Composer: I lost my complete works in a car theft

Composer: I lost my complete works in a car theft


norman lebrecht

October 16, 2013

Sympathy, please, for Hannah Lash, teacher at Yale and composer in residence at the Alabama Symphony, whose entire output vanished into thin air when a thief broke into her car three years ago and stole her computer.

No back-up? Maybe she didn’t need one.

Hannah has written a new piece out of the disaster. It’s called Violations: The Loading Dock Project, for eight singers and instrumentalists.

Read more here.

hannah lash


  • Andrew says:

    Really makes you think about a composer’s lost works as not just a loss to history, but a loss to a real human being (living or not).

  • Given the many things that can happen to laptops, not backing up her work is beyond foolish. I can’t imagine any composer doing such a thing. Surely there is more to the story.

  • Gary Carpenter says:

    You’d be amazed…

  • Simon says:

    My full sympathy for Hannah. It’s great that she made the best out of this traumatic experience.

    Having said this, a kind advice for the rest of the world: You always, always, always need a backup, at least one. And if the data are really important, you better have two.

  • A good enough reason for having a publisher, perhaps.

  • I have printed copies of EVERYTHING I compose, in its finished form. I also backup electronically, but – call me paranoid – this simply isn’t enough. And backing up today is so much easier than it used to be! Just think of poor Carlyle having to rewrite the first volume of “The French Revolution”. Still, my sympathies…

  • I. Messner says:

    Wow! They were on her computer? Considering the incredibly facile act of storing files via the cloud, or separate servers, or even just back-up to external drives, well…quite frankly, this was almost inexcusable.

  • Even if your computer isn’t stolen, hard drives are always dying. Not only should you have a backup, but if you have a web site, it’s easy enough to put your works there, even if nobody else can see them.

  • Was she on the lash when she left them?

  • John says:

    Hmm…Carbonite is $99 a year…Phil Glass simply burned his early works.

  • richardcarlisle says:

    Send everything to yourself by gmail — what could be simpler?