Born 21 October 1949, Tel Aviv.
Educated in Israel, her prodigious gifts were recognized by her piano teacher and family friends who took her to play the piano for Pablo Casals and Arthur Rubinstein. In 1963, she moved with her mother to New York to study piano and composition at the Mannes College of Music. Launched into a strenuous career as concert pianist by an appearance on one of Leonard Bernstein's Young People's concerts, she nevertheless continued to develop a strong compositional voice. She premiered her 1971 Concert Piece for piano and orchestra with Zubin Mehta and the Israel Philharmonic.
A recording of O the Chimneys (1939), a setting of Holocaust poetry by Nelly Sachs, attracted the attention of the American composer and University of Chicago professor Ralph Shapey.
From 1973, then, she has been professor of composition at the University of Chicago. Ran has won all the prestigious composers' awards, including election to the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (1989) and the 1991 Pulitzer Prize for her First Symphony.