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Biography

  • Born

    8 January 1957 (age 62)

  • Born In

    Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, United States

David Lang (born 8 January 1957 in Los Angeles, California) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer. Together with Julia Wolfe and Michael Gordon, Lang co-founded Bang on a Can in 1987. His first recognition came from the BMI Foundation's Student Composer Awards in 1980 and 1981.

He was a major contributor to the string quartet music, performed by Kronos Quartet, in the film Requiem for a Dream (2000). In 1999 he collaborated with composers Julia Wolfe and Michael Gordon, and librettist/illustrator Ben Katchor, in the the "comic strip opera" The Carbon Copy Building. The production won an Obie Award for Best New American Production. In 2008 Lang won the Pulitzer Prize for music for his Little Match Girl Passion. Based on the story by Hans Christian Anderson and taking its structure from the passions of Bach, the piece was written for Theatre of Voices and Paul Hillier.

"David Lang" is also the name of a character in a commonly cited vanishing hoax. In this story, first printed in Fate Magazine in 1953 by journalist Stuart Palmer, a man named "David Lang" was walking across a field on September 23, 1880 when he vanished mid-step and in full view of others. The article was later determined be a hoax inspired by a short story published in 1909 by Ambrose Bierce. In 1999, the composer David Lang based his opera "The Difficulty of Crossing a Field" on this Bierce story .

Lang holds degrees from Stanford University, the University of Iowa, and Yale University (DMA, 1989). His teachers have included Richard Hervig, Jacob Druckman, Hans Werner Henze, and Martin Bresnick.

Lang's music has been released on the Argo/Decca, BMG, Cantaloupe Music, Chandos, CRI, Point, and Sony Classical labels. His scores are published by Red Poppy Music (available from G. Schirmer, Inc.)

His notable students include Kevin Puts.

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