[IMAGE] The Wall Street Journal

Julia Wolfe’s ‘Fire in my mouth’ focuses on 1911 factory tragedy and the plight of working women in the early 20th century



David Lang’s true pearl: an opera in five tapestries (with libretto by Sybil Kempson), is inspired by Isabella Stewart Gardner’s sixteenth-century tapestries that tell the story of the first king of Persia, Cyrus the Great. The five-part “in-ear opera” is a private experience, available only through headphones in the Museum’s Tapestry Room. The “stage set” for each scene is an individual tapestry from the Cyrus series, and listeners are immediately immersed into tales of empire building and passion.

true pearl is premiered on October 4 by vocal project Roomful of Teeth and the Callithumpian Consort ensemble, conducted by Stephen Drury.

Please go here for more information on this one and only live performance of the work.

For five consecutive nights this fall — October 3-7, 2018 — 1,000 singers from across New York City will come together on the High Line for the world premiere of the mile-long opera — conceived by architects Diller Scofidio + Renfro and David Lang, with music by Lang, text by Anne Carson and Claudia Rankine and staging by directors Elizabeth Diller and Lynsey Peisinger. Audience members will be active participants in this ambitious work as they walk along the park: moving in and out of groups of singers, the audience will be immersed in hundreds of stories inspired by the accounts of a wide range of New Yorkers, about life in our rapidly changing city.


This season, the New York Philharmonic concludes their three-week-long Music of Conscience initiative, as well as their subscription season, with the world premiere of David Lang’s opera prisoner of the state on June 6–8, 2019, conducted by their new Music Director Jaap van Zweden. Co-commissioned by the New York Philharmonic, Rotterdam's de Doelen Concert Hall, London’s Barbican Centre, Barcelona’s l’Auditori, Bochum Symphony Orchestra, and Bruges’s Concertgebouw, prisoner of the state is the story of a woman who disguises herself as a prison guard to rescue her husband from unjust political imprisonment.


This season, the New York Philharmonic, led by their new Music Director Jaap van Zweden, examines New York City's roots as a destination of immigrants during New York Stories: Threads of Our City. The centerpiece for the season is the world premiere, January 24–26, of Julia Wolfe’s Fire in my mouth, commissioned by the orchestra, Cal Performances at the University of California, Berkeley; the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the University Musical Society at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


The PBS documentary "Symphony for Nature" is broadcast nationwide tells the story of the premiere of Michael Gordon's inspirational work Natural History for orchestra, chorus, and Native American drummers. 

The full recording of Natural History has been released on Cantaloupe Music in conjunction with the broadcast of the documentary. Click here to stream the full recording.


On January 20, Julia Wolfe joins the U-M Contemporary Directions Ensemble, directed by Oriol Sans, for an evening of conversation and performances of her small ensemble works.

This concert is part of a week-long residency by Ms. Wolfe (a U-M alum) to develop Fire in my Mouth, an evening-length orchestral work co-commissioned by UMS with the New York Philharmonic, Cal Performances and the Krannert Center.

This event is free and open to the public; no tickets required.

With a blue dress on (2010)
Cha (2015)
Dark Full Ride (2009)
Tell me everything (1994)

I became a composer because, when I was nine years old, I saw a movie of Leonard Bernstein conducting Shostakovich’s First Symphony with the New York Philharmonic. I fell in love immediately with the music of Shostakovich, with the idea of being a composer, with the orchestra itself. I was so in love with Shostakovich, in fact, that I immersed myself in his music, and then all Russian music, then I studied the Russian language in school, I read all the Russian literature I could find, and I spent the summer of 1975 studying in the Soviet Union.


NYT Review: A B-Movie Starlet Becomes an Opera Diva in ‘Acquanetta’

By Seth Colter Walls
January 10, 2018

A large screen looms over the stage. Projected onto it is a black-and-white close-up on an eyeball, fluttering in a state of nervous distress.

An overture, powered by distorted electric guitar and staccato strings, accompanies this sooty B-movie-style image. A choir grasps toward high-pitched wails. Everything blares.


Listen to a "mixtape" produced by Björk that includes two excerpts by David Lang! death speaks and sweet air! enjoy!


From November 5-11, two European festivals feature music by Julia Wolfe:

• 11/5: Sounds of Music Festival (Groningen, NL) — the JACK Quartet performs Early that summer
• 11/7: Strings of Autumn Fesitval (Prague, CZ) — Bang on a Can All-Stars perform Anthracite Fields with Martinů Voices
• 11/8: Sounds of Music Festival — Trash Panda Collective presents Dark Full Ride


<!-- VIDEO FILTER - INVALID CODEC IN: [VIDEO] --> watch excerpts from LMGP


On October 27, 2007 Paul Hillier and Theatre of Voices premiered David Lang's the little match girl passion in Carnegie Hall. The composition won Lang a Pulitzer Prize, the recording won a Grammy Award, and the score has since become one of the most performed new works in the world.

Staged by Glimmerglass Opera and Portland Opera, choreographed by the Paris Opera Ballet and the Royal Swedish Ballet, with theatrical productions in Moscow, London, Edinburgh, and Sydney, it has been performed over 400 times across 35 countries.


