The Difficulty of

Crossing a Field


NOVEMBER 9, 10, 11, 2012    |    THE NOAH LIFF OPERA CENTER


ARTISTS    |    MORE   |   COMPOSER   |   RELATED EVENTS   |   STUDY GUIDE


DAVID LANG

In the words of The New Yorker, “With his winning of the Pulitzer Prize for the little match girl passion (one of the most original and moving scores of recent years), Lang, once a postminimalist enfant terrible, has solidified his standing as an American master.”  Lang is one of America’s most performed composers.  His catalogue is extensive, and his opera, orchestra, chamber, and solo works are by turns ominous, ethereal, urgent, hypnotic, unsettling, and very emotionally direct.  Much of his work seeks to expand the definition of virtuosity in music — even the deceptively simple pieces can be fiendishly difficult to play and require incredible concentration by musicians and audiences alike.


Audiences around the globe have heard his work performed by such organizations as Santa Fe Opera, the New York Philharmonic, the Netherlands Chamber Choir, the Boston Symphony, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, and the Kronos Quartet; at Tanglewood, the Sidney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival and the Almeida, Holland, Berlin, and Strasbourg Festivals; in theater productions in New York, San Francisco, and London; alongside the choreography of Twyla Tharp, La La La Human Steps, The Netherlands Dance Theater and the Paris Opera Ballet; and at Lincoln Center, the Southbank Centre, Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Barbican Centre, and the Brooklyn Academy of Music.


Lang is co-founder and co-artistic director of New York’s legendary music collective Bang on a Can and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Rome Prize, the BMW Music-Theater Prize (Munich), and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.



MAC WELLMAN

Award-winning playwright Mac Wellman received his third Obie for Lifetime Achievement in 2003.  Previous published collections include Bad Infinity and Cellophane, and he is the co-editor of New Downtown Now: An Anthology of New Theater from Downtown New York (Minnesota, 2006).  He is professor of playwriting at Brooklyn College.  Known for his verbal invention and radical experimentation, Mac Wellman is one of America’s most original and essential dramatists.  Since seizing the spotlight with 7 Blowjobs in the early nineties, Wellman has charted an ambitious artistic course.  As a fixture on the downtown New York theater scene, and now with his work being staged around the world, he has challenged directors, designers, producers, actors, audiences, and readers for nearly three decades.



AMBROSE BIERCE (1842 - 1914?)

Today American editorialist, journalist, short-story writer and satirist Ambrose Bierce is best known for his short story, “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” and his satirical lexicon The Devil’s Dictionary. The sardonic view of human nature that informed his work, along with his vehemence as a critic, arned him the nickname “Bitter Bierce.”  Despite his reputation as a searing critic, however, Bierce was known to encourage younger writers, including poet George Sterling and fiction writer W. C. Morrow.  His distinctive writing style includes the use of a cold open, dark imagery, vague references to time, limited description, war themes, and impossible events.  In 1913, at the age of 71, Bierce retired and went to Mexico, to seek “the good, kind darkness.”  He vanished mysteriously and without a trace during the Mexican Civil War.

THE DIFFICULTY OF CROSSING A FIELD

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David Lang, photo by Peter Serling

Mac Wellman, photo by Timothy Keating

Ambrose Bierce