“A gut punch … nothing short of life itself: by turns hopeful, funny, surprising and tragic.” 

The New York Times 

Preview the performance program

THE DAY is a new music/dance work by cellist Maya Beiser, dancer Wendy Whelan, and choreographer Lucinda Childs, with music by David Lang.  

A collaboration among legends, THE DAY is an evening-long sensory exploration of two journeys—life and the eternal, post-mortal voyage of the soul. This bold, highly collaborative work explores universal themes through the shared language of music and dance. 

Renowned avant-grade cellist Maya Beiser, who conceived the piece, has been described by the Boston Globe as “a force of nature” and by Rolling Stone as a “cello rock star.” Wendy Whelan, widely considered one of the world’s leading dancers, spent 30 years as a principal dancer with New York City Ballet and originated numerous roles in new works by the world’s most esteemed choreographers. The two will be onstage all evening, embodying the iconic choreography of Lucinda Childs (a Commandeur in France’s Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and 2018 inductee in Hall of Fame at the National Museum of Dance) to the original music of Pulitzer Prize-winner David Lang.

Saturday’s performance includes a post-performance Q&A with Maya Beiser, Wendy Whelan, and David Lang.

Face coverings and proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test are required for programs taking place in the Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater.

About the artists

Avant-garde cellist and multifaceted artist Maya Beiser defies categories. Passionately forging a career path through uncharted territories, she has captivated audiences worldwide with her virtuosity, eclectic repertoire, and relentless quest to redefine her instrument’s boundaries. Praised by Rolling Stone as a “cello rock star,” she has been hailed by The New York Times for her “stirring emotional power,” while The Boston Globe described her as “a force of nature.”

Raised in the Galilee Mountains in Israel, surrounded by the music and rituals of Jews, Muslims, and Christians, while studying classical cello repertoire, Maya reinvents solo cello performance in the mainstream arena.

She is a featured performer on the world’s most prestigious stages including Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, The Kennedy Center, London’s Southbank Centre, Royal Albert Hall and the Barbican, Sydney Opera House, Beijing Festival, Barcelona’s L’auditori, Paris’ Cité de la Musique, and Stockholm’s Concert Hall. Among the wide range of artists she has collaborated with are Louis Andriessen, Brian Eno, Philip Glass, Tan Dun, Steve Reich, Shirin Neshat, Bill Morrison, Robert Woodruff, and Lucinda Childs. 

Maya’s critically acclaimed multimedia productions World To Come, Almost Human, Provenance, Elsewhere: A Cello Opera, and All Vows have consistently been chosen for top critics’ “Best Of The Year” lists. Her recent season highlights include featured solo performances at the Barbican’s Sound Unbound and Kings Place’s Cello Unwrapped festivals in London, Cello Biennale in Amsterdam, Festival MANN in Naples, Italy and Strings for Autumn Festival in Prague; two new cello concerti premieres, Mohammed Fairouz’s cello concerto with the Detroit Symphony and Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Maya with the Swedish Chamber Orchestra; Bowie Symphonic: Blackstar, a collaboration with Evan Ziporyn that reimagines David Bowie’s complete final album as a cello concerto, with performances in Boston, Barcelona, New York’s Central Park SummerStage, and a 2018 U.S. tour; Spinning, a new collaboration with composer Julia Wolfe and visual artist Laurie Olinder, commissioned and premiered by Peak Performances at Montclair State University; her debut solo performance at the BBC Proms; and premiere performances of a cello concerto by the celebrated Japanese composer Joe Hisaishi at Carnegie Hall and in Tokyo, Japan.

