“The only thing better than hearing this recording would be seeing the band live.” — Downbeat
Moondog, aka Louis Hardin, was one of the 20th century’s most imaginative composers. He lived in NYC from the late 40s up until 1972, during which time he could be found costumed in Viking attire, busking on 6th Avenue and 52nd Street, selling records and performing poetry. Blinded as a teenager, he wrote hundreds of beautiful songs, madrigals and symphoniques in Braille which inspired minimalist composers such as Philip Glass and Steve Reich, who deemed Moondog “the godfather of minimalism.”
With their new record Songs and Symphoniques, NYC’s Ghost Train Orchestra have reimagined the work of Moondog into a large-scale production, inviting the trailblazing Kronos Quartet and many special guest vocalists to take a variety of approaches to Moondog’s music. Ghost Train Orchestra presents their album release show at Roulette.
LOUD Weekend at MASS MoCA is a fully loaded, three-day, eclectic super-mix of creative, experimental and unusual music 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 friend, based 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.
Bang on a Can announces the 2nd year of Long Play, a three-day destination music festival, presented from Friday, May 5 through Sunday, May 7, 2023. Featuring 50+ concerts, Long Play also showcases a dense network of inventive music venues in Brooklyn — with performances at Pioneer Works, Roulette, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Public Records, Littlefield, BRIC, Mark Morris Dance Center, The Center for Fiction, plus outdoor events and more.
A limited number of 3-day festival passes are on sale now at www.longplayfestival.org including MEMORY GAME, a special opening-night concert featuring Meredith Monk and Vocal Ensemble with the electric Bang on a Can All-Stars, doubling as an 80th Birthday Bash (co-presented with The Town Hall at Pioneer Works)!
Some featured artists in the 2023 lineup include Art Ensemble of Chicago, Philip Glass Ensemble, Dawn Richard and Spencer Zahn, Mount Eerie, Tyshawn Sorey, and many others.
Limited Number of special 3-day Festival & Supporter (VIP) Passes are on sale now!
With the latest video from their recent album, Bathymetry, Matt McBane and Sandbox Percussion encase listeners within a crystalline soundworld on “Surface.” Textural movements glide through clear space, the only hints of friction coming in the interactive silhouettes between ASMR-infused scrapes and the bass echoes of a Moog synthesizer. For music so spacious, the detailed interactions become intimate focal points that bring a gentle warmth to an otherwise otherworldly piece. Fastening these divergent themes together in surprising ways makes “Surface” – and Bathymetry as a whole – a remarkable wonder.
Bathymetry is out now via Cantaloupe Music. Stream and order HERE.
Cutting-edge cellist Maya Beiser and “America’s most astonishing choir” (The New York Times), The Crossing, form a fearless partnership in this multimedia performance of Travel Guide to Nicaragua, a New York premiere by Bang on a Can co-founder Michael Gordon.
The evening-length work, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall, tells the story of Gordon’s family’s journey from Poland to Nicaragua, beginning with his grandfather and concluding with Gordon’s childhood in the jungle on the outskirts of Managua. New and adventurous musical fusions await as his rhythmic innovations merge with what The New Yorker describes as “the fury of punk rock, the nervous brilliance of free jazz, and the intransigence of classical modernism.”
In celebration of Philip Glass’s 85th birthday, Hong Kong/Canadian pianist Vicky Chow releases Piano Etudes, Book 1 on Cantaloupe Music, the record label created and launched in March 2001 by the three founders of New York’s legendary Bang on a Can organization—composers Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe—with Bang on a Can managing director Kenny Savelson.
Since joining the Bang on a Can All-Stars in 2009, Chow has collaborated and worked with Tania León, Meredith Monk, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Terry Riley, George Lewis, Pamela Z, Tomeka Reid, Trevor Dunn, Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Sasha Waltz Dance Company, Doug Varone Dance Company, BBC Orchestra, LA Philharmonic, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Symphonietta Riga, International Contemporary Ensemble, The Knights, Tyshawn Sorey, Andy Akiho, John Zorn, Gong Linna, Kronos Quartet, Longleash Trio, Trinity Choir, Wet Ink Ensemble, Yarn/Wire, and Momenta Quartet.
Bang on a Can and MASS MoCA present LOUD Weekend, a fully loaded eclectic super-mix of minimal, experimental, and electronic music over three days throughout the museum’s expansive campus. Featuring the Jim Jarmusch & Phil Kline, L’Rain, Bang on a Can All-Stars’ Can Dance world premiere preview, Yuka Honda, and many more.
LOUD Weekend at MASS MoCA concludes the 20th annual Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA, a professional development program led by today’s pioneers of experimental music for young composers and performers selected from an international applicant pool, which runs from July 11-27, 2022.
“Right now – this minute – is an amazing time to love music. Musicians and listeners from every corner of the music world are pushing beyond their boundaries, questioning their roots, searching and stretching for the new. There has never been a time when music contained so much innovation and diversity, so much audacity and so much courage. And we want to show you all of it. With the creation of LONG PLAY we are presenting more kinds of musicians, playing more kinds of music, bending more kinds of minds. LONG PLAY expands and enlarges our scope and our reach, and puts more new faces on stages than ever before. It’s a lot of music!”
