Performance Saturday, April 26, 2014 | 6 PM

collected stories: travel

Zankel Hall
The Années de pèlerinage is a massive undertaking for any pianist, clocking in at more than 180 minutes and requiring extreme ranges of virtuosic fireworks and emotional commitment. Written by “the Hungarian composer and pianist who was the 19th-century forerunner of Lang Lang and Lady Gaga” (Los Angeles Times), this musical diary is a travelogue of the composer’s years of pilgrimage, summing up memories and visions inspired by his physical and psychic journey. Dynamic pianist Louis Lortie brings “brilliance and authority” (The New York Times) to a marathon concert of this spellbinding masterwork in its entirety.


  • Louis Lortie, Piano


  • LISZT Années de pèlerinage (complete)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately three and one-half hours, including two 20-minute intermissions.


Liszt's Années de pèlerinage (Troisième année, "Les jeux d'eaux à la Villa d'Este")
Louis Lortie, Piano

About collected stories

At the start, I have to say that I am something of a composer groupie. I love writing music and I love the other people who write music, no matter what kind of music they write or when they wrote it. I really believe that I belong to an international community of composers, stretching across all boundaries of time and place, regardless of style or category.

It's not the way we are normally taught to listen. Music and the people who make it can get separated from each other—by time, culture, genre, commerce. It makes it easy for us if all the different kinds of music stay separated. If everything sits neatly in a particular category, it gets much simpler to find the music you already know and to avoid the music you don't. But because I am a composer groupie, I always want to listen to music outside of these categories so I can pay attention to the things that different kinds of music and composers might have in common, and to consider their differences.

collected stories looks at one of music's more universal functions, namely how often music gets called upon to help tell different kinds of stories. What I am particularly interested in is how the act of composing changes depending on what kind of story the composer is trying to tell.

I started thinking about this in the mid-1990s when I was finishing two commissions at the same time. One was a giant grand opera for Santa Fe, an extravaganza with a big cast and chorus and speaking roles and children and ballet dancers. The other was a loud, aggressively static piece for the English post-rock ensemble Icebreaker. As I went back and forth from one composition to the other, I could really feel my approach change. The opera required me to tell a story, to reveal things in such a way that the audience experienced surprise, shock, elation, and sadness. In the opera, everyone experienced those things pretty much at the same time. The static piece was more like an object, an odd thing that changed very slowly. It didn't tell the listeners much about what they should feel or when they should feel it. I began to notice how my job, my skills, my musicality, my aesthetic sense all changed, depending on the needs of the piece in front of me.

collected stories divides the world not by genre or style, but by the various kinds of stories that a piece of music can tell in order to see how the story and the composer work together. The pieces I chose highlight some of the different ways a composer's job changes. But the truth is that everything on this series is music with which I have a long relationship and that I love. All of it. I hope you will too.

—David Lang


David Lang introduces travel

Part of collected stories, curated by David Lang.
David Lang is the holder of the 2013–2014 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall.
This performance is part of Non-Subscription Events, and collected stories.

Part of

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