Our Bang on a Can All-Stars and Julia Wolfe head to the heart of coal country for two big productions of Pulitzer Prize winner Anthracite Fields. First at Penn State on Thursday the 30th of March, and then at Bucknell University on Saturday April 1. The two central Pennsylvania shows are close enough together you could go to both and emulate the great tradition of following favorite bands on the road!
Bang on a Can All-Stars perform on the Warhol Museum's Sound Series, performing music from the Field Recordings project at the Carnegie Lecture Hall.
Julia Wolfe, Reeling
Christian Marclay, Fade to Slide [with film]
Michael Gordon, Gene Takes a Drink [with film by Bill Morrison]
David Lang, unused swan
Steve Reich, The Cave of Machpelah (excerpt from The Cave)
Tyondai Braxton, Casino Trem
Jóhann Jóhannsson, Hz [with film]
Gabriella Smith, Panitao
Bryce Dessner, Letter 27
Anna Clyne, A Wonderful Day
Nick Zammuto, Real Beauty Turns
The Bang on a Can All-Stars perform Field Recordings at Georgia Tech on March 11!
Julia Wolfe, Reeling
Florent Ghys, An Open Cage
Michael Gordon, Gene Takes a Drink with film by Bill Morrison
Christian Marclay, Fade to Slide with film by Christian Marclay
David Lang, unused swan
Tyondai Braxton, Casino Trem
Jóhann Jóhannsson, Hz with film
Todd Reynolds, Seven Sundays
Steve Reich, The Cave of Machpelah
Bryce Dessner, Letter 27 with film
Anna Clyne, A Wonderful Day
Julia Wolfe and the Bang on a Can All-Stars are bringing Anthracite Fields to Illinois!
Illinois - March 3
Krannert Center at University of Illinois
Coming up in Feb - Asphalt Orchestra's Berlin debut as part of the "Festival USA" at the Konzerthaus Berlin! In addition to the late night show on Feb 17, we'll be popping up in locations and times tba on Feb 16.
On the program:
Frank Zappa, Zomby Woof (arr Peter Hess)
Thomas Mapfumo, Ngoma Yekwedu (arr Alex Hamlin)
Charles Mingus, The Shoes of the Fisherman's Wife Are Some Jive Ass Slippers (arr Jose Davila)
Ken Thomson, Turn Around
Meredith Monk, St Petersburg Waltz (arr Ken Thomson)
tUnE-yArDs/Merrill Garbus, Bizness (arr Ken Thomson)
Michael Gordon, Tree-oh (arr Ken Thomson)
Pixies/Kim Deal, Gigantic (arr Nathan Koci)
Ivo Papasov, Ivo's Ruchenitsa (arr Peter Hess)
Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 2-10pm
8 hours of Live Music!
We'll have a live stream of the performance via Little Dog Live.
part of Target First Saturday at Brooklyn Museum
200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY
Admission: FREE with Museum admission
Suggested donation $16 before 5pm; free after 5pm courtesy of Target First Saturdays.
In our 30th year, Bang on a Can is committed more than ever to an increasing and inclusive worldwide community dedicated to innovation through music – a world where ideas flow freely across boundaries whether they are musical, geographical, spiritual. Expressed another way:
“Thirty years ago we started dreaming of the world we wanted to live in. It would be a kind of utopia for music: all the boundaries between composers would come down, all the boundaries between genres would come down, all the boundaries between musicians and audience would come down. Then we started trying to build it. Building a utopia is a political act – it pushes people to change. It is also an act of resistance to the things that keep us apart.” - Gordon/Lang/Wolfe
To celebrate 30 in style, Bang on a Can comes to Brooklyn with its annual incomparable super-mix of boundary-busting music from around the corner and around the world! The 2017 Bang on a Can Marathon will feature 8 hours of rare performances by some of the most innovative musicians of our time side-by-side with some of today’s most pioneering young artists.
