Faculty

Gregg August (bass)

File 439Gregg August lives in New York and is actively involved in the classical as well as latin and jazz scenes. He performs with the Orchestra of St. Luke's and Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and is the assistant principal bass of The Brooklyn Philharmonic. He has performed chamber music with The Brentano Quartet, the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, and for 2 years was the principal bassist of La Orquesta Ciutat de Barcelona in Spain. At the same time he has played and recorded with Ray Barretto, Paquito D'Rivera, James Moody and Kenny Burrell. At present heps the bassist with Ray Vega and his Latin Jazz Sextet. Gregg will be releasing a record of original music in the spring of 2004 featuring Ray Barretto and Frank Wess. He received his Bachelor and Masterps degrees from The Eastman School of Music and The Juilliard School respectively.

Ashley Bathgate (cello)

File 242American cellist Ashley Bathgate was born in 1985 in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. and began cello studies at age 12. As a recitalist and chamber musician, she has appeared at the Saratoga Chamber Music Festival, Barge Music, Le Poisson Rouge, Merkin Hall, and Carnegie's Zankel Hall, to name a few. She made her official New York Debut in Carnegie's Weill Hall with noted pianist Todd Crow in 2008. Ashley has also been a featured artist on WMHT FM, WQXR FM's 'Young Artist Showcase', and NPR's 'Performance Today'. She has frequently been invited to perform as a soloist with orchestra, including appearances with the Lake Placid Sinfonietta, the Woodstock Chamber Orchestra, the Windham Chamber Players and in performances of the d'Albert and Barber cello concertos with the American Symphony Orchestra, directed by Leon Botstein. Most recently she appeared as a guest artist with the Greater Newburgh Symphony and the Yale Philharmonia. She is also a member of the internationally acclaimed new music ensemble, the Bang on a Can All Stars. Ashley was a full scholarship student at Bard college and recently received her Master's Degree and Artist Diploma from the Yale University School of Music where she studied with renowned cellist and professor, Aldo Parisot. Among her many awards are a grant from the New York Philharmonic Players Fund sponsored by Stephen and Elaine Stamas, top prizes in the Lois Lyman concerto competition ('99 & '01, an unprecedented achievement), the Hugo Kauder Memorial Strings competition in 2006 and the 2008 Yale University School of Music Woolsey Hall concerto competition. Most recently, Ashley's newly formed Lorien Trio received the Bronze Medal at the 2009 Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition.

Vicky Chow (piano)

File 1387Canadian pianist Vicky Chow has performed extensively as a classical and contemporary soloist, chamber musician, and ensemble member, and has been described as “brilliant” (New York Times), “a monster pianist” (Time Out New York) “virtuosic” (New Jersey Star Ledger) and “sparkling” with a “feisty technique” (MIT Tech). Joining the All-Stars in 2009, Vicky has also performed with other groups such as Wordless Music Orchestra, Opera Cabal, Wet Ink Ensemble, ai ensemble and AXIOM. Her passion has propelled Vicky to work with an A-to-Z of leading composers and musicians such as John Adams, Louis Andriessen, Bryce Dessner (The National) Philip Glass,Glenn Kotche (Wilco), David Longstreth (Dirty Projectors), Steve Reich, Terry Riley, and Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth). Her first solo piano album of music composed by Ryan Francis has been released under the ‘tzadik’ label. She has also recorded for the Cantaloupe and altzVoz labels. In addition to performing, Ms. Chow also produces and curates “Contagious Sounds”, a new music series focusing on adventurous contemporary artists and composers at the Gershwin Hotel in New York City. Originally from Vancouver Canada, Ms. Chow studied at The Juilliard School with Yoheved Kaplinsky and Julian Martin (B.M, M.M. ‘Piano Performance’) before continuing studies at Manhattan School of Music (M.M., P.S. ‘Contemporary Performance’) with Christopher Oldfather. Starting the piano at age 5, she was invited to perform at the age of 9 at the International Gilmore Music Keyboard. She made her orchestral debut at the age of 10 with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra made her last orchestral appearance at Alice Tully Hall with the Juilliard Symphony performing Bartok’s Piano Concerto No. 1. Ms. Chow resides in New York City.  www.vickychow.com

