Composer David Lang on new work, crossing genres, and more

Posted on: August 16, 2019

“For 12 hours during a marathon performance ultimately aimed at building bridges between classical and new music in 1987, composer David Lang and other musicians earned swift and appreciative acclaim for what he called ‘banging on a can,’ ” writes Lou Fancher in Tuesday’s (8/13) San Francisco Classical Voice. “As fans of innovations in sound know, the energetic music collective Lang co-founded with Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe is today the performing arts organization Bang on a Can…. Lang has independently enjoyed accolades: notably winning a 2008 Pulitzer Prize and a 2010 Grammy Award for the little match girl passion.… His works are performed all over.… Lang says there is audience enthusiasm for connecting classical music to new genres and art forms, but institutions are slow to adapt…. Composers—Lang among them—can never be sure a new piece will have lasting value. But he knows the feature he recognizes in music with lasting value: ‘Work that’s worthy of hearing more than once is work that doesn’t resolve itself. A work that ends with all the ribbons tied up neatly may be successful, but it’s one you don’t need to hear again…. That’s satisfying, but my life doesn’t solve problems that way.’ ”

Posted August 16, 2019