Performance Friday, January 27, 2012 | 6 PM

Making Music: David Lang

Zankel Hall
In October 2007, Paul Hillier and Theatre of Voices premiered David Lang’s little match girl passion; only a few months later, it won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for music. On this concert, part of the Making Music series that focuses on today’s leading composers, Hillier and his acclaimed vocal group return to perform Lang’s poignant work, followed by some of today's most exciting independent rock musicians who give the New York premiere of a newly composed companion piece.


  • Commentary by David Lang
  • Theatre of Voices
    ·· Else Torp, Soprano
    ·· Miriam Andersén, Mezzo
    ·· Chris Watson, Tenor
    ·· Jakob Bloch Jespersen, Bass
    ·· Jonas Jensen, Sound Design
    ·· Paul Hillier, Artistic Director
  • Bryce Dessner, Vocals and Guitar
  • Shara Worden, Vocals and Guitar
  • Owen Pallett, Vocals and Violin
  • Nico Muhly, Keyboards
  • Jeremy Geffen, Series Moderator


  • the little match girl passion
  • death speaks (NY Premiere, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall)


  • Theatre of Voices

    Theatre of Voices received a Grammy Award for its recording of the little match girl passion in 2010-the year of the group's 20th anniversary. The ensemble was founded by Paul Hillier and is widely recognized as one of Europe's foremost vocal groups. Current projects include music that ranges from Pérotin to Dowland to Buxtehude, as well as many eminent composers of today and recent years, such as Berio, Cage, Stockhausen, Arvo Pärt, and Steve Reich.

    In 2007, members of the group performed John Adams's Grand Pianola Music in Los Angeles, conducted by the composer. The ensemble regularly performs at Edinburgh Festival, the BBC Proms, Sacrum Profanum festival, and the Barbican, and has opened Berliner Festspiele with Stockhausen's Stimmung at the composer's own request.

    Theatre of Voices works with some of the world's best instrumentalists. It has premiered Gavin Bryars's The Stone Arch with Kronos Quartet, and presented The Afterlife of Li Jiantong by Chinese composer Liu Sola at the Barbican and the Takkelloftet in Copenhagen. Theatre of Voices is currently working with London Sinfonietta on a new round of music by Danish composer Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen, with more premieres and recordings to come later this year.

    The past few seasons have included tours to Australia, Sweden, the UK, Mexico, Denmark, Italy, France, Poland, Belgium, Germany, Portugal, Holland, and Ireland. The group's most recent CDs include Cries of London (English Renaissance music), Stockhausen's Stimmung (the Copenhagen version), Stories (Berio and more), and The Christmas Story. The ensemble also has released Buxtehude's Scandinavian Cantatas-the first in a series of five CDs. In April, Theatre of Voices will release Creator Spiritus, an album of music by Arvo Pärt. Visit for more information.

    Paul Hillier

    Paul Hillier is from Dorset in England and studied at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. His career has embraced singing, conducting, and writing about music. Earlier in his career, he was founding director of the Hilliard Ensemble, and he subsequently founded Theatre of Voices. He has taught in the US at the Santa Cruz and Davis campuses of the University of California and from 1996-2003 was director of the Early Music Institute at Indiana University. He was principal conductor of the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir (2001-2007) and has been chief conductor of Ars Nova Copenhagen since 2003. His recordings, including seven solo recitals, have earned worldwide acclaim and won numerous prizes. His books about Arvo Pärt and Steve Reich, together with numerous anthologies of choral music, are published by Oxford University Press. In 2006, he was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services to choral music. In 2007, he received the Order of the White Star of Estonia and earned a Grammy Award for Best Choral Recording. In 2008, he became chief conductor of the National Chamber Choir of Ireland and was appointed artistic director of the Coro Casa da Música in Porto, Portugal. During the 2009-2010 season, he was artist-in-residence at Yale University's Institute of Sacred Music, gave the Springfield Music Lecture at Rhodes College (Memphis), and performed in New York at the Bang on a Can Marathon and Lincoln Center, at The Royal Opera in Copenhagen, the Barbican in London, and at Perth International Arts Festival in Australia. Mr. Hillier is nominated for a 2012 Grammy Award for the seventh time in nine years-this time with Ars Nova Copenhagen in music by Pelle Gudmundsen-Holmgreen.

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  • Bryce Dessner

    Bryce Dessner is a composer-guitarist-curator based in New York City, best known as the guitarist for the acclaimed rock band The National. Its most recent release, High Violet (2010), debuted at No. 3 on the US Billboard chart and at No. 5 in the UK charts, and has sold more than 600,000 copies worldwide.

    His recent highlights include a Jerome Grant from the American Composer's Forum and The Kitchen (New York City), a commission from Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (Vienna), a commission by the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia for Lincoln Shuffle, a commission for American Composers Orchestra, a new piece for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, a collaborative work for the Brooklyn Youth Chorus with Nico Muhly, and The Long Count commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music for the 2009 Next Wave Festival. Mr. Dessner also recently composed two string quartets, Aheym and Tenebre, for Kronos Quartet. In 2012, Mr. Dessner presents several new projects, including new commissions for the Amsterdam Sinfonietta and the Berlin string ensemble Kaleidoskop.

    Mr. Dessner is the creator and artistic director of MusicNow Festival in Cincinnati, Ohio, which presents its seventh season March 29-April 1, 2012. Mr. Dessner recently produced an extensive AIDS charity compilation, Dark was the Night, for the Red Hot Organization, featuring new recordings and collaborations from a long list of artists who include David Byrne, Arcade Fire, and Sufjan Stevens.Mr. Dessner now serves on the board of The Kitchen in New York City and is a graduate of Yale College and the Yale School of Music.

