David Lang Quotes
I think it's important to remember that an artist could be at the center of healing our problems because, every day, that's what we do. Every day, our job is to make something that wasn't there before. We're kind of built to go into situations that need a kind of fresh thought to solve them so I'm happy about that and I would encourage anyone with any problem in the world that needs to be solved to consider having any person in the creative arts be at the core of its solution. I think that's one of our unused or untapped values.
Having music in the schools, having art in the schools, having art in your life, should not be heroic. It should be every day. Having things we've paid for years ago and that we depend on kept up - our schools, our political institutions - should not be a heroic act. It should be part of our daily citizenship. The idea that we had to do this incredibly exhausting, two-year-long, very expensive, labor intensive, community-based action, is, one the one hand unbelievably great, and, on the other hand, really depressing.
Because I was a chemistry student and was never supposed to be a musician, I always felt like I was an outsider looking at music going "Why is this interesting to me? Why should I be doing this?" and I never felt like I was a natural musician. It came into my life, kind of, as a conceptual problem and I think all my pieces are, in a way, looking at some issue and sometimes veering toward an inside baseball model of classical music.
I think, when you're a young composer, you're told constantly that what you're supposed to do is figure out what your voice is. "What is your thing supposed to sound like?" You know: "What's the thing you do," that everyone can recognizably tell from a long distance is you and then you're supposed to be in search of that marker and you're supposed to find it and you're supposed to live there for the rest of your life. And it seemed to me, from a young age, that was what I was encouraged to do. You find a sound and that's your sound! That's what you do.
Normally classical music is set up so you have professionals on a stage and a bunch of audience - it's us versus them. You spend your entire time as an audience member looking at the back of the conductor so you're already aware of a certain kind of hierarchy when you are there: there are people who can do it, who are on stage, and you aren't on stage so you can't do it. There's also a conductor who is telling the people who are onstage exactly what to do and when to do it and so you know that person is more important than the people on stage.
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- Born: January 8, 1957
- Occupation: Composer
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