Courtesy of the artists

Bang on a Can at the Noguchi, Sept 24: For Living Lovers

For the next concert in the Bang on a Can series at The Noguchi Museum, on Sun, Sept 24, we present For Living Lovers, a duo with guitarist Brandon Ross and bassist Stomu Takeishi.

Brandon Ross and Stomu Takeishi are both longtime veterans of New York City’s creative music scene. Over the course of their long collaboration, the duo have developed a unique dialogue and timbral language for guitar and bass. For Living Lovers’s music poses questions—physical, philosophical, and sonic—all while inviting the listener to participate in an intimate conversation.

Tickets and Info


Victor Frankowski

Meredith Monk’s MEMORY GAME Aug 31 in LA

Meredith Monk’s MEMORY GAME
Performed by Meredith Monk & Vocal Ensemble and the Bang on a Can All-Stars

MEMORY GAME is both a look back at a pivotal point in Meredith Monk’s storied career, and a richly layered portrait of how vocal music—under the guidance of an indefatigable master—can play with our expectations in poignant and compelling ways.

Live at The Ford, presented by the LA Phil!

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Courtesy MASS MoCA

Gallery Concerts at MASS MoCA, July 13-27

Leading up to a LOUD Weekend finale, Bang on a Can fellows and faculty let loose throughout the incredible MASS MoCA galleries. Gallery concerts are free with museum admission, performed on some weekdays at 1:30pm and 4:30pm.

  • Friday, July 14 – Ghanaian Drumming (festival participants)
  • Monday, July 17 – Mark Stewart with the Gunnar Schonbeck instruments
  • Wednesday, July 19 – Vicky Chow
  • Friday, July 21 – Todd Reynolds
  • Monday, July 24 – Gregg August plus festival ensembles
  • Wednesday, July 26 – Short New Works by the festival composers

Learn more at 

LOUD Weekend Festival at MASS MoCA is July 27-29

Bang on a Can and MASS MoCA announce the 2023 edition of our multi-day music festival called LOUD Weekend, presented on Thursday, July 27 through Saturday, July 29, 2023, at MASS MoCA. LOUD Weekend features three days of ear-bending music and mind-blowing art exhibitions taking place throughout the museum’s vast galleries and its stunning collection of indoor and outdoor performing arts venues.

LOUD Weekend 2023 (additional artists and more details to be announced): 

  • KRONOS Five Decades – the singular legendary Kronos Quartet perform TWO concerts celebrating their 50th anniversary season.
  • Love in Exile – a brand new collaborative album and tour featuring experimental super trio Arooj Aftab, Vijay Iyer, and Shahzad Ismaily kicks off LOUD Weekend on Thursday night, 7/27.
  • David Lang explores our eternal fascination with death, love, family and suicide in the concert premiere of his newest chamber opera, note to a friendbased on three haunting texts by iconic Japanese novelist Ryunosuke Akutagawa. Featuring Theo Bleckmann, vocal.
  • The electric Bang on a Can All-Stars (NY) team up and face-off with the Netherland’s Ensemble Klang (NL) for the US premiere of Pete Harden’s heavy hocketing hoedown Forgiveness and Forgetting. 
  • Time and distance collapse in the music of the Catalan folk duo Tarta Relena. With little more than their two voices, Helena Ros and Marta Torrella connect the far corners of the Mediterranean, drawing on traditions stretching back more than a thousand years (Pitchfork).
  • Composer Paola Prestini and cellist Jeffrey Zeigler pair up for Houses of Zodiac: Poems for Cello, an installation-concert drawing inspiration from the writings of Anaïs Nin, Pablo Neruda, Brenda Shaughnessy, and Natasha Trethewey to explore the intersection of mind, body, and nature, with films by Murat Eyuboglu.
  • All-time powerhouse composer Joan Tower returns to LOUD Weekend with her brand new piece  Into the Night. 
  • Composer Oscar Bettison’s mega-work O Death, mixes saxophones, trombone, banjo and piano with jaw’s harps, harmonicas, recorders, melodica, flower pots and prepared wrenches, performed by Ensemble Klang, all the way from Holland!
  • The return of composer Jeffrey Brooks to LOUD Weekend – with the world premiere of his latest work in the Stein-o-caster series for an ingeniously amplified piano played with paint brushes.
  • Special guest composers Andy Akiho, Nicole Lizée, David Sanford, and more. 
  • WORLD PREMIERES by the 2023 summer festival composition fellows. 
  • Music by Bang on a Can co-founders Michael Gordon and Julia Wolfe.
  • Performances by Gregg August, Robert Black, Vicky Chow, David Cossin, Arlen Hlusko, Nick Photinos, Todd Reynolds, Mark Stewart, Maya Stone, Ken Thomson, plus fellows from the 2023 Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA.

More info and tickets

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.”

Bang on a Can and the Jewish Museum on the Museum Mile – Dingonek Street Band – June 13

On June 13, join Bang on a Can, the Jewish Museum, and their Museum Mile neighbors for the 45th Annual Museum Mile Festival. Festival attendees can walk the Mile on Fifth Avenue between 82nd Street and 110th Street while visiting eight of New York City’s finest cultural institutions, all of which are free and open to the public from 6 to 9 pm.

Dingonek Street Band will perform three sets (at 6 pm, 7 pm, and 8 pm) outside the Jewish Museum on Fifth Avenue.

Dingonek Street Band is a Brooklyn-based brass band dedicated to human culture and sonic adventure. Built on the celebratory energy and raw spontaneity of the second-line brass band tradition, Dingonek has created a funky, high-energy party music all its own by absorbing and reworking elements of Afrobeat, Ethio-jazz, punk rock, free jazz, and Balkan brass music.

More info

Sarah Serpa with Erik Friedlander and Ingrid Laubrock at the Jewish Museum, May 18

Bang on a Can and the Jewish Museum present Sarah Serpa with Erik Friedlander and Ingrid Laubrock

Thursday, May 18, 2023 – 7:30pm

Sara Serpa’s distinctive new trio presents a contemporary approach in writing for the voice, challenging traditional roles and highlighting pristine textures in jazz and improvisational music. Never losing track of the common bond that brings these musicians together, Serpa features two extremely innovative improvisers, Erik Friedlander and Ingrid Luabrock, who have a precise sound and particular musical personalities. Collectively, they create a detailed and exposed portrait of her musical world, featuring wordless compositions and texts by Virginia Woolf, Luce Irigaray and Ruy Bello in concert echoing the movement of people and art across borders central to the museum’s current exhibition The Sassoons.

More info and tickets

photo by John Rogers

Julia Wolfe – May 25-27 Her Story – June 1-3 unEarth (world premiere)

Julia Wolfe is on a roll! 2 major performances are coming right up.

May 25-27, Her Story comes to San Francisco

Her Story, performed by the Lorelei Ensemble and the SF Symphony captures the passion and perseverance of women who have led the fight for representation and gender equality. A 40-minute theatrical experience, the piece is the latest in a series of compositions by Wolfe that highlights monumental and turbulent moments in American history.

Her Story – more info and tickets

June 1-3, the NYPhil premieres Julia’s new work unEarth

unEarth “digs deep into the stories and science of our planet — looking at forced migrations, adaptations, species land loss, and changing seas … singing our fears and hoping for a way forward.”

unEarth – more info and tickets