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Bang on a Can Marathon Opens River To River Festival Today, 6/17

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Today, June 17, from noon until midnight, Bang on a Can continues celebrating its 25th year with the annual Bang on a Can Marathon, free for the public at World Financial Center Winter Garden (220 Vesey Street, NYC), presented by River To River® Festival, Arts Brookfield, and Bang on a Can.

The Marathon has been the opening event of River To River Festival for seven years, kicking off the month-long celebration of free music, dance, film, and arts events throughout Lower Manhattan.

Bang on a Can started out 25 years ago as a one day Marathon concert (on Mother’s Day in 1987 in a SoHo art gallery) and has grown into a multi-faceted performing arts organization with a broad range of year-round international activities. The New York Times reports, “A quarter-century later their impact has been profound and pervasive. The current universe of do-it-yourself concert series, genre-flouting festivals, composer-owned record labels and amplified, electric-guitar-driven compositional idioms would probably not exist without their pioneering example. The Bang on a Can Marathon, the organization’s sprawling, exuberant annual mixtape love letter to its many admirers, has been widely emulated…” Last year the Village Voice recounted, “[one could] enjoy a world made a bit more habitable – something like an authentically felt home – thanks to all manner of cultural practices that get dissed out in the mainstream.”

The 2012 Bang on a Can Marathon will be an incomparable 12-hour super-mix of boundary-busting music from around the corner and around the globe. This year’s Marathon will feature rare performances by some of the most innovative pioneering musicians of our time side-by-side with some of today’s newest exciting young artists:

The explosive Bang on a Can All-Stars will play the near impossible works of the late American-exile Conlon Nancarrow, the jarring music of Hague-based composer Akiko Ushijima, the haunting sounds of Poland’s Marcin Stanczyk, plus a set of tunes from their latest 2-CD album Big Beautiful Dark & Scary (released on Cantaloupe Music earlier this year) by composers David Longstreth of Dirty Projectors, Bang on a Can co-founder David Lang and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.

Experimental sound pioneer Alvin Lucier will recreate his electronica masterpiece I am sitting in a room from 1969, regarded as a definitive work of Minimal tape music. Lucier’s own voice, mixed with the resonant frequencies of the room, will transport the entire World Financial Center Winter Garden via harmonic reverberation.

Percussion masters Talujon will encompass the Winter Garden performing Girard Grisey’s hour-long atmospheric surround-sound epic Le Noir de l'Étoile, a piece for six percussionists, tape, and live electronics that is based around the sound emitted from a pulsar – a rotating neutron star. Grisey, a founder of the Spectral movement in music, was introduced to the sounds of the Vega Pulsar in 1985 by astronomer Joe Silk at the University of California, Berkeley.

This year’s Marathon also features a rare gathering of electronic art music pioneer Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening Band, which specializes in performing and recording in resonant spaces such as caves and cathedrals. Named for Oliveros’ “Deep Listening” (a term she coined in 1991) concept based on meditation, improvisation, and electronic music, the Deep Listening Band will take the audience at the World Financial Center Winter Garden on an unforgettable sonic journey to an underground cistern.

In addition, this year Bang on a Can has assembled two extraordinary 6-piano bands, which will bring twelve of New York’s hottest pianists to the World Financial Center Winter Garden. Contemporary music mavericks Vicky Chow, David Friend, Paul Kerekes, Lisa Moore, Blair McMillen, and Isabelle O'Connell sound off in Steve Reich's Six Pianos from 1973 and Julia Wolfe's My lips from speaking, a centerpiece of her 2009 Cantaloupe Music release Dark Full Ride. The pioneering jazz pianist-composer Kris Davis will lead a killer 6-piano band of her own made up of five blistering pianist cohorts from the New York jazz scene including Sebastien Ammann, Kris Davis, Vijay Iyer, Russ Lossing, Angelica Sanchez, and Craig Taborn.

The indie guitar sensation Kaki King, who in 2006 was the sole woman and the youngest guitarist included on Rolling Stone’s “The New Guitar Gods” list, will bring her nearly-D.I.Y aesthetic to life, reflecting her broad musical influences ranging from punk to pop to experimental and everything in between.

