Performance Sunday, April 27, 2014 | 6 PM

collected stories: (post)folk

Zankel Hall
Hailed as “one of the most vital and original ensembles on the American music scene” (The New York Times), Alarm Will Sound and its fearless Artistic Director Alan Pierson uncover how composers utilize musical language to underscore factual and fictional history. The group performs Donnacha Dennehy’s Grá agus Bás, which weaves traditional Irish music into contemporary forms to address the ebb of ancient morphing into the present. The program also includes the US premiere of Richard Ayres No. 42 In the Alps, incorporating yodeling and other folk idioms to articulate the tale of a young plane crash survivor, portrayed by the haunting Jennifer Zetlan, as well as the world premieres of commissions by Australian composer Kate Moore and avant-garde virtuoso guitarist Kaki King.

Please note that soprano Kiera Duffy has withdrawn from this performance due to illness. Jennifer Zetlan has graciously agreed to perform in her place.

This concert is part of My Time, My Music.


  • Alarm Will Sound
    Alan Pierson, Artistic Director and Conductor
  • Iarla Ó Lionáird, Voice
  • Jennifer Zetlan, Soprano
  • Kaki King, Guitar


  • KAKI KING Other Education (World Premiere, commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • KATE MOORE The Art of Levitation (World Premiere, commissioned by Carnegie Hall)
  • RICHARD AYRES No. 42 In the Alps (US Premiere)

Event Duration

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


Donnacha Dennehy's Grá agus Bás
Crash Ensemble | Alan Pierson, Conductor | Dawn Upshaw, Soprano

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 (post)folk

Part of collected stories, curated by David Lang.
Lead support for Carnegie Hall commissions is provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
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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