Maya’s vast discography includes eleven solo albums. Her recent albums TranceClassical (2016) and Maya Beiser: Uncovered (2014) topped the classical music charts. She is the featured soloist on many film soundtracks, including an extensive collaboration with composer James Newton Howard for M. Night Shyamalan’s The Happening and After Earth, Denzel Washington’s The Great Debaters, Edward Zwick’s Blood Diamond, and Rupert Sanders’s Snow White and the Huntsman

Maya Beiser is a 2015 United States Artists (USA) Distinguished Fellow in Music; a 2017 Mellon Distinguished Visiting Artist at MIT Center for Art, Science & Technology; and she was recently a Presenting Artist at the inaugural CultureSummit, held in 2017 in Abu Dhabi. Invited to present at the prestigious TED main stage in Long Beach, CA, Maya’s 2011 TED Talk has been watched by over one million people and translated to 32 languages. Maya is a graduate of Yale University and was a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars.  

Wendy Whelan began dance lessons at the age of three in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. At the age of 15, she moved to New York to continue her studies full time at the School of American Ballet. She became an apprentice with New York City Ballet in 1984, joined the corps de ballet a year later, and was promoted to principal dancer in 1991. 

Whelan went on to spend 30 years at New York City Ballet, dancing virtually every major Balanchine role and working closely with Jerome Robbins on many of his ballets. She originated roles in over 50 new works, working with such luminary choreographers as William Forsythe, Twyla Tharp, Alexei Ratmansky, Christopher Wheeldon, Jorma Elo, Ullyses Dove, and Wayne MacGregor. Her most notable choreographic collaboration was with Christopher Wheeldon. She created roles in 13 of his ballets, including Polyphonia, Liturgy, and After the Rain. In 2008, she was nominated for both an Olivier Award and a Critics Circle Award for her performances with his touring group, Morphoses - the Wheeldon Company. 

​Whelan has been hailed by The New York Times as, “America’s greatest contemporary ballerina.&rdquo She has been a guest artist with The Royal Ballet and the Kirov Ballet and has performed on every major ballet stage across the globe. She received the Dance Magazine Award in 2007, and in 2009 was given a Doctorate of Arts, honoris causa, from Bellarmine University. In 2011, she received both The Jerome Robbins Award and a Bessie Award for her Sustained Achievement in Performance. In 2018 she was given The Capezio Award. 

Since 2013 she has been developing her own independent collaborations. Her inaugural project, Restless Creature, brought together four dancer/choreographers – Kyle Abraham, Joshua Beamish, Brian Brooks, and Alejandro Cerrudo – for an evening of new duets with her. It was co-produced by The Joyce Theater Productions and premiered at the Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival. The show went on to tour across the U.S. In 2015, she developed two more projects, Whelan/Watson Other Stories, which was co-produced by the Royal Opera House in London, and the chamber dance/opera Hagoromo, which was commissioned by BAM for the 2015 Next Wave Festival. In 2016-17, she premiered and toured her fourth new program, Some of a Thousand Words, co-produced by The Joyce Theater Productions with Brian Brooks and the string quartet Brooklyn Rider.

A documentary film entitled Restless Creature: Wendy Whelan was released in theaters across the country in 2017 and is now available on Netflix, iTunes, and Amazon. The film recently won the Chita Rivera Award for Best Dance Documentary. 

Lucinda Childs began her career at the Judson Dance Theater In New York in 1963. Since forming her dance company in 1973, she has created more than 50 works, both solo and ensemble. In 1976, she was featured in the landmark avant-garde opera Einstein on the Beach by Philip Glass and Robert Wilson, for which she won an Obie Award, and she subsequently appeared in a number of Wilson’s productions which include I Was Sitting on my Patio This Guy Appeared I Thought I Was Hallucinating, Quartett by Heiner Müller; Wilson and Glass’s opera White Raven; Wilson’s video project Video 50; and Maladie de la Mort by Marguerite Duras opposite Michel Piccoli. She also appeared in Wilson’s production of Arvo Pärt’s Adam’s Lament, and collaborated on the movements and spoken text for Letter to a Man, based on Nijinsky’s diaries and performed by Mikhail Baryshnikov. 

