We've never been able to do it alone. Bang on a Can is an extended family of composers, musicians and big-eared music listeners. And while it would be nice to think that it all runs on magic, in reality we need dollars for everything from commissions, to instrumental rental, to computers, to artist fees, to production costs and even sexy stuff like payroll taxes! That's right, act now and you can pay for Bang on a Can's payroll taxes!! Seriously though, we set our artistic goals high, and to make great art it takes great friends who support us generously.

This year's People's Commissions are going to four outstanding composers with four very different musical world-views. Their homes are in San Francisco, rural Quebec, New York City, Beijing. Their music ranges from subtle to challenging to rich and gorgeous. What they all have in common is that we think they're pretty darn cool. Really, really cool, and brimming with brilliance.

Gabriella Smith's something of a musical naturalist, drawing on the earth's sounds and energies to create swirling soundscapes. René Lussier is a virtuosic guitarist who creates utterly unique pieces via collage and musique concrète to trippy pastiche and improvisation. Caroline Shaw has emerged as a major force in new music, gaining praise from both the Pulitzer committee and Kanye West (a first?) while relentlessly touring the globe with her own phenomenal group Roomful of Teeth. And Zhang Shouwang has led a post-punk revolution in China with his group Carsick Cars, and now he's scratching his experimental itch with extended works for less familiar ensembles.

Help support these commissions and our Bang on a Can All-Stars. We have lots of great incentives to give, including our own Bang on a Can Coffee - Dark Full Roast! 

The Bang on a Can All-Stars will perform Field Recordings on Dec 21 at the Borusan Music House in the magical city of Istanbul! 

We continue our season at the Jewish Museum with an especially exciting and uncommon program of music by Soviet composers corresponding to the exhibit The Power of Pictures: Early Soviet Photography, Early Soviet Film peformed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars bassist, Robert Black along with the Hartt Bass Band, Ashley Bathgate (cello) and Katie Lansdale (violin)

Composers who were isolated behind the Iron Curtain had to develop their own unique ways of pushing musical boundaries. Robert Black explores this musical era with a program of chamber music by experimental Soviet composers Galina Ustvolskaya, Arthur Lourie, Yuri Sergeyevich Kasparov, Alfred Schnittke, Rifat Komachkov, and Sofia Gubaidulaina. A highlight of the program is a rare performance of Ustvolskaya’s relentless Composition No. 2 for piano, eight double basses, and one giant cube of wood.

The Bang on a Can concerts at the Jewish Museum are a wonderful and intimate salon-like atmosphere and we hope to see you there!

On November 14, Julia Wolfe returns to the anthracite coal region in Pennsylvania, which inspired her Pulitzer prize-winning oratorio, Anthracite Fields. In order to share the piece with the community that gave her such invaluable assistance its creation, Wolfe will give a talk at the Anthracite Heritage Museum in Scranton, and the public is invited to take a tour of the Lackawanna coal mine. That evening, the Bang on a Can All-Stars and the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, conducted by Julian Wachner, will perform Anthracite Fields at the brand-new Allan P. and Marian Sutherland Kirby Center for Creative Arts at the historic Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, PA. The piece is illuminated by the visual projections of scenic designer Jeff Sugg.

This part of the Pennsylvania coal region is two and a half hours from Philadelphia and New York City. Perfect for a day trip!

Nov 14 Schedule:

  • Lackawanna Coal Mine tours available from 10am to 2:45pm
  • 3:15-4:45pm: Anthracite Heritage Museum visit and talk with Julia Wolfe (admission is free on Nov 14)
  • 6:30pm: Pre-Concert talk at the Kirby Center, Wyoming Seminary
  • 7:30pm: Concert (A portion of the proceeds from the concert are to benefit the Anthracite Heritage Museum.)

Anthracite Fields was commissioned by the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia through Meet the Composer’s Commissioning Music/USA program, which is made possible by generous support from the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the Helen F. Whitaker Fund. Additional support was made possible through the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia Alan Harler New Ventures Fund, The Presser Foundation, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, the National Endowment for the Arts, The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.

“A United Nations of Music… world music in its truest sense.” – The New York Times

This month, Bang on a Can's Found Sound Nation will bring together musicians from all over the world for OneBeat - a program to create collaborative cross-genre works, record innovative music, produce short form videos, engage with local communities and practice music as civic engagement to promote resilient civil societies. OneBeat fellows are life-long ambassadors for their communities and cities; their combined voices create original works and projects that speak to audiences around the globe.

These boundary-breaking fellows from 17 different countries and territories, including Russia, Lebanon, Indonesia, Turkey, Zimbabwe, Servia, Senegal, Colombia, Egypt, Venezuela, and the U.S., bring singular and compelling stories, and range from experimental producers to deeply-rooted traditional virtuosi to indie-rockers and more. Read more about OneBeat and its participants.

Now in it's 4th year, OneBeat begins at the Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, CA for a two-week residency, followed by a two week tour to Oregon and Washington where OneBeat fellows present audiences with a dynamic series of public performances and educational events. Tour schedule - Saratoga, Oakland, Sisters, Portland & Seattle. Our final shows from Nov 4-7 in Seattle bring us to museums & performing centers throughout the City, culminating in our final performance at the St. Marks Cathedral on Saturday the 7th. More info & tix.

OneBeat is an initiative of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, produced by Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation.

A show so great they named it twice! See and hear Michael Gordon's mind-melting piece Rushes by the Rushes Ensemble, seven virtuoso bassoon players whose textured double-reed swirls and pulses create a three-dimensional sonic experience that only Gordon can concoct. For tickets and info.

The All-Stars head west for 3 gigs in Southern California October 23-27! First up is UCLA where they will perform Julia Wollfe's Steel Hammer (with staging by SITI company) and Field Recordings. Then on to San Diego for Brian Eno's Music for Airports - the first ever performance of this piece in an US airport!

See events page for more info

Julia Wolfe's Pulitzer Prize-winning oratorio for chorus and instruments, Anthracite Fields, is now available (with a limited quantity personally autographed by Julia Wolfe) at the Bang on a Can online store and also on iTunes. The music is also streaming exclusively on Apple Music

Wolfe wrote the piece after doing extensive research about the coal-mining industry in an area very near where she grew up in Pennsylvania. Her text draws on oral histories, interviews with miners and their families, speeches, geographic descriptions, children's rhymes and coal advertisements. NPR Music’s Tom Huizenga describes the  piece as “...almost a public history project and a music  project at the same time,” which hints at the work’s universal appeal.

The recording features the Bang on a Can All-Stars and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street, under the direction of Julian Wachner. 

Here she is on NPRs All Things Considered, discussing the album.