Additional highlights include the Michael Gordon Band playing his brutally minimalist classic Thou Shalt/Thou Shalt Not!; virtuoso violinist Todd Reynolds teaming up with the extraordinary bass clarinetist-composer Michael Lowenstern; Heavy Hands bass band performing the Latin-infused grooves of Gregg August; trombone quartet The Guidonian Hand wailing on music by Eve Beglarian and Jeremy Howard Beck; the premiere of Michael Harrison’s sonic exploration for cello goddess Maya Beiser with a new film by Bill Morrison; the eclectic and electric five-guitar incarnation of Dither playing Lois V Vierk’s heart pumping Go Guitars; TwoSense performing Prayers Remain Forever by new-music titan Martin Bresnick; NYU Contemporary Music Ensemble with Jonathan Haas playing Ruben Naeff’s brand new octet Bash; pile-driving Newspeak making their Bang on a Can debut with music by David T. Little, Oscar Bettison, and Ruby Fulton; Bang on a Can All-Stars cellist Ashley Bathgate and pianist Vicky Chow performing solo the works of Daniel Wohl and Evan Ziporyn; and more.

About Bang on a Can: Bang on a Can celebrates 25 years during 2012, having grown from a one-day New York-based Marathon concert (on Mother’s Day in 1987 in a SoHo art gallery) to a multi-faceted performing arts organization with a broad range of year-round international activities. Current projects include the annual Bang on a Can Marathon; The People's Commissioning Fund, a membership program to commission emerging composers; the Bang on a Can All-Stars, who tour to major festivals and concert venues around the world every year; recording projects; the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival, a professional development program for young composers and performers led by today’s pioneers of experimental music; Asphalt Orchestra, Bang on a Can’s extreme street band that offers mobile performances re-contextualizing unusual music; Found Sound Nation, a new technology-based musical outreach program now partnering with the State Department of the United States of America to create Onebeat, a revolutionary, post-political residency program that uses music to bridge the gulf between young American musicians and young musicians from developing countries; cross-disciplinary collaborations and projects with DJs, visual artists, choreographers, filmmakers and more. Bang on a Can’s inventive and aggressive approach to programming and presentation has created a large and vibrant international audience made up of people of all ages who are rediscovering the value of contemporary music. For up-to-date information regarding Bang on a Can programs, events, and CD releases, visit www.bangonacan.org.

About The River To River Festival: Each summer, The River To River® Festival activates more than 25 indoor and outdoor locations in the neighborhood with an unparalleled collection of music, dance, theater, visual art, film, and participatory experiences by renowned and breakout artists from New York City and beyond – and every event is free! For more than 100,000 attendees from around the region and overseas, the Festival provides an intense and rewarding way to experience Lower Manhattan’s waterfronts, parks, plaza, and other hidden treasures. The Festival’s densely packed schedule of daytime, evening, and weekend events showcases Lower Manhattan as a thriving center for cultural activity and a key destination point for experiencing New York City’s wealth and diversity of heritage, history, dining, shopping, and art. The River To River Festival is presented by lead partner Lower Manhattan Cultural Council in collaboration with Founding Partners Arts Brookfield, Battery Park City Authority, and The Seaport. Free admission to River To River events is supported by the festival’s underwriters. The Festival's Founding and Title Sponsor is American Express. Major support for the 2012 festival is also provided by the Alliance for Downtown New York, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, The Lower Manhattan Development Corporation and HUD. Media support is provided by WNYC, WQXR, NBC 4 New York, and THIRTEEN. River To River is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, as well as the New York State Council on the Arts, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, CBRE, Century 21 Department Store, The Moody’s Foundation, Pace University, NYC&Co, Theatermania, TKTS Seaport and many other public, private and individual underwriters. Visit www.RiverToRiverNYC.com.

About Lower Manhattan Cultural Council: For nearly 40 years, LMCC has been the leading voice for arts and culture in Downtown New York City, producing cultural events and promoting the arts through grants, services, advocacy, and cultural development programs. LMCC offers a range of funding opportunities and support services for artists working in all artistic disciplines across Manhattan, and a broad range of free programs in the visual, performing and media arts that help cultivate new arts audiences and improve the quality of urban life. LMCC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supported by a range of foundations, corporations, individuals and government entities. Visit www.LMCC.net.

About Arts Brookfield: Since 1988 more than 3.5 million people have enjoyed over 2,500 cultural events at the World Financial Center presented by Arts Brookfield, one of the largest free, year-round, privately funded performing and visual arts programs on the east coast. As an initiative of Brookfield Office Properties, the owner, developer and manager of premier office properties in the United States, Canada and Australia, Arts Brookfield animates public spaces in major cities across North America including New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Toronto. Brookfield’s portfolio is comprised of interests in 110 properties totaling 78 million square feet in the downtown cores of New York, Washington, D.C., Houston, Los Angeles, Denver, Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth, making it the global leader in the ownership and management of office assets. Visit www.artsbrookfield.com.

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