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  • Shara Worden

    Shara Worden is the singer and composer for the band My Brightest Diamond. The group recently released its third album, All Things Will Unwind, a collection of songs inspired by Ms. Worden's concert for the American Songbook series at The Allen Room in 2011. Ms. Worden recently performed her songs with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra. She has been commissioned for new works by the MATA Festival, New York Guitar Festival, Ecstatic Music Festival, and New York-based chamber ensemble yMusic.

    Recent years have found Ms. Worden collaborating as much as songwriting. She has been a featured soloist on recordings by the Decemberists, David Byrne, Sufjan Stevens, Clogs, and Owen Pallett, and she recorded a song cycle entitled Penelope by composer Sarah Kirkland Snider. Ms. Worden has performed in Bryce and Aaron Dessner's The Long Count; with Laurie Anderson and the Blind Boys of Alabama; and in visual artist Matthew Ritchie's Monstrance and Matthew Barney's opera Ancient Evenings.

    Ms. Worden is a graduate of the University of North Texas and has been a student of composer Padma Newsome and singer Josephine Mongiardo.

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  • Owen Pallett

    Owen Pallett's violin-looping live project spawned two records under the moniker Final Fantasy as a tribute to the unending series of operatic, melodramatic video games; his third, Heartland, is the first issued under his own name.

    Mr. Pallett has also written string and orchestral arrangements for numerous bands, including The National, R. E. M., Pet Shop Boys, Duran Duran, The Mountain Goats, Beirut, Grizzly Bear, and Arcade Fire, as well as film scores, including Richard Kelly's TheBox, co-written with Win Butler and Régine Chassagne.

    Mr. Pallett's Twelve Polearms was performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars at the 2008 Bang on a Can Marathon. The Brooklyn Philharmonic performed highlights from Pallett's works at BAM's Howard Gilman Opera House during its 2009 season, and a similar program was later mounted with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra and Symphony Nova Scotia. Mr. Pallett played two nights at the Sydney Opera House with Sufjan Stevens as part of the 2011 Sydney Festival. Five Offerings, a sonata for viola and piano, was commissioned by the Kauffman Center for Performance and performed at Merkin Concert Hall as part of the 2011 Ecstatic Music Festival. In addition to its premiere as part of the Barbican's Reverberations: The Influence of Steve Reich, the album Heartland was performed in its entirety, accompanied by the North Netherlands Symphony Orchestra conducted by André de Ridder. A new violin concerto written for Pekka Kuusisto, co-commissioned by the Barbican and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, will premiere in 2012-2013.

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  • Nico Muhly

    The music of New York-based composer Nico Muhly has been played by such ensembles as eighth blackbird, Britten Sinfonia, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and New York Philharmonic, and sung by soloists who include David Daniels, Mark Padmore, and Jessica Rivera. In addition to numerous recordings of his own music, he has collaborated on projects with Antony and the Johnsons, Björk, Bonnie "Prince" Billy, Grizzly Bear, Jónsi of Sigur Rós, and Teitur Lassen. His first opera, Two Boys, premiered at the English National Opera in June 2011. His 2012 premieres include an orchestral work co-commissioned by the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, Seattle Symphony, and Winnepeg Symphony orchestras, as well as a new collaboration with choreographer Benjamin Millepied for New York City Ballet. Dark Sisters, a chamber opera commissioned by Gotham Chamber Opera, Music-Theatre Group, and Opera Company of Philadelphia, premieres in New York in November.

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  • Jeremy Geffen

    Jeremy Geffen has served as director of artistic planning at Carnegie Hall since March 2007. In this position, his responsibilities include program planning and development, as well as the creation of a wide range of audience education programs. Prior to his appointment at Carnegie Hall, Jeremy served as vice president of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra (2005-2007), and artistic administrator of the New York Philharmonic (2000-2005). In addition, he worked for the Aspen Music Festival and School as associate artistic administrator from 1998 to 2000. During that time, he also taught courses in music at Colorado Mountain College, hosted a weekly classical music radio show on KAJX, and became the Aspen Institute's youngest-ever moderator, creating and leading the seminar The Marriage of Music and Ideas with Dr. Alberta Arthurs in February and March 2000.

    Jeremy currently serves on the artistic committee of the French-American Fund for Contemporary Music, as well as advisory entities for both the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center's CMS Two and the Avery Fisher Career Grant. He has also served as an adjudicator for numerous auditions and competitions, including CMS Two auditions and the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions.

    A native of Cape Town, South Africa, Jeremy was raised in Newport Beach, California. While pursuing a bachelor of music degree in viola performance at the University of Southern California, Jeremy developed problems with his right hand that led him away from performance and into artistic programming, which combines his curiosity for and love of the breadth of the classical repertoire, as well as the artists who bring that repertoire to life.

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David Lang the little match girl passion
Theatre of Voices 
Audio Clips and Excerpts - Carnegie Hall's 2011-2012 Season

At a Glance

Passionate, prolific, and complicated, composer David Lang embodies the restless spirit of invention. Lang is at the same time deeply versed in the classical tradition and committed to music that resists categorization, constantly creating new forms.
Program Notes
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Sponsored by Ernst & Young LLP
Carnegie Hall's co-commission of David Lang's death speaks in the 2011-2012 season is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York State Council on the Arts.
This performance is part of Making Music.