There was a time, within living memory for many of us, when composers, critics, and listeners could have knock-down, drag-out fights (or the somewhat more genteel, but still vehement, classical-music equivalent) about which of the many contemporary “isms” was the true musical language of our time...
“This piece is all about space,” says composer John Luther Adams. “Space has become, perhaps, the fundamentally compositional element in my music — so much so that with Become Desert, I didn't begin sketching notes. I didn't think about harmonies, or tempos, or line, or anything specific until I had the floor plan. Until I knew, not only what are the instruments, but where are the instruments. In this case, we have five instrumental choirs, five distinctly separate ensembles. Become Ocean had three. That seemed to work pretty well, but I wanted to hear a fuller space, both [in] surround and vertically.”
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY: The 2019 Bard SummerScape festival takes a contemporary look at Hollywood’s Golden Age in Acquanetta, a visual and musical tour-de-force inspired by the eponymous B-movie star with a mysterious past.
Combining theater, opera, and film in a haunting meditation on identity, transformation, stereotypes, and typecasting from composer and Bang on a Can co-founder Michael Gordon and his longtime collaborator, librettist Deborah Artman, Acquanetta originally premiered at the PROTOTYPE Festival, where it was a New York Times and New York magazine “Critics’ Pick” and one of the New York Classical Review’s “Top Ten Performances of 2018.”
To celebrate the official July 19 release of the Acquanetta recording on Cantaloupe Music, Bard will host a pre-release party on Friday, July 12.
Acquanetta is produced by Beth Morrison Projects, with scenic design by Lucille Lortel Award-nominee Amy Rubin and video design by Joshua Higgason.
David Lang returns to LA Opera for the first time since his spellbinding anatomy theater, with baritone Rod Gilfry in a tour-de-force performance of a role he created at the work’s premiere at the pathbreaking BAM Next Wave Festival, produced by Bang on a Can.
"Boldly unconventional… engrossingly ambiguous. Mr. Lang captures the conflicted emotional currents of the story in his elusive, austere music." – The New York Times
This season, the New York Philharmonic, led by their new Music Director Jaap van Zweden, examines New York City's roots as a destination of immigrants during New York Stories: Threads of Our City. The centerpiece for the season is the world premiere, on January 24–26, of Julia Wolfe’s Fire in my mouth, commissioned by the orchestra, Cal Performances at the University of California, Berkeley; the Krannert Center at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, and the University Musical Society at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
Wolfe's music focuses on the garment industry in New York City at the turn of the century — specifically the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire, which killed 146 garment workers, most of them young, female immigrants. The immersive, multimedia performance features the Philharmonic debut of the 36 women of the chamber choir The Crossing, directed by Donald Nally, as well as the Philharmonic debut of Jeff Sugg as scenic, lighting, video, and projection designer.
Tomoko Mukaiyama on piano for the 2016 premiere of The Unchanging Sea, with Pablo Rus Broseta conducting the Seattle Symphony.
Co-commissioned and performed by the Seattle Symphony, conducted by Pablo Rus Broseta and featuring piano soloist Tomoko Mukaiyama, The Unchanging Sea flows from Michael Gordon’s fascination with our connection to our watery source, in all its turbulence, majesty and mystery. While the title and visual material originate with a 1910 short film by silent era director D.W. Griffith, Bill Morrison’s film sources 17 obscure or lost titles dealing with sea travel, including footage shot in Seattle in 1897, when the S.S. Willamette sailed out of Puget Sound at the height of the gold rush.
The Unchanging Sea is a double-disc CD + DVD package that includes the companion piece Beijing Harmony, also performed by the Seattle Symphony. Inspired by a visit to the Echo Wall at Beijing’s Temple of Heaven, Gordon “imagined that the sound would bounce off the stone floors and buildings to create a fanfare of echoes — an acoustical rebounding and ringing that would slowly grow in zeal and fierceness.”
BANG ON A CAN MARATHON
@ NYU Skirball Center
Sunday, May 13, 2018, 12-10pm
10 hours of FREE Live Music!
Bang on a Can returns to downtown Manhattan with its annual incomparable super-mix of boundary-busting music from around the corner and around the world! The 2018 Bang on a Can Marathon will feature 10 hours of rare performances by some of the most innovative musicians of our time, side-by-side with some of today’s most pioneering young artists.
HIghlights include Terry Riley's Autodreamographical Tales, performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars and Terry Riley (voice). The piece was inspired by a dream diary Riley kept in 1987, and flows in and out of Indian raga, New Age music and bluesy textures. Other highlights include Vicky Chow's performance of Michael Gordon's Sonatra; Stephin Merritt's set with cellist Sam Davol, his Magnetic Fields bandmate; and performances by the Flux Quartet, Contemporaneous and Xenia Rubinos.