David Cossin (percussion)

File 440David Cossin is a specialist in new and experimental music. David has worked across a broad spectrum of musical and artistic forms to incorporate new media with percussion. He has recorded and performed internationally with composers and ensembles including the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Steve Reich and Musicians, Philip Glass, Yo-Yo Ma, Meredith Monk, Tan Dun, Cecil Taylor, Talujon Percussion Quartet, and the trio Real Quiet. Numerous theater projects include collaborations with Blue Man Group, Mabou Mines, and director Peter Sellars. David was featured as the percussion soloist in Tan Dun's Grammy and Oscar winning score to Ang Lee's film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. David has performed as a soloist with orchestras throughout the world including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestra Radio France, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Sao Paulo State Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, Hong Kong Symphony, and the Singapore Symphony. David ventures into other art forms include sonic installations, which have been presented in New York, Italy and Germany. David is also an active composer and has invented several new instruments, which expand the limits of traditional percussion. David is the curator for the Sound Res Festival, an experimental music festival in southern Italy and also teaches percussion at Queens College in New York City.

Michael Gordon (composer, Bang on a Can Co-Artistic Director)

File 1314Michael Gordon's compositions demonstrate a deep exploration into the possibilities and nature of rhythm and what happens when rhythms are piled on top of each other, creating a glorious confusion. John Adams, who has conducted Gordon's works with the London Sinfonietta and Ensemble Modern, calls these raw and complicated sounds "irrational rhythms." Gordon's special interest in adding dimensions to the concert experience has led to frequent collaborations with artists in other media. For example, in DECASIA, a multimedia orchestra piece with films by Bill Morrison and spectacle by Ridge Theater, the audience stands in the middle of a three-tiered, triangular structure surrounded by an orchestra and large projection scrims. DECASIA was commissioned by the Basel Sinfonietta and premiered at European Music Month 2001. Gordon's most significant recent project is a new CD for Nonesuch, "Light is Calling". The music here is sonic and sensual with layers of violins, electric guitars and voice in counterpoint with studio-based electronic creations. Other recent works include POTASSIUM for the Kronos Quartet, TRANCE for Icebreaker, and WEATHER, written for the young Hamburg-based string orchestra Ensemble Resonanz. Gordon's music has been presented at BAM, Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Royal Albert Hall, the Bonn Oper, the Sydney 2000 Olympic Arts Festival, and the Holland, Rotterdam, Edinburgh, St. Petersburg, and Settembre Musica festivals, and in choreography of The Royal Ballet, Eliot Feld, Emio Greco/PC, among others. His CDs include LIGHT IS CALLING (Nonesuch), DECASIA (Cantaloupe), WEATHER (Nonesuch) and LOST OBJECTS (Teldec).

David Lang (composer, Bang on a Can Co-Artistic Director)

File 42David Lang received the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for the little match girl passion, commissioned by Carnegie Hall for the vocal ensemble Theater of Voices, directed by Paul Hillier.  His recent works include reason to believe, for Trio Mediaeval and the Norwegian Radio Orchestra; death speaks, for Shara Worden, Bryce Dessner, Nico Muhly, and Owen Pallett; writing on water for the London Sinfonietta, with libretto and visuals by English filmmaker Peter Greenaway; and the difficulty of crossing a field, a fully staged opera with the Kronos Quartet.  The CD of the little match girl passion, on Harmonia Mundi, won the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance. Lang is co-founder of New York's legendary music festival Bang on a Can.

