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401 | David Lang on Music for Crowds
401 | David Lang on Music for Crowds
Monday, October 30 | 6 - 7 PM
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law
Thorne Auditorium
375 E Chicago Ave | Chicago, IL | 60611
  • Members: $12
  • Public: $15
  • Students and Teachers: $10

“Writing music is not about yourself. If done right, it’s an act of citizenship.” — David Lang

Known for co-founding the musical collective Bang on a Can, his Pulitzer Prize-winning piece The Little Match Girl Passion, and his Academy Award-nominated music for Paolo Sorrentino's film Youth, David Lang’s compositions challenge distinctions between classical, folk, and pop. His recent work has also upended the process of writing lyrics, turning to the Internet search engine for inspiration: The text for crowd out, which CHF brought to Chicago in early October for its North American premiere, is composed of responses to Lang’s query “When I am in a crowd I…” Join him for a discussion of his crowd–sourced creative process and body of work as well as select songs performed by Northwestern University's Bienen Contemporary/Early Vocal Ensemble featuring conductor, Donald Nally.

This program is generously underwritten by Elizabeth A. Liebman and is presented in partnership with Illinois Humanities and Chicago Architectural Biennial.


David Lang is one of America's most esteemed and performed composers. Many of his works resemble each other only in the fierce intelligence and clarity of vision that inform their structures. His catalogue is extensive, and his opera, orchestra, chamber and solo works are by turns ominous, ethereal, urgent, hypnotic, unsettling and very emotionally direct. Much of his work seeks to expand the definition of virtuosity in music — even the deceptively simple pieces can be fiendishly difficult to play and require incredible concentration by musicians and audiences alike. Lang has received a Pulitzer prize for music composition, was nominated for both the Golden Globe and Oscar for Best Original Song, and is a recipient of the Rome Prize.

Donald Nally is responsible for imagining, programming, commissioning, and conducting at The Crossing, the Grammy-nominated, internationally recognized new-music choir in Philadelphia. He is also the John W. Beattie Chair in Music and director of choral organizations at Northwestern University.

  • Elizabeth A. Liebman Program
  • On sale to members on 9/19 at 10am and on sale to public on 9/26 at 10am.