Series and present a series of talks and special presentations, all connected by the theme of VIRTUOSITY.
Lang’s recent works include his opera prisoner of the state, which premiered in June 2019 with the New York Philharmonic; the score for Paolo Sorrentino’s film Youth, which received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations; man made, a concerto for So Percussion and orchestra; anatomy theater, an opera written in collaboration with visual artist Mark Dion; the public domain, a commission from Lincoln Center for one thousand amateur singers; and the loser, an opera based on the novel by Thomas Bernhard, for which Lang served as librettist, composer, and stage director. Lang is Professor of Music Composition at the Yale School of Music and Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director of New York’s legendary music festival Bang on a Can.
Lang became Artist-in-Residence in July 2016. His works have been performed worldwide by distinguished artists and ensembles, including 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, and the Kronos Quartet. A recipient of the prestigious Grammy Award, Lang has received numerous honors, 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.
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. Following Bermel, composer Sebastian Currier served as the Artist-in-Residence from 2013 to June 2016. 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.
David Lang, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer, became Artist-in-Residence in July 2016. His works have been performed worldwide by distinguished artists and ensembles, including 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, and the Kronos Quartet. A recipient of the prestigious Grammy Award, Lang has received numerous honors, 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 is a Professor of Music Composition at the Yale School of Music and is co-founder and co-artistic director of New York's legendary music festival Bang on a Can.
Constructed between 1991 and 1993, the Institute for Advanced Study’s 220-seat Wolfensohn Hall was built to serve as both lecture and concert hall. As the first new construction since 1969, the auditorium was named for James and Elaine Wolfensohn. Mr. Wolfensohn, former President of the World Bank, is Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Trustees at the Institute. The hall has been called “an instrument for sound,” (U.S. 1, April 13, 1994) as its physical appearance suggests: the curving side wall panels, articulated by horizontal stripes of red fabric covering, are made of wood. To attain acoustical excellence, the project’s designer, Jeff Paine, worked closely with the Boston-based acoustical design firm, Acentech. The design features open trusses overhead, with nothing to stop the resonance of sound. The only structures which absorb sound are in the rear wall, inhibiting sound from bouncing back toward the stage. That Wolfensohn Hall turned out to be a fine concert hall is no accident: Mr. Wolfensohn is an amateur cellist and an old friend of violinist Isaac Stern. (Stern surprised the Institute community by playing the inaugural concert for Wolfensohn Hall in April 1993, and sharing the program with Wolfensohn’s daughter, Sara, an accomplished pianist.) Wolfensohn Hall’s architect, Caesar Pelli and Associates, is known for the Carnegie Hall tower and one of the Museum of Modern Art expansions and renovations, as well as Princeton University’s DeNunzio aquatic building. The designer, Jeff Paine, has served as project manager for some of the firm’s most high-profile creations – including Manhattan’s four-tower World Financial Center and the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles.
Support the Artist-in-Residence Program
The Institute is pleased to make concerts and related talks featuring well-known performers and others from the music world freely available to the community, and we are delighted with the large crowds that regularly attend the performances. IAS is committed to providing our concerts free of charge, and we invite you to help us sustain that commitment by making a contribution to support the Edward T. Cone Concert Series. Your gift, along with the gifts of others who have enjoyed these concerts, will help us to continue to develop and offer outstanding musical programs. Make an online donation or contact Kathleen Eastman for further assistance.