Brad Lubman (conductor)

Brad Lubman, conductor/composer, is founding co-Artistic Director and Music Director of Ensemble Signal, hailed by The New York Times as “one of the most vital groups of its kind.”. Since his conducting debut in 1984, he has gained widespread recognition for his versatility, commanding technique, and insightful interpretations. His guest conducting engagements include major orchestras such as the DSO Berlin, Netherlands Radio Kamer Filharmonie, Residentie Orchestra Den Haag, WDR Symphony Cologne, NDR Symphony Hamburg, Bavarian Radio Orchestra, Stuttgart Radio Symphony, Dresden Philharmonic, Deutschland Radio Philharmonie, Frankfurt Radio Symphony, Taiwan National Symphony, Cracow Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Finnish Radio Symphony, American Composers Orchestra, National Symphony Orchestra, and the St Paul Chamber Orchestra, performing repertoire ranging from classical to contemporary orchestral works. He has worked with some of the most important ensembles for contemporary music, including London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Klangforum Wien, musikFabrik, Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, and Steve Reich and Musicians.

He has recorded for AEON, Albany, BMG/RCA, Bridge, Cantaloupe, CRI, Kairos, Koch, Mode, New World, NEOS, Nonesuch, Orange Mountain, and Tzadik. Lubman’s own compositions have been performed in the USA and Europe and can be heard on his CD, insomniac, on Tzadik.

Nicholas Photinos (cello)

File 1900Nicholas Photinos (cello) is a founding member of the Grammy Award-winning, Chicago-based new music ensemble eighth blackbird. Formed in 1996, the ensemble performs throughout the world, giving 50-60 concerts annually, and has been featured on CBS’s Sunday Morning and in the New York Times. During the 2011/12 season eighth blackbird tours Australia twice, making debuts at the Sydney Opera House and the Brisbane Festival, and performs with the symphony orchestras of Melbourne and Tasmania. The ensemble plays in New York (SONiC festival), Washington DC's Kennedy Center, Kansas City, Ithaca and Princeton, and appears with the Cincinnati Symphony. Nicholas teaches at the University of Richmond and the University of Chicago, and since 2007 has taught at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival. He has also performed as a member of the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra and Canton and Columbus Symphony Orchestras, and performed and recorded with artists including Björk, Wilco, Autumn Defense, violinist Zach Brock, bassist Matt Ulery and singer Grazyna Auguscik. Nicholas is a graduate of Northwestern University, the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music. He has recorded for the Nonesuch, Cedille and Naxos labels, among others.

Vicki Ray (piano)

File 1392Described as “phenomenal and fearless” Vicki Ray is one of the leading interpreters of contemporary piano music. A long-time champion of new music she has worked with some of the most prominent composers of our time, including figures as diverse as Gyorgy Ligeti, Pierre Boulez, Steve Reich, Elliot Carter, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Oliver Knussen, Louis Andriessen, Steven Stucky, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Michael Gordon and Chinary Ung. Ms. Ray has commissioned and premiered numerous works, running the gamut from established composers such as John Adams, Morton Subotnick, Stephen Hartke, David Rosenboom, Paul Dresher, Rand Steiger, Kamran Ince and Eric Chasalow among others - to emerging young artists such as Amy Kirsten, Daniel Wohl and Oscar Bettison. Known for thoughtful and innovative programming which seeks to redefine the piano recital in the 21st century, Vicki’s concerts often include electronics, video, recitation and improvisation. As noted by Alan Rich, “Vicki plans programs with a knack for marvelous freeform artistry…what she draws from her piano always relates in wondrous ways to the senses.” As a founding member of Piano Spheres, an acclaimed series dedicated to exploring the less familiar realms of the solo piano repertoire, her playing has been hailed by the Los Angeles Times for “displaying that kind of musical thoroughness and technical panache that puts a composer’s thoughts directly before the listener.”As a pianist who excels in a wide range of styles Vicki Ray’s numerous recordings cover everything from the premiere release of the Reich You Are Variations to the semi-improvised structures of Wadada Leo Smith, from the elegant serialism of Mel Powell to the austere beauty of Morton Feldman’s Crippled Symmetries. Recent releases include Feldman’s For Christian Wolff on Bridge Records. Upcoming recordings include David Rosenboom’s Twilight Language on Tzadik Records and Feldman’s For Piano and String Quartet with the Eclipse Quartet on Bridge Records.Vicki has been the pianist with the west coast new music ensembles The California E.A.R Unit and Xtet. She is often featured on the Los Angeles Philharmonic Green Umbrella series and on the legendary Monday Evening Concerts series. She is currently head of the piano department at the California Institute of the Arts, where she has been on the faculty since 1991. In 2010 she was awarded the Hal Blaine Chair in Music Performance.  For current information on upcoming concerts please go to www.vickiray.org    

