Long Play 2024! May 3-5
“Long Play has been around only since last year, but it is already the most important classical music festival in New York City.” [NYTimes]
We are so excited to present the 3rd year of Long Play, a three-day destination music festival, presented from Friday, May 3 through Sunday, May 5, 2024. Featuring 50+ concerts , Long Play also showcases a dense network of inventive music venues in Brooklyn – with performances at BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), Roulette, Public Records, BRIC, Murmrr, Irondale Center for the Arts, The Center for Fiction, plus outdoor events and more. A limited number of 3-day Early Bird Festival and Supporter Passes are on sale now at www.longplayfestival.org!
Some featured concerts in the 2024 lineup include Soundwalk Collective + Patti Smith, Jeff Mills’ Tomorrow Comes the Harvest, Steve Reich’s master-work Music for 18 Musicians, Deerhoof, BlankFor.ms + Jason Moran, Anna Meredith + Ligeti Quartet, Raw Poetic and Damu the Fudgemunk, Bang on a Can All-Stars performing Ryuichi Sakamoto 1996, and many others.
Bang on a Can’s Co-Founders and Artistic Directors Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, say of Long Play:
We don’t know about you, but personally, ourselves, we need to listen to a lot more music. Right now. People are tense, the world is a mess. We need music’s healing powers, stat. And just as much as the music, we need the community of people around the music – the performers, the composers, the people who come together to hear it all, the people who take the tickets and sell the beer and sweep up after. We need the whole thing, all of us, the whole universe of music lovers who share the same belief – that music has the power to make us whole. Because it does.
Lucky for us, this year’s LONG PLAY festival is overflowing with all different kinds of music and musicians – music that is loud and soft, music that is driving and meditative, music that is for winding up and for winding down. Music that challenges where we have come from and that charts where we are headed. 60 plus concerts of all of this great music, in one long weekend, in multiple venues in Brooklyn, all within walking distance of each other. Come see it all, on LONG PLAY.
Media Workshop applications are online now!
Bang on a Can Media Workshop at MASS MoCA
An exploration of contemporary music criticism
July 27-Aug 4, 2024
“One of the most meaningful and impactful experiences of my writing career
thus far.” – Maggie Molloy, workshop participant
Bang on a Can, our special guest faculty John Schaefer and Terrance McKnight, and 6 writers in the early stages of their careers will gather at MASS MoCA (the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, North Adams, MA) to explore the role of criticism and journalism in today’s dynamic contemporary music scene.
The aim of the workshop is to help writers generate a vocabulary, syntax, and context that is most useful for readers/ listeners and to make modern music and criticism more accessible, welcoming, and exciting to all audiences.
The workshop will take place during the final week of the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA (a residency and festival for composers and performers) and will include daily meetings with faculty and daily writing assignments. Additionally, participants will be “embedded” in the festival activities, attending rehearsals, workshops, and performances, enabling more insights into the process of bringing music to the stage.
Application deadline is April 4, 2024
Feb 15 at The Jewish Museum: Bang on a Can All-Stars Play Philip Glass
At the same time that artists such as Marta Minujín and her New York Pop Art contemporaries were challenging the art establishment of the 1960s, there were also composers using ideas from popular culture to take on the institutions of serious music. With “Bang on a Can All-Stars Play Philip Glass,” a program including Glass’s iconic late 1960s works Music in 5ths and Two Pages, the All-Stars play music that reflects the time and ideals of Pop Art—experimental versus classical, high versus low—the time Minujín first broke into New York and ideals that remain evident in her work today.
This event is presented in conjunction with the current Jewish Museum exhibition Marta Minujín: Arte! Arte! Arte!
Our dear friend Robert Black. 1956-2023
No-one on the planet could make the double bass sing, dance, sound like a drum, spin like a top, like Robert Black. And no one dedicated his life to the new with as much invention, musicality and passion. We are all blessed to have been his friends.