From May 10-13, Peak Performances in Montclair, NJ presents cellist Maya Beiser and friends in a new evening-length work by Julia Wolfe called “Spinning”, which celebrates the work once performed by hand by women. Music has long been a vital part of the craft — both as a propelling force and as a distraction. To pay homage to the human dignity of this “women’s work,” Wolfe and Beiser create a sonic universe for three cellos and voice performed by Beiser with Melody Giron and Lavena Johanson featuring multimedia projections imagined by the innovative artist Laurie Olinder.


From January 9 - 14, the Prototype Festival presents a new, commissioned, chamber version of Michael Gordon's opera Acquanetta at the Gelsey Kirkland Arts Center in DUMBO, Brooklyn. Based on a 1940's B-movie horror flick called Captive Wild Woman, starring an enigmatic actress and former cheesecake model named Acquanetta, the opera's libretto is written by Deborah Artman.


On February 8, in Benaryoa Hall, conductor Ludovic Morlot and the Seattle Symphony premiere David Lang's first symphony: symphony without a hero, commissioned for the Seattle Symphony by the Lynn and Brian Grant Family. The 27-minute work is in one movement, with two related parts — two separate musical movements that are performed simultaneously: one heavy and oppressive and one light and hopeful. Lang explains that one doesn't "really hear the light and hopeful music until the oppressive movement ends." 

August 1-2, conductor Louis Langrée with Sō Percussion and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, give the New York premiere of David Lang's man made. In this percussion quartet concerto, Lang combines found percussion (sticks, pipes, metal trash) with orchestral instruments in a unique and incredibly compelling work commissioned by the Barbican Centre and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Watch a video about the concerto with Lang and So Percussion.

Lang comments on the concerto:


On Saturday July 1 The Crossing Choir premieres Michael Gordon's concert-length work, Anonymous Man. The text is drawn from Gordon's experiences living in a changing neighborhood on a street called Desbrosses in Lower Manhattan, meeting Julia Wolfe (to whom he is married), raising a family, and especially encounters with two homeless men who lived across the street.


In May, Michael Gordon receives orchestral premieres: The Unchanging Sea (Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra) and CORPUS (Ballett Zürich)

On May 19, the Rotterdam Philharmonic with pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama and conductor Bas Wiegers gives the Dutch premiere of Gordon's The Unchanging Sea, with a new film by Bill Morrison.


On April 25-27, at the Garnisonskirken in Copenhagen, the Theatre of Voices with condutor Paul Hillier present music from the film The Great Beauty by director Paolo Sorrentino, featuring music by David Lang.

Lang's i lie, wed, head hear, and Simple Song #3 (from Sorrentino's YOUTH) will be performed alondside works by Arvo Pärt and Jóhann Jóhannson. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017
Louisville Symphony Orchestra

Teddy Abrams, conductor
Louisville, KY


just (after song of songs)

Now featured on the international bestselling album I See You by British band The xx.

Listen to The xx here

Listen to Lang's original work here

See the UK premiere at the Royal College of Music

Perform just (after song of songs) with your ensemble!

From January 7-14, the Prototype Festival presents the New York premiere of David Lang's anatomy theater, co-produced by Beth Morrison Projects, with set design by Mark Dion, direction by Bob McGrath, conductor Christopher Rountree and the International Contemporary Ensemble, plus Bill Morrison (video), Laurie Olinder (projection), Christopher Kuhl (lighting), and Alixandra Gage Englund (costumes).

Based on actual 18th-century texts, anatomy theater follows the astonishing progression of an English murderess: from confession to execution and, ultimately, public dissection before a paying audience of fascinated onlookers. Through the miracle of opera, she sings through it all.


Timber Remixed
with Mantra Percussion

now available on Cantaloupe Music

featuring remixes by Squarepusher, Oneohtrix Point Never, Tim Hecker, Fennesz, Hauschka, Greg Saunier & more...

2-disc set includes Mantra Percussion's live recording of Timber from the 2014 Bang on a Can Marathon

Also available on limited edition 180g vinyl with six remixes + download card


Julia Wolfe has been named a 2016 MacArthur Fellow. The MacArthur Fellows Program awards unrestricted fellowships to “talented individuals who have shown extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction.” 

Go to for more information.


click to read the NYT review

“...the score is a model of how music can animate words. The text is set with impressive clarity, and Mr. Gilfry sings every phrase with crisp diction and dramatic point, delivering phrases with virile energy, sudden bluster, or, during vulnerable moments, an aching confusion that takes you by surprise.”
— Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

David Lang's the loser

the loser September 7-11, 2016. Brooklyn Academy of Music. Gilman Opera House.

He appears to float in the nothingness. Confined to a tall tower 20 feet above the seats, he is alone, broken, and has a story to tell.


On August 13, David Lang's the public domain was given its world premiere at Lincoln Center's Mostly Mozart Festival.

Read a selection of reviews of the performance, plus video of the show from the NY Times:

click here for New York Times review.

video from NY Times livestream:

NPR review:

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