Composers David Lang '83 MMA, '89 DMA, a member of the YSM composition faculty, and Alvin Singleton '71 MMA were recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Lang, who holds Carnegie Hall’s Richard and Barbara Debs Chair in Composition for the 2013–2014 season, is the winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Music.
Also among this year's inductees into the American Academy are fiction writers Denis Johnson, Ha Jin, and Tobias Wolff; fiction writer-essayist Wendell Berry; photographer Robert Adams; and artists Ann Hamilton and Bill Jensen. Cookbook author and restaurateur Alice Waters will become an American honorary member, the academy said Thursday. Foreign honorary members include composer-pianist Magnus Lindberg; novelists Haruki Murakami, Colm Toibin, and John Banville; architect Toyo Ito, and expressionist painter Leon Kossoff. The academy, founded in 1898, is an honor society with a core membership of 250 writers, musicians and artists.
Inductees are voted in by current members, who include figures such as Toni Morrison and Stephen Sondheim. They formally join the academy at a ceremony in May, when the keynote speech, called the Blashfield Address, will be given by critic and Harvard University professor Elaine Scarry. Previous keynoters have included Helen Keller, Robert Frost and Edward Albee.