G. Ricordi & Co., New York sign visionary composers Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe to exclusive, global publishing deal
Photo: Peter Serling
Los Angeles, September 14, 2020 — G. Ricordi & Co., New York, a Universal Music Publishing Classical company, today announced an exclusive global publishing agreement with innovative American composers and Bang on a Can co-founders Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe. Under the new agreement, Gordon, Lang and Wolfe’s esteemed catalogs are now represented worldwide by Ricordi and its international partners.
This signing is the first for G. Ricordi & Co., New York, the newest member of Universal Music Publishing Group’s classical publishing operation and the first one in North America, joining its offices in Milan, Paris, Berlin, London and Budapest.
The trio join Ricordi’s world-class roster of leading composers from the past several centuries including Rossini, Verdi, Puccini, Varèse, Nono, Battistelli, Francesconi, Haas, Neuwirth and Poppe. Additionally, Universal Music Publishing Classical boasts the Durand, Salabert, Eschig and Editio Musica Budapest catalogs, which feature celebrated international composers such as Debussy, Ravel, Milhaud, Poulenc, Messiaen, Dusapin, Kodály and Kurtág.
“This is a defining moment for Ricordi and for the new-music landscape of North America, as Michael, David, and Julia are paradigm-shifting composers whose boundless creativity will continue to captivate audiences for generations to come,” said Jude Vaclavik, Director, US Publishing and Promotion for G. Ricordi & Co., New York. “We cherish this rare opportunity to join into a partnership with these iconic composers. It is an honor to be entrusted with their singularly important catalogs.”
Though their vision for the present and future of music is aligned, each composer contributes something unique to their collective musical tapestry. “Gordon is Bang’s resident experimentalist,” writes Alex Ross of The New Yorker, “drawn to densely roiling textures.”
Lang has become especially known for his music featuring voices, including a steadily growing catalog of innovative operatic works. Says Ross, “Anyone who clings to the prejudice that contemporary classical music is incapable of the most direct beauty should put down this magazine and go listen to the Theatre of Voices’ recording. If you never come back, I won’t blame you.”
William Robin of The New Yorker said, “Wolfe’s commitment to a pluralist populism—in both musical style and political content—may make her the most relevant Bang composer to the current moment. That democratic impulse also makes her an heir to the legacy of Aaron Copland, whose left-leaning politics guided his construction of an iconic American sound.”
Michael Gordon is known for his monumental and immersive works. Gordon’s Decasia, for 55 retuned spatially positioned amplified instruments (that also serves as the soundtrack for Bill Morrison’s cult-classic film) has been featured on the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Minimalist Jukebox Festival and at the Southbank Centre’s Ether Festival. Gordon’s Timber, a tour-de-force for percussion sextet, played on amplified microtonal simantras, has been performed on every continent including by Slagwerk Den Haag at the Musikgebouw (Amsterdam), Mantra Percussion at BAM (New York), So Percussion at the Barbican (London), Ictus at MaerzMusik (Berlin), and live on NPR from a Lowe’s hardware store. Timber has been remixed by Jóhann Jóhannsson, Oneohtrix Point Never and Squarepusher.
Gordon’s work employs the placement of instruments in an environment to create an enveloping mesmerizing spectacle. Natural History, for 120 musicians and the drummers of the local Klamath tribe, was premiered on the rim of Crater Lake (Oregon) by conductor Teddy Abrams and is the subject of the PBS documentary Symphony for Nature. Big Space, commissioned by the BBC Proms, premiered in the Royal Albert Hall with musicians surrounding the audience on all sides. Rushes, for 7 bassoons, was recently performed at the Park Avenue Armory (New York) and by the London Contemporary Orchestra at the Queen Elizabeth Hall. The City Symphonies trilogy—Gotham, for New York, Dystopia, for Los Angeles, and El Sol Caliente, for Miami Beach—join music with film by filmmaker Bill Morrison to capture the essence of their respective cities.
Gordon’s choral works include A Western, premiered at Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie by Paul Hillier and Theatre of Voices; Anonymous Man, an autobiographical choral work written for The Crossing, about Gordon’s own street and conversations with two homeless men who lived there. Operas include What to wear with the legendary New York theater director Richard Foreman and Acquanetta with iconoclastic director Daniel Fish.
Gordon’s works have been choreographed to by Pina Bausch’s Tanztheater Wuppertal, Wayne McGregor’s Random Dance Company, the Stuttgart, Zurich, Royal, Miami, Scottish ballet companies. Recent recordings include Clouded Yellow, Gordon’s complete string quartets performed by the Kronos Quartet.
David Lang is one of the most performed American composers writing today. He is acclaimed for his vocal music, including his Pulitzer Prize-winning the little match girl passion, and for his theatrical imagination, in his operas, in narrative music for dance and film, and in massive site-specific events and installations. He earned Golden Globe, Critics' Choice, and Academy Award nominations for his music for Paolo Sorrentino's film Youth. Most recently, Lang scored Paul Dano's directorial debut, Wildlife, as well as Patty Jenkins’s limited series I Am the Night.