Over the course of a decade, Bang on a Can founding composer Michael Gordon has
collaborated with the world-renowned Kronos Quartet on a series of provocative works that
have sought to stretch, bend and otherwise reshape the boundaries of modern classical
music. Clouded Yellow assembles these works for the first time, perfectly encapsulating the
breadth and complexity of this long-standing creative partnership. On May 5, Kronos and
Gordon celebrate the album’s release with an intimate performance at Joe’s Pub.
Clouded Yellow will be available on CD and all digital services on May 4.
Ticket Price: $40.00 - $70.00
Doors at 6PM & 9PM
Shows at 7PM & 9:30PM
Maya Beiser and David Lang, with special guest actor Kate Valk, celebrate the release of their new Cantaloupe Music album, the day, with a live performance at Paula Cooper Gallery. Receive a download of the new album with your ticket purchase. Doors at 7:30PM, performance starts at 8PM.
Composed by David Lang, the day was commissioned in 2016 by cellist Maya Beiser as a “prequel” to world to come (2003), which Lang also wrote for Beiser in response to the tragic events of 9/11. Both pieces are meditations on life, but from very different perspectives.
“'the day' looks at ways we review our lives,” Lang explains, “exploring remembered moments as a chronicle of a life.” Lang sourced the text from the internet by searching for the phrase “I remember the day that I...,” and then cut and compiled lyrics based on his findings. The spoken word accompaniment by actor Kate Valk lends an emotional charge to Beiser’s poignant cello lines, which gradually build in multi-tracked layers to emulate a small string ensemble.
In 'world to come', Beiser echoes the cello with her own voice, with the separation between the two growing more pronounced as the piece progresses. It’s a metaphor for the separation of the soul from the body at the moment of death, and their struggle to reunite in a peaceful, post-apocalyptic spiritual world.
Bang on a Can is on the way to Los Angeles! October 14 @ Ford Amphitheater ismarks the World Premiere of ROAD TRIP by Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe with a dozen brilliant collaborators! This will look sound and feel like nothing you've witnessed before. Find out more and watch the trailer.
Nick Photinos conducts an ensemble in MASS MoCA's "tall gallery"
From now through August 5th, catch multiple concerts a day in potentially every gallery space in MASS MoCA by performer and composer fellows of the Bang on a Can Summer Festival (aka Banglewood), including swaths of world premieres, and a first workshopping of Gordon/Lang/Wolfe's upcoming collaborative work "Road Trip".
Take a look at the festival schedule, which features 1:30p and 4:30p recitals nearly every day, including solo shows by Bang on a Can All-Stars and festival faculty.
July 20-21, July 24-28, and 31-Aug 4 the festival fellows present recitals at 1:30 all over the galleries!
Weds July 19, 4:30pm - Mark Stewart performs the music of Pauline Oliveros & all folks present(!) on the wonderful musical instruments of Gunnar Schonbeck. The Return of the 9 foot Banjo!! Come and join in. No experience required.
Thurs July 20, 4:30pm - Ashley Bathgate performs new works for solo cello by Martin Bresnick, Emily Cooley, Pamela Madsen, Jascha Narveson, Alex Weiser, and the world premiere of It Is Not A City by Randall Woolf, with the poetry of Tongo Eisen-Martin.
Fri July 21, 4:30pm - The keyboard duo of Ray/Kallay (Vicki Ray and Aron Kallay) will play two works for microtonal keyboards by Dylan Mattingly and Rand Steiger. Also - Vicki will play three short works for solo piano: spring and greene by David Lang, On Debrosses Steet by Michael Gordon and East Broadway by Julia Wolfe.
Fri July 21, 10pm - The Bang-MoCA MASSive Latin Big Band led by Gregg August, Joe Gonzalez, and Ben Lapidus, the Bang on a Can fellows perform for free at the American Legion bar. Bring your dancing shoes.
Sat July 22, 4:30pm - Karl Larson plays Robert Honstein's Grand Tour for Solo Piano
Saturday, July 22, 11:30am KIDS CAN TOO! Our annual perforance for kids. tickets
Saturday, July 29, 4:30pm - A tribute to Pauline Oliveros
Saturday, July 29, 8pm - Bang on a Can All-Stars ROAD TRIP
Bang on a Can co-artistic directors Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe have collaborated to create Road Trip, an evening-length work for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, directed by Michael Counts with rock show lighting and projections designed by CandyStations. The piece is about journeys and people who make them. Physical journeys, geographical journeys, emotional journeys, spiritual journeys. There is a road, but it is no simple highway. tickets
Sunday, July 30, 4:30pm - Mark Stewart and festival fellows perform on the spectacularly original instruments of Gunnar Schoenbeck, an new exhibit at MASS MoCA, curated by Mark!
Monday, July 31, 4:30pm WORLD PREMIERE COMPOSER CONCERT Over 40 young composers and performers from around the world debut NINE NEW WORKS written especially for the festival.
Tuesday, Aug 1, 4:30pm - Music from Central Asia - Musicians from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan perform on traditional instruments from their countries, including the chopo choor, rubab, and dombra.
