David Lang: Beginnings
David Lang's residency as Carnegie Hall's 2013–2014 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair begins this week with two events—New Voices, New Music on Wednesday, and So Percussion on Saturday. Earlier this year, he shared a story about Carnegie Hall's role in one of his earliest memories of music.
“I feel like Carnegie Hall has been with me as long as I knew what music was.”
David Lang: "The first time I became aware of Carnegie Hall actually, was because the New York Philharmonic used to play at Carnegie Hall, and the New York Philharmonic with Leonard Bernstein played Young Person’s Concerts. That’s why I’m a composer, actually, so probably I am a composer because of Carnegie Hall. The story is very embarrassing for me, or very revealing, because when I was nine, living in Los Angeles, I knew nothing about classical music. (My family was completely unmusical.) It was raining and we couldn't go out and play in the yard of our elementary school, and they took us into the auditorium during lunch and, just to keep us quiet, they showed us a movie of a Leonard Bernstein Young Person’s Concert in Carnegie Hall. On that concert, Bernstein was conducting Shostakovitch's First Symphony, and he turned to the children in the audience and said, “Children, Dmitri Shostakovitch wrote this piece when he was 19 years old and became world famous overnight,” and I remember thinking, “I have ten years.” And after that, I became a composer. I feel like Carnegie Hall has been with me as long as I knew what music was."
Related: Exclusive Sampler - David Lang