Shulamit Ran's "Verticals" premieres
March 2, 1983
The New York Times called Shulamit Ran's Verticals "rhapsodic and intriguing" when it was premiered by pianist Alan Feinberg at New York's Merkin Concert Hall on March 2, 1983. By then, Ran was already an established composer with several critically acclaimed works to her credit.
Born in Tel Aviv in 1949, Ran earned scholarships from The Mannes College of Music in New York and from the America Israel Cultural Foundation that together allowed her to move to the U.S. at age 14. In Israel and at Mannes she studied both piano and composition. Although her early training was in piano, she has written music for solo flute, cello, clarinet, and violin as well as chamber music, works for orchestra, and even an opera.
In 1969, Ran wrote Hatzvi Israel Eulogy for mezzo-soprano, flute, harp, and string quartet; it premiered at New York City's Town Hall. The following year, when Ran was still just 22, she wrote a Concert Piece for piano and orchestra; it was premiered the following year by Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra. Ran herself performed the solo piano part, which the Cleveland Plain Dealer later called "extremely brilliant." Ran's most celebrated work is her 1990 Symphony, which won both the Pulitzer Prize for music (1991) and the Kennedy Center Friedheim Award (1992). She was the second woman ever to receive the Pulitzer for music.
Ran's other works have also garnered critical acclaim. She has won awards from the Arthur Rubinstein International Piano Competition (1977), the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Guggenheim Foundation. In addition, she has received commissions from the Eastman School of Music, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Koussevitzky Music Foundation, Chamber Music America, and other groups. The Lyric Opera of Chicago commissioned her first opera, Between Two Worlds (The Dybbuk), which opened to critical success in 1997. A German translation premiered at the Bielefeld Opera in 1999.
In 1990, Maestro Daniel Berenboim appointed Ran to be Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. She was the first woman to be appointed composer-in-residence with a major U.S. symphony, and she held the position for seven seasons. In addition, she served as composer-in-residence with the Lyric Opera of Chicago from 1994 to 1997. Currently, Ran is Andrew MacLeish Distinguished Service Professor of Music at the University of Chicago, where she has taught since 1973.
See also: Music: Palestine and Israel.
Sources:New York Times, March 6, 1983; music.uchicago.edu/people/faculty/ran.shtml; www.presser.com/Composers/info.cfm?Name=SHULAMITRAN; www.composersrecordings.com/linernotes/80554.pdf; digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI3176769/.