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News and Media

Rubin Institute Presents World Premiere of David Lang's New Work

Jan. 13, 2012

ICE will premiere a work by David Lang on January 21 at Oberlin as part of the conservatory's Rubin Institute for Music Criticism.
Photo: Liz Linder

The International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), praised by The New York Times as “one of the most adventurous and accomplished groups in new music,” will give the world premiere of the latest work by one of America’s most performed composers, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang, during the fourth and final concert of The Rubin Institute for Music Criticism. The concert takes place at Oberlin Conservatory of Music’s Finney Chapel at 8:00 pm on Saturday, January 21, 2012.

Lang’s work has been performed worldwide by such organizations as Santa Fe Opera, the New York Phil-harmonic, the Netherlands Chamber Choir, the Boston Symphony, the Munich Chamber Orchestra, and the Kronos Quartet; at Tanglewood, the BBC Proms, the Sidney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival; 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, and the Barbican Centre, to name a few. A prolific composer, Mr. Lang is also co-founder and co-artistic director of New York's legendary music collective Bang on a Can.

ICE, an ensemble of 33 leading instrumentalists founded in 2001 at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music by Claire Chase ‘01, has premiered over 500 compositions, the bulk of them by emerging composers, in venues ranging from New York’s Lincoln Center and Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art to galleries, bars, clubs, and schools around the world. The ensemble has released acclaimed albums on the Bridge, Naxos, Tzadik and New Focus labels, with forthcoming releases on Nonesuch, Kairos and Mode.

The new Lang work (title to be unveiled during the Institute) will be performed by ICE in a program including several other Lang pieces and works by one of the most important post-war avant-garde composers, Iannis Xenakis. The concert is the final performance in the inaugural Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, and capsa full day of events that includes a special conversation with Mr. Lang, flutist and founder of ICE, Claire Chase ‘01, and pianist Jeremy Denk ’90 on composing and performing. Audience members will have the rare opportunity to hear first-hand about the challenges and rewards of these two sides of the musical coin.

Both the concert and the conversation will be of particular interest to those in the audience who try their hand at reviewing one or all of the earlier three concerts in the Rubin Institute performed by The Cleveland Orchestra, pianist Jeremy Denk, and Apollo’s Fire. The $1,000 Public Review Prize, to be announced at the 11 am closing ceremony of the Institute on Sunday, January 22, following the awarding of the $10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism, will be awarded to the individual whose review is selected as the best of those submitted by audience members (please visit the website for complete details Those attending Institute concerts who wish to participate in the competition should be sure to attend the keynote address for the Public Review Prize by author and former New Yorker senior editor Charles Michener, “He Can’t Do That To My Review: the Limits of Music Criticism,” at the start of the Institute on Wednesday, January 18 at 3:30 pm.

The Stephen and Cynthia Rubin Institute for Music Criticism at Oberlin Conservatory of Music is the first program of its kind focusing on performance and performance criticism. The biennial Institute comprises a week-long series of public events January 18 – 22, 2012, including performances, keynote addresses by critics, critical review and discussion panels. The Rubin Institute will bring together before the public national music journalists, renowned musicians, and aspiring young writers, combining the wisdom and insight of today’s highly esteemed critics, the artistry and daring of acclaimed musicians, and the energy and promise of tomorrow’s music journalists. The Rubin Institute aims to be a positive force in the art of writing and talking about music, as well as a catalyst in sparking dialogue on the topic.

 The Rubin Institute for Music Criticism, the $10,000 Rubin Prize in Music Criticism (to support further study or internships in the field of music criticism) and the $1,000 Public Review Prize are made possible at Oberlin Conservatory of Music by the generosity of Stephen Rubin, President and Publisher of Henry Holt & Co.


 The Rubin Institute for Music Criticism Saturday, January 21, 2012 Schedule of Events

(visit for the full week’s schedule)

Morning         Private student workshop with critics


1:00-2:00 pm  “Composing and Performing”

                                    A conversation with Pulitzer Prize-winning composer David Lang,

                                    flutist and founder of ICE, Claire Chase ’01, and pianist Jeremy Denk ’90

                                    at Clonick Hall

2:15 pm          Keynote Address by John Rockwell, Writers Panel

                                    “Nostalgia from a World in which Print was King and Critics were

                                    Oracular Pontificators Whom Everyone Else Followed like Sheep”

                                    at Clonick Hall

3:15 - 4:30 pm            Public Panel Session

                                    Featuring the Writers Panel and Rubin Institute Fellows

                                     at Clonick Hall

7:00 pm          Keynote Address by Tim Page, Writers Panel

                                    “Be Your Own Critic"

                                     at Clonick Hall

8:00 pm        International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE)

                        Steven Schick, solo percussion & conductor

                                    Lang, Anvil Chorus, for solo percussion

                                    Xenakis, Palimpsest, for solo piano and ensemble

                                    Xenakis, Echange, for solo bass clarinet and ensemble

                                    Lewis, Artificial Life 2007, for ensemble

                                    Lang, WORLD PREMIERE

                                    Xenakis, Thallein

                                    Xenakis, O-mega, for solo percussion and ensemble

                        Post-Concert Reception at Klutznick Commons, Peters Hall.


For questions regarding the Rubin Institute, or to request an interview or press tickets to any or all of the concerts, please contact: Laura Grant, Grant Communications at, or Jessica R. Downs, assistant director of conservatory communications at 440-775-5474;

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