Highlights of the 2017 30th Anniversary Bang on a Can Marathon include the Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble directed by Timothy Weiss, playing Dutch composer Louis Andriessen’s hard-driving Platonic masterpiece De Staat (“The Republic”), written as a commentary on the debate about the relation of music to politics; Brooklyn’s historic and mesmerizing Pan In Motion playing music by composer Kendall Williams; Bang on a Can co-founder and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe’s folk ballad Steel Hammer, based on over 200 versions of the John Henry ballad, a quintessential American legend of the laborers that worked the railroad; renowned saxophonist, composer, painter, and poet Oliver Lake, co-founder of the internationally acclaimed World Saxophone Quartet; Joan La Barbara’s A Murmuration for Chibok, which honors and keeps in the present over 250 school girls abducted in Chibok, Nigeria by Boko Haram in 2014, performed by the award-winning Young People’s Chorus of NYC, led by Francisco Nuñez; New York’s legendary and inspirational composer-singer Meredith Monk leading the women of her acclaimed vocal ensemble in a set of shimmering a cappella pieces from her work-in-progress, Cellular Songs; Bang on a Can’s extreme mobile ensemble Asphalt Orchestra performing music by Merrill Garbus/ tUnE-yArDs, Kim Deal/Pixies, and more; a rare solo set by Pulitzer-prize winning composer-singer-violinist Caroline Shaw; Amir ElSaffar’s Two Rivers Ensemble, an all-star sextet of jazz and Middle Eastern musicians that blends maqam music of Iraq and contemporary jazz; the distinctive and exceptional indie-guitarist Kaki King; the powerful grooves of Women's Raga Massive; the New York premiere of Michael Gordon’s No Anthem; the ambient music world of Laraaji; the Moroccan grooves of Brooklyn’s Innov Gnawa; the Brooklyn premiere of David Lang’s Just, featured in last year’s Oscar nominated film Youth by Paolo Sorrentino, and more.
PLUS Bang on a Can’s social engagement wing Found Sound Nation hosts its Street Studio from 5-9pm- a mobile recording studio equipped for passersby and Marathon musicians alike to spontaneously create and record original music!
Lead Marathon support by ASCAP
Now in its sixth year, OneBeat is cultivating a groundbreaking international network of leading artistic, technological, and social innovators in music. An initiative of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, OneBeat employs collaborative original music as a potent new form of cultural diplomacy.
OneBeat brings musicians (ages 19-35) from around the world to the U.S. for one month each fall to collaboratively write, produce, and perform original music, and develop strategies for arts-based social engagement. OneBeat begins with an opening residency, when Fellows collaborate to create original material, record new musical ideas, and incubate their projects. OneBeat fellows then go on tour, performing for a wide array of American audiences, collaborating with local musicians, and leading workshops with youth. In a closing residency, each OneBeat musician sets out their plans for the future, developing projects in their home countries linked to a mutually-reinforcing network of music-driven social enterprises.
Composed for seven bassoons, Rushes takes its place alongside Michael Gordon’s Timber for expanding the boundaries of a single instrument’s repertoire into unknown (and at times, otherworldly) spaces. Like Timber, which maps new percussive territory for the simantra—a simple two-by-four slab of wood, amplified and played in a group of six to yield trance-like sonic textures—Rushes brings out tonal and timbral aspects of the bassoon that are meant to induce a quasi-meditative, almost ecstatic state, in the listener as well as the performer.
Years ago I pursed my lips and blew into a bassoon, and felt the entire instrument buzz as I droned on the very bottom note, a B flat. I held the long conical piece of wood in my hands with admiration — it was covered with what looked like a New York City subway map of shiny metal keys running every which way. The bassoon had heft and it was primal — the two reeds vibrating against each other produced a poignant and mournful sound.
It all came back to me on a cold sunny Thursday in January 2011. Five bassoonists set up in my living room. Along with 25 other bassoonists from far and wide, they had banded together and asked me to write a new piece. I’m not sure any of them imagined that my response would be an hour-long work for seven bassoons.
In earlier conversations with Dana Jessen, the American bassoonist who initiated this project, I had asked to look at all the influential bassoon music written in the 20th century. Dana showed up with just a small pile of music. I felt a little bit like Magellan. I knew there were worlds to find if I could just set sail.
During that Thursday afternoon, we explored a myriad of sounds and my living room was filled with an exquisite buzzing of dark tones. I was particularly drawn to the short percussive attacks by all the bassoons in counterpoint with each other. The texture had the aural effect of a Seurat painting, and I began to write for the instruments as if they were participants in an extreme sport — a non-stop barrage of ethereal rapid-fire points of sound that seamlessly shifted from one instrument to the next. This architectural movement of sound, which runs throughout the entire piece of music, is a technique that I first used in Timber, a percussion work for six amplified simantras. I imagined entering these waves of moving sound and embarking on a journey through a stark monochromatic landscape that slowly revealed its hidden colors.
The score, with tens of thousand of notes, looks a bit like an Escher drawing or a very long weaving pattern for a loom. In June 2012, in Edisto Island, South Carolina, I met with the seven bassoonists of the newly formed Rushes Ensemble. As we rehearsed, I thought that the piece had become like the thick river winding its way through the marshes and reedy growth surrounding us. I had already settled on the name Rushes, both for its reference to the reeds and to capture the mental state it produced. Now, with the seven bassoonists fully immersed in the music, I felt the primordial flow of sound harkening back to the very first reeds.
— Michael Gordon