In 1979, Childs choreographed one of her most enduring works, Dance, with music by Philip Glass and lm décor by Sol LeWitt, which continues to tour internationally and has been added to the repertory of the Lyon Opera Ballet where she has recently choreographed Beethoven’s Grande Fugue. In 2015, she revived Available Light, created in 1983 with music by John Adams and a split-level set by architect Frank Gehry that was presented at the Festival d’Autumne. In the fall of 2016, the Thaddeus Ropac Gallery in Pantin presented her choreographic scores in an exhibit titled “Nothing Personal” in collaboration with the Centre Nationale de la Danse where she has donated her archive.

​Since 1981, she has choreographed more than 30 works for major ballet companies which include Paris Opera Ballet and Les Ballet de Monte Carlo. In the past 20 years, she has directed and choreographed a number of contemporary and eighteenth-century operas, which include Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice for the Los Angeles Opera, Mozart’s Zaide for La Monnaie in Brussels, Stravinsky’s Le Rossignol et Oedipe, Vivaldi’s Farnace, Handel’s Alessandro, and John Adams’ Dr. Atomic for the Opera du Rhin. Her production of Jean Baptiste Lully’s Atys premiered in Oper Kiel in 2014 and her production of Jean-Marie Leclaire’s Scylla and Glaucus premiered there in the spring of 2017. 

Childs is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the 2017 Venice Biennale de la Danse Golden Lion Award and the 2017 Samuel H. Scripps/American Dance Festival Award. She holds the rank of Commander in France’s Order of Arts and Letters. 

David Lang is one of the most highly esteemed and performed American composers writing today. His works have been performed around the world in most of the great concert halls. The New Yorker reports, “With his winning of the Pulitzer Prize for the little match girl passion (one of the most original and moving scores of recent years), Lang, once a postminimalist enfant terrible, has solidified his standing as an American master.” 

​Lang’s simple song #3, written as part of his score for Paolo Sorrentino’s acclaimed film Youth, received many honors in 2016, including Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Critics Choice nominations, among others. His the little match girl passion won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Music. Commissioned by Carnegie Hall and based on a fable by Hans Christian Andersen and Lang’s own rewriting of the libretto to Bach’s St. Matthew Passion, the recording of the piece was awarded a 2010 Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance. Lang has also been the recipient of the Rome Prize, Le Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, and Musical America’s 2013 Composer of the Year. Lang’s tenure as Carnegie Hall’s 2013–2014 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer’s Chair saw his critically acclaimed festival collected stories showcase different modes of storytelling in music. 

​Recent premieres include his opera 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 1000 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, and the concerto man made for the ensemble So Percussion and a consortium of orchestras, including the BBC Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic. 

In addition to his work as a composer, Lang is Artist in Residence at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey, and is a Professor of Composition at the Yale School of Music. Lang is co-founder and co-artistic director of New York’s legendary music collective Bang on a Can. His music is published by Red Poppy Music (ASCAP) and is distributed worldwide by G. Schirmer, Inc.

Production credits 

Performers: Wendy Whelan and Maya Beiser
Choreography: Lucinda Childs
Words and Music: David Lang
Scenic design: Sara Brown
Sound design: Dave Cook
Projection design: Joshua Higgason
Lighting design: Natasha Katz
Costume design: Karen Young

Length: 70 min


The ICA is pleased to offer closed captioning and assistive listening devices for programs that take place in the Barbara Lee Family Foundation Theater. Assistive Listening Devices are also available at the theater door. Captioning will be available via a QR code at the theater entrance and once accessed, captioning will be available on your phone. Staff will be on hand in the theater to assist you if necessary. Learn more about accessibility at the ICA. 

THE DAY is a Summer Stages Dance @ the ICA/Boston project and is made possible, in part, with the support of Jane Karol and Howard Cooper, David Parker, The Aliad Fund, and Stephanie and Leander McCormick-Goodhart. 

The presentation of Maya Beiser, Wendy Whelan, Lucinda Childs + David Lang, THE DAY was made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

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