July 21, 2012

BANG ON A CAN ALL-STARS with Todd Reynolds & Nick Zammuto

MIRA CALIX: meeting you seemed easy
MICHAEL GORDON: gene takes a drink
DAVID LANG: unused swan
NICK ZAMMUTO: Real Beauty Turns 
TODD REYNOLDS: Seven Sundays

Bang on a Can All-Stars

Bass, Gregg August
Cello, Ashley Bathgate
Piano, Vicky Chow
Percussion, David Cossin
Guitar, Derek Johnson
Clarinets, Eileen Mack



Bassist and composer Gregg August spans the jazz, Latin jazz, classical and avant-garde scenes making him one of the most versatile musicians on the scene today. A former member of Ray Barretto’s New World Spirit, Gregg has also performed with Chick Corea, Ornette Coleman, Paquito D’Rivera, as well as the Bang on a Can All Stars. As a classical bassist he plays with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra of St. Luke’s. A member of the JD Allen Trio since 2007 August is also the bassist with the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra, assistant principal bass of the Brooklyn Philharmonic and a member of the double bass quartet Heavy Hands. In 2003, August formed his own group, which has recorded two critically acclaimed albums: Late August (Iacuessa Records, 2005) and One Peace (Iacuessa Records, 2007) which was selected as one of the Top Ten recordings of 2007 by Hot House magazine. His third recording as a leader Four by Six will be released in 2012. He is a faculty member at The University of Connecticut, New Jersey City University and the Bang on a Can Summer Music Institute at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts.

A native of Saratoga Springs, NY, cellist Ashley Bathgate has gained international renown as both a soloist and chamber musician. The New York Times writes, “Ms. Bathgate's rich tone, fluid dynamics and imaginative phrasing captured the magic.” Equally at home in both the concert hall and the rock club, Ashley focuses on presenting concerts that draw from a wide range of musical genres. Her dedication to performing classical music is equally matched by her passion to promote new music by today's composers. She is a member of the award winning, internationally acclaimed Bang on a Can All-Stars, the Metropolis Ensemble and two chamber groups of which she is a founding member: TwoSense and Typical Music. She has recorded for Nonesuch, Naxos, Cantaloupe Music, Albany Records and La-La Land Records. Ashley received her bachelor's degree from Bard College and a master's degree from Yale University where she studied with cellist and professor, Aldo Parisot. She currently resides in Manhattan, NY. For more information please visit

Mira Calix is an award winning composer, artist and performer based in the United Kingdom She is signed to Warp Records, on which she has released five albums. Although her earlier music is almost exclusively electronic in nature, in more recent years,  she has incorporated  classical orchestration into her work for installation pieces, film soundtracks, theatre and opera. Mira has been commissioned to write new works for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Aldeburgh Festival, Opera North and The Manchester International Festival amongst others. In the autumn of 2009 she won a British Composer Award for her composition, ‘My Secret Heart’. Her collaboration with United Visual Artists on ‘Chorus’ an installation commissioned by Opera North received an Award of Distinction in the Interactive Category at Prix Ars Electronica 2010. Her score for the recent collaboration with visual artists Flat-E, ‘Fables – A Film Opera’ was nominated for a British Composer Award in 2011.

Canadian 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.

Percussionist David 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.

Andrew Cotton (sound design/engineer) works with several major London producers, specializing in contemporary music projects with artists and concert series as diverse as Elvis Costello & John Harle, the BBC Promenade Series, Meltdown, George Russell, Carla Bley,& Talvin Singh. He collaborates with composers Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe & David Lang on their pieces for the All-Stars as well as large ensemble, dance & theatre pieces. He also act as technical manager and sound collaborator with percussionist Evelyn Glennie DBE.