Wednesday, Aug 2, 4:30pm - Festival fellows perform the sextet version of Philip Glass' monumental Symphony #3, and the minimalist classic Music for Similar Motion
Wednesday, Aug 2, 7pm CONCERT AT THE LAKE Our annual blow-out avant-variety show!! Bring a blanket! WINDSOR LAKE, NORTH ADAMS | FREE
Thursday, Aug 3, 4:30pm - Festival fellows perform works by a pioneer of electronic and interactive music, George Lewis.
Thursday, Aug 3, 7:30pm - A special concert with this year's guest composer, Dutch master Louis Andriessen.
Aug 3, 4 - 10pm AFTER HOURS AT THE CHALET Spontaneous music with the fellows in our summer beer garden, which careens wildly from bluegrass to jazz to salsa to avant-ballads.
Friday, Aug 4, 4:30pm - Festival fellows perform music by downtown New York's alt-vocal maverick Meredith Monk.
Saturday, Aug 5, 4–10pm BANG ON A CAN MARATHON
More musical "happening" than concert, the Bang on a Can Marathon closes out the Festival in suitably audacious style. The eclectic program includes works from our 2017 guest artist Louis Andriessen, as well as Steve Reich, Jeffrey Brooks, Michael Gordon, Judd Greenstein, David Lang, Vanessa Lann, Mary Jane Leach, Gyorgi Ligeti, Nicole Lizee, Dmitri Tymoczko, Lois V Vierk, and Julia Wolfe. Share the experience with hundreds of adventurous listeners, dozens of brilliant performers, great food and drink and of course, big bold art EVERYwhere. tickets
Enter the world of the gods, spirits and shamans of ancient Chinese myths and poetry in this evening-length work co-composed by Lao Luo and Bang on a Can co-artistic directors Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe.
Cloud River Mountain is an edgy cross-cultural collaboration between the Bang on a Can All-Stars and the extraordinary Chinese vocalist Gong Linna. Channeling the otherworldly and experimental spirit of Björk with her adventurous range, Linna embraces Chinese folk, pop, and avant-garde art music with a sure-footed confidence that transcends borders. On Cloud River Mountain, she sings in both Mandarin and English over the groove-driven melodies and lush soundscapes of the All-Stars, weaving ancient Chinese storytelling together with Western songwriting in a raucous musical mix.
WHEN: Fri/Sat July 14 and 15, 8PM
WHERE: Lincoln Center's Gerald W. Lynch Theater
PRICE: $25 (general), $55 (premium seating)
Throughout Robert Rauschenberg’s six-decade career, he moved freely between the worlds of visual art and avant-garde music. Beginning in the early 1950s, he worked closely with the composers and performers associated with the New York School, including such pioneering experimental figures as Earle Brown, John Cage, Morton Feldman, David Tudor and Christian Wolff. This rich dialogue shaped Rauschenberg’s approach to art making as well as that of his musical collaborators. In conjunction with the exhibition Robert Rauschenberg: Among Friends, Pulitzer prize–winning composer David Lang and the celebrated music collective Bang on a Can present a pair of concerts featuring commentary exploring these artistic exchanges and their legacy for contemporary music.
The class clowns who merrily threw spitballs at New York’s artistic landscape three decades ago are now, in more ways than one, seniors. That’s true at the Whitney Museum of American Art, where the exhibition “Fast Forward: Painting From the 1980s” makes a persuasive case for the maturity of a generation of supposed bad boys (and girls).
And it was true on Saturday in Brooklyn, where you could spend a few hours at the 30th-anniversary installment of the music collective Bang on a Can’s annual marathon concert, at the Brooklyn Museum, and then travel a mile or so up the road to Roulette, where the anarchic composer and performer John Zorn was holding court with works that were new during the Carter and Reagan years. At both events, onetime rebels had become institutions.
Continue reading at the New York Times online...
Julia Wolfe onstage at Bucknell University before a performance of Anthracite Fields, her oratorio about coal mining. Photo: Mark Makela for The New York Times
Coal is never far from the surface in northeastern Pennsylvania — as a shared heritage, if not always as actual deposits. So anticipation was already running high last week when the composer Julia Wolfe brought Anthracite Fields, her Pulitzer Prize-winning choral work honoring the sacrifices of Pennsylvania coal miners, back to her native state.
Then, just before the concerts, coal became front-page news when President Trump moved to roll back pollution regulations in the name of trying to bring coal jobs back, promising miners and coal company executives assembled for a photo op that “you’re going back to work.” Ms. Wolfe’s 2014 oratorio on work, exploitation and unionization took on new overtones as coal became a central part of the Make America Great Again hymnal.
“It feels to me like kind of a romanticization of coal miners — and that doesn’t feel good,” Ms. Wolfe said of the president’s action before a performance of Anthracite Fields on Saturday at Bucknell University here in Lewisburg, a college town nestled between coal regions.