Field Recordings

Field Recordings is an ongoing multi media project featuring over 30 commissioned works by Tyondai Braxton, Mira Calix, Jace Clayton, Anna Clyne, Dan Deacon, Bryce Dessner, Ben Frost, Florent Ghys, Michael Gordon, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Inhyun Kim, Glenn Kotche, David Lang, Alvin Lucier, Rene Lussier, Christian Marclay, Paula Matthusen, Nico Muhly, John Oswald, Richard Reed Parry, Steve Reich, Todd Reynolds, Jarosław Śliwiński, Caroline Shaw, Gabriella Smith, Aart Strootman, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Juan Felipe Waller, Daniel Wohl, Krzysztof Wołek, Julia Wolfe, Artur Zagajewski, Nick Zammuto, and Zhang Shouwang.

Says David Lang: “Field Recordings is a kind of ghost story.  We asked composers from different parts of the music world to find a recording of something that already exists – a voice, a sound, a faded scrap of melody – and then write a new piece around it.  And so they did.”

For 135 years recorded sound has permeated every corner of our lives, changing music along with everything else.  Bartok and Kodaly took recording devices into the hills of central Europe and modern music was never the same; rock and roll’s lineage comes from artists revealed to the world by the Lomaxes, the Seegers, and other archivists. Hip-hop culture democratized sampling: popular music today is a form of musique concrète, the voices & rhythms of the past mixing with the sound of machinery and electronics.  For our own Field Recordings we’ve asked fourteen composers (and counting) 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.  Using archival audio, found sound and video, Field Recordings builds a bridge between the seen and the unseen, the present and absent, the present and the past, channeled through the “unstoppable, sexy, and loud” Bang on a Can All-Stars.


Recordings are available for streaming (and purchase) on bandcamp:

Booking and Technical Information

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Field Recordings credits:

Field Recordings was co-commissioned by Bang on a Can and the Barbican Centre, and by the more than 200 individuals who supported the project with gifts large and small.  Bang on a Can’s People’s Commissioning Fund (PCF) specifically supported the work of Mira Calix, Jace Clayton, Anna Clyne, Dan Deacon, Florent Ghys, Ben Frost, Glenn Kotche, Johann Johannsson Christian Marclay, Paula Matthusen, Richard Reed Parry, Daniel Wohl, and Nick Zammuto.

Seven Sundays was commissioned as part of the national series of works from Meet The Composer Commissioning Music/USA, which is made possible by generous support from the National Endowment for the Arts, The Helen F. Whitaker Fund,  and the Target Foundation.

Maximus to Gloucester, Letter 27 [withheld] was commissioned by Bang on a Can with support from the Muziekgebouw Frits Philips Eindhoven and the Sacrum Profanum Festival.

Bang on a Can’s arrangement of The Cave of Machpelah (excerpt from The Cave)  was commissioned with support from the Edinburgh International Festival and the Sacrum Profanum Festival.

The commission of Casino Trem has been made possible by the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Fund, with generous funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.

Field Recordings CD available on our online store!