Recent works include his opera prisoner of the state (with libretto by Lang) — premiered in 2019 by the New York Philharmonic, who co-commissioned the work along with Rotterdam's de Doelen Concert Hall, London’s Barbican Centre, Barcelona’s l’Auditori, Bochum Symphony Orchestra, Malmö Opera, and Bruges’s Concertgebouw; the writings, commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the Netherlands Kamerkoor, and premiered by Theatre of Voices; the mile-long opera, co-created with architect Elizabeth Diller and premiered in New York City's mile-long elevated park The Highline; the loser, which opened the 2016 Next Wave Festival at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, and for which Lang served as composer, librettist, and stage director; the public domain for 1,000 singers at Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart Festival; his chamber opera anatomy theater at Los Angeles Opera and at the Prototype Festival in New York; the concerto man made for the ensemble So Percussion and a consortium of orchestras, including the BBC Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic; mountain, commissioned by the Cincinnati Symphony; death speaks, a song cycle based on Schubert, but performed by rock musicians, including Bryce Dessner from The National and Shara Worden from My Brightest Diamond; the whisper opera, for the International Contemporary Ensemble and soprano Tony Arnold; and love fail, an evening-length work for the early music vocal ensemble Anonymous 4, with libretto and staging by Lang.
Lang is a Professor of Music Composition at the Yale School of Music and is Artist in Residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.
Julia Wolfe’s music is distinguished by an intense physicality and a relentless power that pushes performers to extremes and demands attention from the audience. The 2019 world premiere of Fire in my mouth, a large-scale work for orchestra and women's chorus, by the New York Philharmonic with The Crossing and the Young People's Chorus of New York City, received extensive acclaim — one reviewer called the work "a monumental achievement in high musical drama, among the most commandingly imaginative and emotively potent works of any kind that I've ever experienced." (The Nation Magazine)
The premiere recording of Fire in my mouth was released on Decca Gold and received two Grammy nominations (best contemporary classical composition; best engineered classical album). The work is the third in a series of compositions about the American worker: 2009’s Steel Hammer, which examines the folk-hero John Henry, and the 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning work, Anthracite Fields, a concert-length oratorio for chorus and instruments, which draws on oral histories, interviews, speeches, and more to honor the people who persevered and endured in the Pennsylvania Anthracite coal region. Mark Swed of the LA Times wrote Anthracite Fields, "captures not only the sadness of hard lives lost...but also of the sweetness and passion of a way of daily life now also lost. The music compels without overstatement. This is a major, profound work."
Wolfe has written a major body of work for strings, from quartets to full orchestra. Her music has been heard at venues throughout the world and has been recorded on Argo, Cantaloupe Music, Decca Gold, Point/Universal, Sony Classical, and Teldec.
In addition to receiving the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2015, Wolfe was a 2016 MacArthur Fellow, received the 2015 Herb Alpert Award in Music, and was named Musical America's 2019 Composer of the Year. She is on faculty at The Steinhardt School at New York University.
About Universal Music Publishing Group
Universal Music Publishing Group (UMPG) is a leading global music publisher with 48 offices in 46 countries. Headquartered in Los Angeles, UMPG represents music across every genre from some of the world’s most important songwriters and catalogs. These include ABBA, Adele, Jhené Aiko, Alabama Shakes, Alex Da Kid, Axwell & Ingrosso, J Balvin, Bastille, Beach Boys, Beastie Boys, Bee Gees, Irving Berlin, Leonard Bernstein, Jeff Bhasker, Justin Bieber, Benny Blanco, Chris Brown, Kane Brown, Mariah Carey, Michael Chabon, Kenny Chesney, Desmond Child, The Clash, Coldplay, J. Cole, Elvis Costello, DaBaby, Jason Derulo, Alexandre Desplat, Neil Diamond, Disclosure, Dua Lipa, Billie Eilish, Danny Elfman, Eminem, Gloria and Emilio Estefan, Florence + the Machine, Future, Martin Garrix, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, Al Green, Halsey, Emile Haynie, Jimi Hendrix, Don Henley, Hit-Boy, Sam Hunt, Imagine Dragons, Carly Rae Jepsen, Tobias Jesso Jr., Billy Joel, Elton John/Bernie Taupin, Joe Jonas, Nick Jonas, Alicia Keys, Lil Baby, Lil Yachty, Linkin Park, Logic, Demi Lovato, the Mamas & the Papas, Steve Mac, Maroon 5, Dave Matthews, Shawn Mendes, Metallica, Metro Boomin, Miguel, Nicki Minaj, Stephan Moccio, Maren Morris, Mumford & Sons, Randy Newman, New Order, Ne-Yo, Pearl Jam, Post Malone, Quavo, Otis Redding, R.E.M., Red Hot Chili Peppers, Rex Orange County, Rosalía, Carole Bayer Sager, Gustavo Santaolalla, Sex Pistols, Carly Simon, Paul Simon, Britney Spears, Bruce Springsteen, Stax (East Memphis Music), Harry Styles, Taylor Swift, SZA, Shania Twain, Justin Timberlake, U2, Keith Urban, Troy Verges, Jack White, Zedd and many more.