Michael met Robert first and introduced us to him. Michael met him at the North American New Music Festival in Buffalo in 1985. Robert had long hair all the way to his waist, was not yet 30 years old and was already famous in the world of contemporary classical music. In 1985 no-one wanted to play new music, and new music is all that Robert wanted to play. He had already commissioned and worked with almost everyone. Michael asked him if he would look at the bass part he had written in a chamber work that had a tricky passage. Michael had written some low notes that leaped up to high harmonic double stops. Robert looked at the part and said something like: I don’t think that’s doable. Let me try. He proceeded to nail the leap up, and the double stop harmonics rang through the room, after which Robert produced one of his amazing smiles: I guess that is possible.
When we started Bang on a Can with a 12 hour marathon concert in 1987, we invited Robert to play. He performed 4 solo pieces: Theraps, which he had worked on with composer Iannis Xenakis; Hartt School of Music Professor James Sellers’ Get Hot or Get Out; Jacob Druckman’s Valentine; and Tom Johnson’s Failing. One of the great secrets about Robert is that he is not only a virtuoso, but he is a comic genius as well. His performance of Theraps and Valentine showed off all of his chops. Get Hot or Get Out showed that Robert could rock on the Electric Bass Guitar, and his performance of Failing had the audience roaring with laughter.
A few years later, in the early 1990s, we were asked, as Bang on a Can, to travel to Minneapolis and give a concert there. We asked Robert to join a few of the other outstanding performers we had been working with in forming an ensemble, which was called the Bang on a Can All-Stars. At that time, there were few if any precedents for this kind of amplified chamber ensemble with electric guitar. We didn’t realize then that 30+ years later, with a countless number of tours worldwide, including performances in China, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Mexico and all over the United States and Europe, we would still be making music together.
Here are just a few highlights that we remember, vividly. The Bang on a Can All-Stars’ first performance at the South Bank Centre in London, in which each member of the group performed a solo piece – Robert played Failing. An amazing solo bass concert of Robert’s own music and improvisations in an historic castle in Germany, as part of a Bang on a Can residency. A five-concert residency at the Adelaide Festival in Australia, on the cusp of Robert’s 40th birthday. A countless number of Marathon concerts, standing backstage with Robert, exchanging light banter, and then seeing him walk on stage and be Robert, over and over again. The commitment to livestreaming during the pandemic that compelled Robert to create his First Fridays series, in which Robert gave an online concert every month, with entirely new repertoire in each episode and increasingly sophisticated lighting and visual design. And just a few months ago, with the entire Bang on a Can collective in Bogota, Columbia, where, between sets, we were able to sit backstage with Robert, hearing the excitement in his voice as he talked about his latest projects with Philip Glass, Eve Beglarian and John Luther Adams.
Robert Black was magic – we will miss him.
-Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe
Mark Stewart, from the Bang on a Can All-Stars:
After 30 years on the bandstand with Robert I am still in awe of him.
His artistry and humanity were commensurate, and of the highest caliber.
Among so many qualities he was deeply kind, often playful, gently yet fiercely devoted to the composer and his colleagues onstage, generous and brilliant with his mirth and, perhaps rarest and most precious, a deep listener. He could always respond accurately and beautifully to what was going on, be it music or a conversation. His humility was real because his wisdom came from listening. In rehearsal when he spoke he had the floor.
Robert taught us all that integrity is a dish best served sotto voce.
As an instrumentalist he carried a very big stick: the late 19th century French amber hued bass he named “Simone.” We all heard their partnership on stage but if you never saw Robert dance with Simone, go find some footage. Robert was as celebrated in his dance world as he was in his sound world.
As a chamber musician he was priceless. I never looked to my left, (for a phrase, a groove, a crescendo, a moment, etc. ad infinitum…) without being greeted by his return gaze, his “I’m in!” already fully engaged in the task at hand. The task we would then greet together, shape together, revel in…together.
Robert visited me last in a dream. And his singular wit and wisdom were present.
It was a big gathering of lots of folks and we were about to sit down to eat.
Someone said, “let’s have the cake!”
I turned to Robert and said, “shouldn’t we eat the real food first?”
Robert smiled and said, “it’s always a good time for cake.”