Jim Findlay (lighting design) is trying to turn into unicorns. He is a 2 star general of generalism and directs, designs, performs and destroys theaters all over the world.  People who haven't fired him yet include Ralph Lemon, Ridge Theater, Bang on a Can, BAM, Arena Stage, American Repertory Theater and the dual Pizza Hut/Dunkin Donuts on Fulton Mall.  People who have fired him, or who he has fired, after making great things together include the Wooster Group, Cynthia Hopkins, David Byrne, DJ Spooky, Mars Bar and the Collapsable Giraffe.  He is currently making a show for a sleeping audience called "Dream of the Red Chamber".  Awards: Yes.  

Michael Gordon's music merges subtle rhythmic invention with incredible power. Over the past 25 years, Gordon has produced a strikingly diverse body of work ranging from large-scale pieces for high-energy ensembles to major orchestral commissions to works conceived specifically for the recording studio. Gordon's orchestral works include Rewriting Beethoven's Seventh Symphony, a radical reworking of the original, and Decasia, a large-scale, single-movement, relentlessly monumental work -- with film by Bill Morrison -- that has become a cult favorite since its premiere in 2001. His interest in exploring various sound textures has led him to create chamber works that distort traditional classical instruments with electronic effects and guitar pedals, including Potassium for the Kronos Quartet and Industry for cellist Maya Beiser. His passion for adding dimensionality to the traditional concert experience has led to numerous collaborations with artists in other media, most frequently with filmmaker Bill Morrison and Ridge Theater. Gordon’s recent evening-length work for percussion sextet, Timber, released on Cantaloupe Records, has been overwhelmingly praised by critics and was toured by the co-commissioners throughout Europe (Slagwerk Den Haag) and North America (Mantra Percussion).

Florent Ghys is a composer and upright bass player from Bordeaux, France. He studied ethno-musicology with a focus on Arabic contemporary music in Université de Bordeaux 3, and classical contrabass in Paris with Thierry Barbé. He is currently a graduate student at New York University, studying composition with Julia Wolfe. As a solo bass player he played his own music at Le Poisson Rouge (MATA 2011), Winter Garden (Bang on a Can Festival 2010), WNYC (Soundcheck May 2010), Carlsbad Music Festival, the Gershwin Hotel, and has been featured on NBC's website. His new album ''Baroque Tardif'' was released on Cantaloupe music in 2011. He creates highly contrapuntal, post-minimalist chamber music showcasing intelligent multi-tracking and inventive use of electronics and sampled speech. On the surface, his music is lighthearted and engaging, with loops and repetitions dancing around each other, creating clever and pleasing rhythms. These seemingly simple elements are carefully crafted, however, and pieced together very deliberately.

Derek Johnson is an electric guitarist, composer, and educator active in the world of contemporary concert music and beyond. Born and raised at the majestic base of the Rocky Mountains in Boulder, Colorado, Derek began his college training as an electric guitarist at Columbia College Chicago and completed graduate degrees in composition at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He is a founding member of the virtuoso chamber ensemble BASILICA and a regular performer with the post-rock improvisation collective the goodhands team. Deeply engaged in the emerging position of the electric guitar in concert music, Derek is an active as a both a soloist and chamber musician presenting the rich and steadily growing canon of works written specifically for the electric guitar. His compositions been performed throughout the United States and Canada by leading soloists and ensembles including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW and Montreal’s Nouvel Ensemble Moderne.  He has served as a faculty member in the music department of Columbia College Chicago, as an Associate Instructor of Composition at Indiana University’s Jacob School of Music, and as chamber music faculty at the Bang On A Can Summer Institute. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition at the Ball State University School of Music, and is the director of the BSU Electric Guitar Quartet. Derek is an avid transcriber and is currently working in collaboration with the innovative Swedish band Meshuggah on a series of transcription books encompassing the band’s complete discography.

