Pulitzer Prize winner Shulamit Ran, who has been writing music since she was seven years old, will spend three separate weeks at the Eastman School of Music this semester as Howard Hanson Visiting Professor of Composition.
During that time, she will meet with students in composition symposiums, hold private lessons, and attend Eastman School concerts in which her works are being performed.
“The Composition Department is excited to be hosting Shulamit Ran,” said Chair Robert Morris. “She is one of America’s most distinguished composers with an international reputation whose works have been played by many of the world’s leading orchestras, chamber ensembles, and soloists.”
Ran’s works have received critical kudos for melodic energy, edgy lyricism, complex textures, emotional content that stirs and involves listeners, and dramatic compositional style. The Israeli native, who holds dual Israeli and American citizenship, began setting Hebrew poetry to music at the age of seven. By nine, she was studying composition and piano with some of Israel’s most noted musicians, and within a few years she was having her works performed by professional musicians and orchestras. She came to New York when she was 14 to continue her piano and composition studies at the Mannes College of Music.
Upon completing degrees in piano performance and composition in 1967, Ran toured the United States, Europe, Israel, and elsewhere, including an appearance with Leonard Bernstein and the New York Philharmonic in a televised Young People’s Concert. In 1971, Ran played her Concert Piece for piano and orchestra with the Israel Philharmonic, and shortly afterward her music came to the attention of Ralph Shapey, composer and new-music advocate at the University of Chicago. She was offered a faculty position in 1973 and is now the Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor, teaching composition and chamber music.
Ran’s first stay at the Eastman School of Music will be from Feb. 15 through Feb. 19, with the Eastman Wind Ensemble under Mark Scatterday presenting her work “Chicago Skyline” at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17, in Kodak Hall. She returns March 15 through 19, when Brad Lubman will conduct Musica Nova in a performance of her work “Under the Sun’s Gaze” at 8 p.m. Friday, March 19, in Kilbourn Hall. On Thursday, April 1, Eastman’s student-run new music ensemble Ossia will perform Ran’s work “Soliloquy” at 8 p.m. in Kilbourn Hall. Ossia will also play “Soliloquy” during the annual Women in Music Festival, which runs March 22 through 26 at the Eastman School. Ran returns for the third week of her residency April 26 through 30.
Ran’s music has been performed by the Chicago Symphony, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Israel Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the National Symphony, the Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Jerusalem Orchestra, the vocal ensemble Chanticleer, and various others. Her chamber and solo works are regularly performed by leading ensembles in the United States and elsewhere.
In 1991, Ran won the Pulitzer Prize for Symphony, which was commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra. She has received most major honors given to composers in the United States, including two fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, grants and commissions from the Koussevitzky Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fromm Music Foundation, the American Academy and Institute for Arts and Letters, and many more. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Between 1990 and 1997, Ran was Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Between 1994 and 1997, she was also the Brena and Lee Freeman Sr. Composer-in-Residence with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where her first opera Between Two Worlds (The Dybbuk) was performed.
The Howard Hanson Visiting Professorship in Composition is funded by Eastman’s Hanson Institute for American Music and was held for the first time in 2007 by Mario Davidovsky.
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