Performance Tuesday, April 29, 2014 | 6 PM

collected stories: memoir

Zankel Hall
Holder of this season's Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair, David Lang serves as director in this culmination of his collected stories series. The program pairs the world premiere of Lang’s mystery sonatas with John Cage’s massive percussion piece that explores the relationship between sound and silence, as well as Cage's Indeterminacy, a performance art piece where stories are recited from 90 randomly selected cue cards, each being read over the course of exactly one minute regardless of length.

This concert is part of My Time, My Music.


  • Paul Lazar, Actor
  • Steven Schick, Percussion
  • Augustin Hadelich, Violin
  • David Lang, Director
  • Eric Southern, Lighting Designer


  • CAGE Indeterminacy
  • CAGE 27'10.554" for a Percussionist
  • CAGE Fontana Mix
  • DAVID LANG mystery sonatas (World Premiere, commissioned by Carnegie Hall)

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately 90 minutes, including one 20-minute intermission.


  • Paul Lazar

    Paul Lazar founded Big Dance Theater in 1991 with Annie-B Parson. His work with the company includes conceiving, directing, and performing in such works as Supernatural Wife (BAM, 2012), Comme Toujours Here I Stand (The Kitchen, 2010), PLAN B, Mac Wellman's Antigone, Another Telepathic Thing, Tristan Tzara's The Gas Heart, Ödön von Horváth's Don Juan Comes Back from the War,  and Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Bremen Freedom. The next Big Dance Theater production, Alan Smithee Directed This Play, premieres in Lyon, France, in spring 2014 and will be performed at BAM in fall 2014. Beside his work with Big Dance Theater, Mr. Lazar has directed Young Jean Lee's We're Gonna Die, which garnered an Obie Award in 2011. He also directed Elephant Room at St. Ann's Warehouse in 2012.

    Mr. Lazar has appeared in The Wooster Group's productions of North Atlantic, Brace Up!, The Emperor Jones,and The Hairy Ape. Other acting credits include Three Sisters, directed by Austin Pendleton; María Irene Fornés's Mud; Richard Maxwell's Cowboys and Indians; Young Jean Lee's Lear; The False Servant; and Richard III, directed by Brian Kulick. Mr. Lazar's film career includes roles inThe Silence of the Lambs, Mickey Blue Eyes, Lorenzo's Oil, Philadelphia, and The Host, as well as numerous other films and television shows. He is an instructor at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. He has taught acting, directing, and theater history at Purchase College, Rutgers University, The William Esper Studio, and the Michael Howard Studios. He received a Bessie Award in 2002.

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  • Steven Schick

    Percussionist, conductor, and author Steven Schick was born in Iowa and raised in a farming family. For 40 years, he has championed contemporary music by commissioning and premiering more than 150 new works. He was the founding percussionist of the Bang on a Can All-Stars (1992-2002) and served as artistic director of the Centre International de Percussion in Geneva (2000-2005). Mr. Schick is founder and artistic director of the red fish blue fish percussion group. He is also currently music director of the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus and artistic director of the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players. In 2015, he will serve as music director of the Ojai Music Festival.

    In 2012, Mr. Schick became the first artist-in-residence with the International Contemporary Ensemble. He is founder and artistic director of "Roots and Rhizomes," a summer course on contemporary percussion music held at The Banff Centre. He maintains a lively schedule of guest conducting, including appearances this season with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the Asko | Schönberg ensemble. His many acclaimed publications include his book The Percussionist's Art: Same Bed, Different Dreams; as well as numerous recordings of contemporary percussion music, including a three-disc set of the complete percussion music of Iannis Xenakis (Mode Records). Mr. Schick teaches at the University of California, San Diego.