Nestled in Knoxville’s intimate and historic downtown, festival goers are offered nearly 200 performances — at restored historic theaters, soaring churches, refurbished warehouse spaces, museums, galleries, and clubs — with pop-up events and performances, exhibitions, films, literary readings, workshops, markets and talks taking place in cafes, bars, hotels, restaurants, in alleyways and other nooks and crannies of the city. The festival experience is full of surprises.
Hailed by Rolling Stone as “a genre unto herself,” virtuosic guitarist and composer Kaki King returns to the road in January with a few of her finest and most interesting guitars. She’ll be playing material from her most recent album, Modern Yesterdays (Cantaloupe Music), as well as a selection of highlights from her 20-year career — and maybe even a brand new song or two!
An eclectic, fully loaded 2-day super-mix of minimal, experimental and electronic music
We’re back! We’re live! We’re LOUD WEEKEND! This year we welcome our friends the Kronos Quartet, the intrepid troubadours of experimental music who come bearing ear-bending world premieres by Terry Riley, Mary Kouyoumdjian and Sky Macklay. We pay tribute to Martin Bresnick, a shining light of American music celebrating his 75th birthday. We open the second LW as we did the first, with the overlooked, and now newly discovered minimalist giant Julius Eastman. We walk into the wondrous world of Dana Jessen and her switched-on bassoon featuring George Lewis’s ground-shaking “Seismologic.” We welcome the joyous jazz-infused music of singer/violinist Mazz Swift. We take an other-worldly trip into Gérard Grisey’s Vortex Temporum. Robert Honstein takes us on an exquisite sonic walking tour through the rooms of his childhood home. We are transported into the voices, songs and stories that run through Nathalie Joachim’s powerful Famn d’Ayiti. And so much more!
We pay special tribute to our friend and mentor, the late-great Louis Andriessen. And we are honored to present the world premiere of one of Frederic Rzewski’s last compositions, Amoramaro, which he wrote for the amazing pianist Lisa Moore.We spent the pandemic presenting 10 online solo marathons – commissioning composers, supporting musicians, doing what we could to keep the experimental music world alive.
Running throughout Loud Weekend are 19 of these Pandemic Solos, all receiving their first performances in front of a live audience, all commissioned by Bang on a Can. Plus – a highlight of every summer – world premieres by the newest freshest voices of the Composer Fellows! – Michael Gordon, David Lang & Julia Wolfe
On March 7 at 3PM EDT, Bang on a Can presents the video premiere of All-Star Vicky Chow’s performance of Michael Gordon’s Sonatra as a Watch Party. The program will include a Q&A about the work with Chow and Gordon, moderated by Ethan Iverson, also a pianist, composer, and critic best known for his work with the Bad Plus. Aside from Chow’s album release of the work (released February 23, 2018 on Cantaloupe Music – get it here!), this new video made by Denver-based director, writer, and cinematographer Souki Mehdaoui, is the only other recording of the piece.
“It’s by far the most challenging piece of music I’ve worked on,” says Vicky. “When I first looked at the score, I knew immediately that I’ll live with it for the rest of my life. Every few months, I slowly worked up each section, like chipping away at a slab of marble. I had to pace myself, push myself, and be sharp at every twist and turn, or else I’d trip and fall flat on my face.”
The Watch Party will include demonstrations of the work’s difficulty by way of brief excerpts performed by Chow in her home, alongside a display of the score.
In his original program notes for Sonatra, Michael Gordon writes that he conceived of the piece for solo piano as a sideways tribute to Frank Sinatra, but with the sonata form as an equal and opposite force that tugs at the music from within.
“I grew up playing, or mis-playing, the piano,” he notes. “When I started writing Sonatra, I decided that since I would probably only ever write one piano piece in my entire life, I wanted to use all the keys on the piano, and use them often. I constructed long chains or links of major and minor thirds that ceaselessly wind their way up and down the piano. Eventually they start cascading and intersperse with glissandos half the length of the keyboard, sounding to me like the performer has at least four hands.”
March 13 to May 9: "loved" will be on in the Cherry Esplanade. Composer Michael Gordon created the installation for BBG to honor those we've lost in the pandemic. Performed by percussionist David Cossin, the meditative composition for seven vibraphones plays hourly on Cherry Esplanade and runs 5 minutes, 28 seconds. It was originally presented in August and is being reprised to mark the one-year anniversary of New York City’s pandemic shutdown.
“Like the ringing of fractured bells, loved. marks the memory of those just recently lost. As we walk down the tree-lined path that will soon once again explode with blossoms, the music moves into the natural space in waves of resonating metals, silences, and an acceleration of harmony.” —Michael Gordon
Cantaloupe Music will be releasing "loved" digitally on all services on March 12, 2021.
in a dark blue night, a new song cycle by composer Alex Weiser based on the poetry of Morris Rosenfeld, Naftali Gross and Reuben Iceland, received its digital premiere at sunset in New York City, 4:43 p.m. on January 5. Commissioned by the ASCAP Foundation’s Charles Kingsford Fund, the performance features singer Annie Rosen and pianist Daniel Schlosberg, prerecorded from two remote locations and edited together by audio engineer Gleb Kanasevich.
“Heard together — in pandemic-enforced isolation, no less — the three pieces [from The Become Trilogy] offer an intoxicating introduction to Mr. Adams’s psychoacoustic geology of the spirit. Together with his illuminating memoir, they make fine travel companions in this year of going nowhere.”