David Lang is the recipient of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Music for the little match girl passion, commissioned by Carnegie Hall for the vocal ensemble Theatre of Voices, directed by Paul Hillier. One of America’s most performed and honored composers, many of Lang’s pieces resemble each other only in the fierce intelligence and clarity of vision that inform their structures. Much of his work seeks to expand the definition of virtuosity in music-even the deceptively simple pieces can be fiendishly difficult to play and require incredible concentration by musicians and audiences alike. His recent works include plainspoken for the New York City Ballet; writing on water for the London Sinfonietta – with libretto and visuals by English filmmaker Peter Greenaway; the difficulty of crossing a field – a fully staged opera for the Kronos Quartet; loud love songs, a concerto for the percussionist Evelyn Glennie; and the oratorio Shelter, with co-composers Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe for the Next Wave Festival of the Brooklyn Academy of Music, staged by Ridge Theater and featuring the Norwegian vocal ensemble Trio Mediaeval. The commercial recording of the little match girl passion was released in 2009 on Harmonia Mundi and received the 2010 Grammy Award for Best Small Ensemble Performance.

Clarinetist Eileen Mack grew up in Australia and is now based in New York. She is a member of post-minimalist band Victoire and the amplified ensemble Newspeak (which she also co-directs), and has performed with many other New York new music groups including Wet Ink, Alarm Will Sound, Signal Ensemble and the Wordless Music Orchestra. She has performed in venues around the world including Zankel Hall, the Sydney Opera House, the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and London's Royal Albert Hall; with conductors including Pierre Boulez, Oliver Knussen, Brad Lubman and Alan Pierson; and has appeared as soloist at the Canberra International Chamber Music Festival and the Bang on a Can Marathon. Her discography ranges from work on the Crocodile Hunter TV and movie soundtracks to releases on New Amsterdam Records, Tzadik, Innova, and Warp Records. Eileen has degrees from the the Queensland Conservatorium and the Manhattan School of Music, where she studied with Charles Neidich. She was a fellow at the very first Bang on a Can Summer Festival exactly ten years ago.

Christian Marclay (composer) is well known for his work in a wide range of media, including sculpture, video, photography, collage, performance, and music. Born in San Rafael, California and raised in Geneva, Switzerland, Marclay has been exploring the connections between the visual and the audible, creating works in which these two distinct sensibilities enrich and challenge each other since 1979. Using phonograph records as his "musical instruments," he mixes altered records on multiple turntables in a display of precise and abusive manipulations. He has performed throughout Europe, Japan, Canada and the United States, collaborating with many composers and musicians, such as Elliott Sharp, John Zorn, Butch Morris, Zeena Parkins, Christian Wolff, Ikue Mori, Shelley Hirsch, Günter Müller, Kronos Quartet, and Sonic Youth, among many others. More recently he has been creating graphic scores and “video scores” for others to interpret.

Todd Reynolds, 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.

Julia Wolfe's music draws inspiration from folk, classical, and rock genres and brings a modern sensibility to each while simultaneously tearing down the walls between them. Wolfe's music is distinguished by an intense physicality and a relentless power that pushes performers to extremes and demands attention from the audience. Her string quartets combine the violent forward drive of rock music with an aura of minimalist serenity and use the four instruments as a big guitar, whipping psychedelic states of mind into frenzied and ecstatic climaxes. Wolfe's thirty-minute Cruel Sister for string orchestra, inspired by a traditional English ballad of a love rivalry between sisters was released on Cantaloupe Records in March 2011, along with her string orchestra work Fuel created in collaboration with filmmaker Bill Morrison. Wolfe’s evening length art ballad, Steel Hammer, commissioned by Carnegie Hall and written for Trio Mediaeval and the Bang on a Can All-Stars was recently recorded and will be released this coming year. Wolfe is director of composition at NYU’s Steinhardt School.

Nick Zammuto (composer and guitar), well known for his experimental folktronica outfit 'The Books', currently lives and works in Vermont. Since the retirement of 'the Books' in 2011, Nick has founded a new four piece band simply called 'Zammuto', and recently debuted new songs from their forthcoming album on the Brooklyn based label Temporary Residence to a sold out crowd at 92Ytribeca in early February. In parallel with producing his own records, he has done soundtrack work for films, most recently for 'Achante', a film about Haitian Vodou practices. His musical performances often involve tightly synched visuals, usually as sample based videos or interactive sound sculpture. He lives with his wife and three sons in the Green Mountains of Southern Vermont, in a house they designed and constructed themselves.