Todd Reynolds (violin)

File 1391Todd Reynolds (violin) violinist, composer, conductor, and more, is known as one of the founding fathers of the hybrid-musician movement and one of the most active and versatile proponents of what he calls “present music.” A “daredevil musician” and violinist of choice for Steve Reich, Meredith Monk, and Bang on a Can, as well as a founder of the string quartet known as Ethel, his compositional and performance style is a hybrid of old and new technology, multi-disciplinary aesthetic, and pan-genre composition and improvisation. Reynolds’ music has been called “a charming, multi-mood extravaganza, playful like Milhaud, but hard-edged like Hendrix” (StringsMagazine), and his countless premieres and performances of everything from classical music to jazz to rock ‘n’ roll seem to redefine the concert hall and underground club as undeniably and unavoidably intertwined. He has played as soloist with Yo-Yo Ma and toured with John Cale, Joe Jackson, and Todd Rundgren, and continues to create new electronic and chamber music collaborations, enjoying orchestral, Broadway, and commercial careers along the way. His ongoing collaborations with composers, visual artists, and performers continue to contribute to his ever-expanding book of music, Nuove Uova, and to his ultra-flexible concert-theater format. He has just released a double CD set,Outerborough, on Innova Recordings, featuring InSide, a collection of his own music, paired with OutSide, music written by a veritable who’s who of contemporary composers.

Mark Stewart (electric guitar)

File 1836Multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer and instrument designer Mark Stewart has been heard around the world performing old and new music. Going to conservatory to study both guitar and cello, he came to NYC to work as a performer on both instruments; however upon completing school he was most drawn to the electric guitar. Today Mark plays regularly with with a wide range of musicians: since 1998 he has recorded, toured and been Musical Director with Paul Simon. A founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Mark is also a member of Steve Reich & Musicians and the comic duo Polygraph Lounge with keyboard & theremin wizard Rob Schwimmer and has performed with Anthony Braxton, Bob Dylan, Stevie Wonder, Bruce Springsteen, Bobby McFerrin, Paul McCartney, the Everly Brothers, David Byrne, & James Taylor. Mark has collaborated extensively with composer Elliot Goldenthal on music for the feature fillms The Tempest, Across the Universe, Titus, The Butcher Boy, The Good Thief, In Dreams, and Heat, often playing instruments of his own design and construction.

Ken Thomson (clarinet, saxophone)

File 2225Ken Thomson is a Brooklyn-based clarinetist, saxophonist, and composer. In demand as a composer and freelancer in many settings, he moves quickly between genres and scenes, bringing a fiery intensity and emotional commitment to every musical situation; Time Out NY called him “the hardest-working saxophonist in new-music show business.”  He plays clarinets for the Bang on a Can All-Stars. He leads the Asphalt Orchestra - a 12-piece next-generation avant-garde marching band, called “cooly brilliant, infectious... top notch players” by The New York Times. He plays saxophone and is one of the 3 composers in the punk/jazz band Gutbucket, with whom he has toured internationally to nineteen countries and 32 states over fourteen years, and released CDs for Knitting Factory, Enja, NRW, Cantaloupe and Cuneiform Records.  He latest project of exclusively his music, called Slow/Fast, released its debut CD "It Would Be Easier If" internationally on Intuition Records in 2010, garnering a feature review in The New York Times highlighting the “intricately wrought and incident-steeped” compositions and “gutsy precision of the playing.”  A followup disc, Settle, will be released in 2014. As a composer, he has been commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, Bang on a Can, the True/False Film Festival, and others, and has received awards from New Music USA, ASCAP and Meet the Composer. His latest CD of his compositions with the heralded JACK Quartet, entitled "Thaw," was released in November 2013 on Cantaloupe Music.  The San Francisco Weekly writes about his music, “Thomson’s original compositions are as complex as a beehive, filled with amber-hued nooks and crannies that bear traces of jazz, world music, and classical, without succumbing to any of them.” As a saxophonist and clarinetist, he is a member of the next-generation chamber orchestra Signal (conducted by Brad Lubman), working directly with composers from Steve Reich to Helmut Lachenmann and a performer on CDs for Mode, Orange Mountain, and Cantaloupe Records. He is a frequent collaborator with many new-composed music groups including Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), So Percussion, and more. He has also worked as a music director, notably, directing composer Julia Wolfe's "Traveling Music" at the Bordeaux Conservatory, France, 2009, and has conducted performances of "Music for Airports" with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, choir, and guest musicians in Melbourne and Buenos Aires.

