April 17, 2003 – Vol. 22 No. 14

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    Academy of Arts and Letters elects Ran, alumnus Glass to membership

    By Seth Sanders
    News Office

    [Shulamit Ran, Photo by: Dan restMatthew Gilson]
    Shulamit Ran
    Shulamit Ran, the William H. Colvin Professor in Music and Artistic Director of the Contemporary Chamber Players, was recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, which Thomas Christensen, Chairman of Music, described as “the most prestigious honorary organization of academics and artists in America.”

    Ran is one of eight noteworthy individuals inducted this year, including fellow composer and University alumnus Philip Glass (A.B., ’56). Elections are held each year to fill vacancies in the academy’s membership of 250 American artists, architects, writers and composers.

    Ran, born in Tel Aviv, received her early training in Israel and came to the United States at the age of 14 to study in New York. She came to Chicago to teach in 1973.

    Among her awards, fellowships and commissions are those from the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, WFMT, the American Composers Orchestra (Concerto for Orchestra and Supplications for Chorus and Orchestra), the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (Concerto da Camera II), a 1991 Pulitzer Prize, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Legends).

    The Lyric Opera of Chicago commissioned her first opera, Between Two Worlds (The Dybbuk), which premiered in June 1997. Its European premiere took place in May 1999, at the Bielefeld Opera, in a German translation.

    Her work has been described as being “written with the same sense of humanity found in Mozart’s most profound opera arias or Mahler’s searching symphonies.”

    Among her recorded works are Fantasy Movements (Koch), Mirage (Erato/Bridge) and Fantasy Variations/Soliloquy/

    Verticals/Excursions on the Shulamit Ran compact disc (New World Records), the most recent of several all-Ran recordings.

    Ran is the recipient of honorary doctorates from Mount Holyoke College (1988), Spertus Institute (1994), Beloit College (1996), and the New School of Social Research in New York (1997).

    She also was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1992.