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  • Augustin Hadelich

    Augustin Hadelich has confirmed his place in the top echelon of young violinists. He has recently debuted with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl, The Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, and The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra. He has also performed with the symphony orchestras of Baltimore, Dallas, Detroit, Indianapolis, New Jersey, Seattle, and Toronto, in addition to the symphonies of San Francisco, Houston, and St. Louis. Abroad, he has debuted with the BBC Philharmonic in Manchester and the Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, and toured China with the San Diego Symphony.

    A gifted recitalist, Mr. Hadelich has appeared at Carnegie Hall, The Frick Collection, Kennedy Center, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, Vancouver Recital Society, the Louvre in Paris, and Kioi Hall in Tokyo.

    In March 2014, Augustin Hadelich released his first major orchestral CD of the violin concertos of Jean Sibelius and Thomas Adès with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Hannu Lintu for the Avie Records. This is only the second commercial recording of Adès's Violin Concerto, "Concentric Paths." Mr. Hadelich has recorded three previous CDs for Avie, as well as several discs for Naxos.

    The 2006 gold medalist of the International Violin Competition of Indianapolis, Mr. Hadelich is the recipient of Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award (2012), an Avery Fisher Career Grant (2009), and a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship (2011). Mr. Hadelich plays on the 1723 "Ex-Kiesewetter" Stradivarius violin, on loan from Clement and Karen Arrison through the generous efforts of the Stradivari Society.

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  • David Lang

    Passionate and prolific, composer David Lang embodies the restless spirit of invention. He is at the same time deeply versed in the classical tradition and committed to music that resists categorization, constantly creating new forms. Musical America's 2013 Composer of the Year and holder of the 2013-2014 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall, Mr. Lang is one of America's most performed composers. Many of his works resemble each other only in the fierce intelligence and clarity of vision that inform their structures. His catalog is extensive, and his opera, orchestra, chamber, and solo works are by turns ominous, ethereal, urgent, hypnotic, unsettling, and very emotionally direct.

    His work has been performed by the Santa Fe Opera, New York Philharmonic, Netherlands Chamber Choir, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Munich Chamber Orchestra, and Kronos Quartet; in theater productions in New York, San Francisco, and London; and alongside the choreography of Twyla Tharp, La La La Human Steps, Nederlands Dans Theater, and the Paris Opera Ballet. Mr. Lang is the recipient of the Rome Prize, as well as grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, National Endowment for the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, and American Academy of Arts and Letters. His piece the little match girl passion, commissioned by Carnegie Hall, was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Mr. Lang is the co-founder and co-artistic director of New York's legendary music collective Bang on a Can.

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  • Eric Southern

    Lighting designer Eric Southern's recent projects include Play/Pause with choreographer Susan Marshall and David Lang (BAM Next Wave Festival, Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, the Kennedy Center); Paul's Case,  a world-premiere opera by Gregory Spears, directed by Kevin Newbury (UrbanArias, Prototype Festival); The Secret Agent, a world-premiere opera by Michael Dellaira, directed by Sam Helfrich (The Kaye Playhouse, Opéra Grand Avignon, Armel Opera Festival); and a fully staged production of The Messiah by Sam Helfrich (Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra).

    Recent New York theater projects include the long-running off-Broadway production Buyer & Cellar with Michael Urie (Barrow Street Theatre, Rattlestick Playwrights Theater); several productions with 600 Highwaymen, including The Record, This Great Country, Empire City, and Everyone Was Chanting Your Name; Good Television and 10x25 with Atlantic Theater Company; and The Correspondent and The Few at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. Other projects include work with the Magic Theatre, Portland Center Stage, Kansas City Repertory Theatre, Arden Theatre Company, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Lesser America, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Virginia Opera, Opera Santa Barbara, Franklin Stage Company, University of Rochester, Crossroads Theatre Company, Bard College, and The Juilliard School. Mr. Southern received his bachelor's and master's degrees in fine arts at New York University.

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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

Program Notes


David Lang introduces memoir

John Cage's Indeterminacy Parts I and II
John Cage | David Tudor

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 collected stories, and Signatures.

Part of