People > Faculty
BACK TO PEOPLE BROWSE

David Lang

Profile Image
David Lang
Professor Adjunct of Composition Yale School of Music
Graduating Class: ’83MMA ’89DMA
At YSM Since: 2008
Award(s): Carnegie Hall’s Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair (2013-2014), Musical America’s Composer of the Year (2013), Pulitzer Prize (2008)
Everything in music connects. The act of making music has two essential parts – the making of it and the receiving of it. In each musical act there is an emotional narrative that moves from the maker – the composer, the performer, or both – to the listener. The complete musical education spends equal time considering what is on both sides of this equation. In private lessons I try to encourage composers to become more aware of how they make their own decisions and of how those decisions affect their ability to communicate. This encouragement often takes the form of asking a lot of hard questions, provoking a lot of conversation, and investigating and discussing music by other composers.

David Lang

Everything in music connects. The act of making music has two essential parts – the making of it and the receiving of it. In each musical act there is an emotional narrative that moves from the maker – the composer, the performer, or both – to the listener. The complete musical education spends equal time considering what is on both sides of this equation. In private lessons I try to encourage composers to become more aware of how they make their own decisions and of how those decisions affect their ability to communicate. This encouragement often takes the form of asking a lot of hard questions, provoking a lot of conversation, and investigating and discussing music by other composers.

David Lang’s music has been performed by major music, dance, and theater organizations throughout the world, and in the most renowned concert halls and festivals in the United States and Europe. He is well-known as co-founder and co-Artistic Director of New York’s legendary music festival Bang on a Can. Active in composing for film and television, Lang’s music for Paolo Sorrentino’s film YOUTH received Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations, among others.

At the Yale School of Music, Lang teaches a studio of graduate-level composition students and teaches a class in composition to performance majors. His works have been performed many times on Yale’s New Music New Haven concert series. During the summer, Lang is a faculty member at the New Music Workshop at the Yale Summer School of Music/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival.

Lang’s music has been recorded on numerous labels. The CD of his Pulitzer Prize-winning work the little match girl passion, performed by the vocal ensemble Theatre of Voices on the Harmonia Mundi label, won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance.

Lang holds degrees from Stanford University and the University of Iowa and received a doctor of musical arts degree 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).

Performances
Santa Fe Opera, New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra, Kronos Quartet, Nederlands Dans Theater, Royal Ballet (London)