In Michael Gordon's opera Acquanetta, the spirit of 1940s horror movies is turned inside out in a bravura, one-act deconstruction of the genre that explores how vision relates to identity. Characters include the mad scientist Doctor, the insistent Ape, the reluctant Brainy Woman, the visionary Director and the beautiful Acquanetta, aka Mildred Davenport, an actress who disguised her identity. Acquanetta examines the ways the movie camera manipulates how we see and are seen. In soaring, sometimes comic and always indelible songs that capture the heightened drama of horror films, these vivid characters reveal their inner longings and emotional shadows in what is ultimately a haunting meditation on the meaning of identity, transformation, stereotypes and typecasting, set in the heyday of Hollywood gloss.

Jan 9-14 on the PROTOTYPE festival

from Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe

It was just a couple weeks ago, on October 28, after the final curtain at BAM's Next Wave for our new piece "Road Trip," hanging together with our friends and heroes (most notably our brilliant Bang on a Can All-Stars!) that it really hit us. Bang on a Can is 30, but it feels like we're just getting started. With the benefit of hindsight, we can fully appreciate how the world has changed since we first dreamt up the Marathon back in 1987.

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Applications are online now for the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA.

The Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA (the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art) is a musical utopia for innovative musicians in the beautiful Berkshire mountains of western Massachusetts. The festival is dedicated entirely to adventurous contemporary music. We will spend three weeks immersed in today's most exciting music. Composers will have their new works performed. Players will perform in ensembles sitting alongside their teachers. The Festival includes daily performances in the museum galleries, free with museum admission, and concludes with a six-hour blow-out Marathon Concert performed by the Festival ensembles and special guests. The Festival also features  African and Latin music workshops, electronics and music business seminars, free events  in the community, and more.

More Field Recordings

This is the second, and perhaps more aggressively experimental, installment in the Bang on Can All-Stars’ acclaimed commissioned composer series. Like its predecessor, More Field Recordings once again explores strange new terrain where found sound, samples and archival audio collide with contemporary classical music, written by a wide range of artists and performed by the All-Stars.

In keeping with the “ground rules” of the Field Recordings project, each composer was asked to go into the field of recorded sound itself — to find something old or record something new, and to respond with their own music, in dialogue with what they found. Featuring new works by Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), Caroline Shaw, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Dan Deacon, Ben Frost, Glenn Kotche and more, this two-disc set embraces the classical and electronic influences of the first Field Recordings collection (released on Cantaloupe in 2015) and extends its reach into an adventurous palette of sound that includes ambient textures, off-kilter dissonance and electro-acoustic forays into the future.

The All-Stars are heading to Europe in November! 

Anthracite Fields in Prague with Martinů Voices
Tuesday, November 7, 2017 - 8:00pm
Autumn Strings Festival

Field Recordings in 's-Hertogenbosch, Netherlands
Thursday, November 9, 2017 - 8:15pm
November Music Festival

Anthracite Fields with Cappella Amsterdam in Gronigen, Netherlands
Friday, November 10, 2017 - 8:30pm
Sounds of Music Festival

Bang on a Can All-Stars on the ROCKIT Festival - headlined by Herbie Hancock
Saturday, November 11, 2017
ROCKIT Festival

Sensuous and lyrical, La Mar Enfortuna is a modern exploration of lost and forgotten Sephardic melodies, creatively arranged, and performed in various languages including Arabic and Spanish. Long-time collaborators Jennifer Charles and Oren Bloedow lead an all-star cast on modern and ancient instruments, incorporating the sounds of jazz, folk, Middle Eastern, and Latin music.  Presented in conjunction with the exhibition Modigliani Unmasked, which focuses on drawings illuminating the artist’s heritage as an Italian Sephardic Jew.

At the Jewish Museum on Nov 9, 7:30pm

Read Mark Swed's Review of Road Trip in the LA Times!

"...the All-Stars....rock out as though they own it all."

30 years ago, three young composers started a journey together, and they called that journey "Bang on a Can." After hundreds of thousands of miles and hundreds of new pieces, records, productions, marathons and summer festivals, they're still best of friends - still on the road together, still sharing the journey.

To mark this moment, Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe have together written a piece that celebrates the freedom and mystery of the open road. Dirt road, country road, two lane blacktop, superhighway.  Destination unknown. Maybe even unknowable.  

Played and sung by the unstoppable, sexy and loud Bang on a Can All-Stars, Road Trip is directed by the visionary Michael Counts with gorgeous scenic design by by CandyStations, and lit by the brilliant Ben Stanton.  Come with us!