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David Lang to receive Hans Christian Andersen Prize

March 11, 2013

photo by Peter Serling

Composer David Lang ’89DMA is among those selected to receive this year’s Hans Christian Andersen Prize. He was selected for his composition The Little Match Girl Passion (2007), the piece for which he also won the Pulitzer Prize in Music. The recording of the work (by Theatre of Voices) received a Grammy Award in 2010.

The Hans Christian Andersen Prize is given by the H.C. Andersen Priskomite, located in Andersen’s hometown of Odense, Denmark. The award is presented annually at a ceremony held on April 2, Andersen’s birthday, to people who have contributed to the advancement of the storyteller’s works.

Each honoree receives a copper casting of Andersen’s book The Adventures of My Life, created by sculptor Jens Galschiødt. The award committee aims to promote the knowledge of the works of H.C. Andersen, and to present awards to individuals and organizations, who promote or interpret H.C. Andersen and his works.

This year’s award ceremony takes place at Teaterhuset in Odense, Denmark. The event will include a performance of selections from The Little Match Girl Passion. The other recipients of this year’s award are the Danish actor Christian Steffensen and the Czech duo of Mirka Cápová and Hana Hanácková.

Lang’s award citation notes: “Inspired by Hans Christian Andersen’s story and Johann Sebastian Bach’s great passions, David Lang has through The Little Match Girl Passion added emotional, unforgettable, and last not least a modern aspects to the story about the girl, who in spite of her tragic fate, sees happiness in life.

“In the hands of music, The Little Match Girl Passion has become one of the most important and most spell-binding interpretations of Hans Christian Andersen.”

About David Lang

David Lang is Professor (Adjunct) of Composition at the Yale School of Music. His compositions have been performed by major musical, dance, and theatrical organizations throughout the world, including the Santa Fe Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the San Francisco Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Kronos Quartet, the Nederlands Dans Theater, and the Royal Ballet, and have been performed in the most renowned concert halls and festivals in the United States and Europe.

He is the co-founder and co-artistic director of New York’s legendary music festival Bang on a Can. In 2008 Professor Lang was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music for The Little Match Girl Passion, commissioned by Carnegie Hall for Paul Hillier’s vocal ensemble, Theater of Voices. He has also been honored with the Rome Prize, the BMW Music-Theater Prize (Munich), a Kennedy Center/Friedheim Award, the Revson Fellowship with the New York Philharmonic, a Bessie Award, a Village Voice OBIE Award, 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. His work is recorded on the Sony Classical, Teldec, BMG, Point, Chandos, Argo/Decca, Caprice, Koch, Albany, CRI, and Cantaloupe labels.

David Lang holds degrees from Stanford University and the University of Iowa, and received the D.M.A. from the Yale School of Music in 1989. He has studied with Jacob Druckman, Hans Werner Henze, and Martin Bresnick. His music is published by Red Poppy (ASCAP) and is distributed worldwide by G. Schirmer, Inc. David Lang joined the Yale faculty in 2008.

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