Julia Wolfe (composer, Bang on a Can Co-Artistic Director)

File 41Drawing inspiration from folk, classical, and rock genres, Julia Wolfe’s music brings a modern sensibility to each while simultaneously tearing down the walls between them. Her music is distinguished by an intense physicality and a relentless power that pushes performers to extremes and demands attention from the audience. Wolfe's Cruel Sister for string orchestra was commissioned by the Munich Chamber Orchestra was recently released with Ensemble Resonanz (along with her other string orchestra work, Fuel) on Cantaloupe Music. Other CDs on Cantaloupe include Dark Full Ride (music for multiples) and Julia Wolfe – The String Quartets. Upcoming projects include a percussion concerto for Colin Currie and the BBC orchestra, and a new work for the Amsterdam based cello8ctet, and an evening length work for the Mendelssohn Club Choir and the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Wolfe has collaborated with theater artist Anna Deveare Smith, architects DillerScofidio+Renfro, filmmaker Bill Morrison, Ridge Theater, director Francois Girard, Jim Findlay, and choreographer Susan Marshall among others. Her music has been heard at BAM, the Sydney Olympic Arts Festival, Settembre Musica (Italy), Theatre de la Ville (Paris), Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall, and has been recorded on Cantaloupe, Teldec, Point/Universal, Sony Classical, and Argo/Decca. In 2009 Wolfe joined the NYU Steinhardt School composition faculty. She is co-founder of New York's music collective Bang on a Can.

Guest Faculty

Nani Agbeli (African drumming & dance)

File 2375Nani Agbeli (Ghana) Known for his energy, athleticism, and precision on stage, the charismatic Nani Agbeli is one of the leading Ghanaian dancers of his generation. Born into a family of prominent dancers and drummers in Ghana’s Volta region, he was trained by his father, the late Godwin K. Agbeli, who performed with the Arts Council of Ghana Folkloric Company and later served as chairman of the Ghanaian National Association of Cultural Groups.

 Nani went on to study with artists at the National Arts Center in Accra and, for many years, led the award-winning cultural troupe Sankofa Roots II. For nine years, he served as the lead drum and dance instructor at the Dagbe Cultural Center, a school that trains domestic and international students in Ghanaian traditional arts.

Nani currently lives in Boston, Massachusetts. He is on the faculty of the Music Department of Tufts University where he directs the Kiniwe Ensemble and teaches an integrated curriculum in the traditional singing, drumming and dancing of Ghana. Nani also teaches Ghanaian drumming and dancing at Harvard University and Mount Holyoke College. In addition, he’s taught at Berklee College of Music, the Edna Manley School in Jamaica, Bowling Green University, and the University of Virginia, and held artistic residencies at many other colleges. He also is the Artistic Director of the Agbekor Drum and Dance Society, a community-based group in Greater Boston that was founded by Professor David Locke of Tufts University (www.agbekorsociety.org). Nani Agbeli leads study tours to Ghana in July-August and is available for performances, workshops, residencies and lecture-demonstrations. While he’s best known as a dancer, Nani is a gifted, multi-talented artist who does textile arts, painting, and computer graphics.