Bang on a Can Celebrates 25 Years with Triple Bill Concert at Lincoln Center Tonight
Bang on a Can takes over Alice Tully Hall presented by Lincoln Center's Great Performers series in a triple-bill birthday bash tonight, April 28 at 7pm featuring the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Asphalt Orchestra, and MIT's Gamelan Galak Tika. Bang on a Can is celebrating 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.
The Bang on a Can @ 25 celebration at Lincoln Center opens with MIT's Gamelan Galak Tika performing its signature piece, Bang on a Can All-Stars founding clarinetist and composer Evan Ziporyn's Tire Fire, a blend of ancient tradition and modern technology. Tire Fire was the finale of the 1995 Bang on a Can marathon at Alice Tully Hall; it has also been performed at John Adams' In Your Ear Festival at Zankel Hall and at the Bali International Arts Festival in Denpasar, Indonesia.
Also featured in this birthday bash performance is in-house virtuoso street band Asphalt Orchestra with Japanese drummer Tatsuya Yoshida (mastermind behind the legendary noise/prog band Ruins). Asphalt has arranged two of his pieces and will be collaborating on an epic world premiere composition (with Yoshida performing live). Yoshida's music is simultaneously whimsical and intense, careening from spastic video game sounds to epic king's court brass chords. This will be a one-of-a-kind Asphalt event and is not slated to be repeated.
The evening will culminate with the US premiere of Field Recordings, Bang on a Can's new project, featuring nine hot-off-the-press commissioned works by Tyondai Braxton, Mira Calix (performing live), Florent Ghys, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Christian Marclay (performing live), Julia Wolfe, Nick Zammuto formerly of The Books (performing live), and Evan Ziporyn (performing live). For 135 years recorded sound has permeated every corner of life, changing music along with everything else. Bartók and Kodály 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 the Lomaxes, the Seegers, and other archivists. Hip-hop culture democratized sampling – popular music today is a form of musique concrète, the voices and rhythms of the past mixing with the sound of machinery and electronics.
Bang on a Can's Field Recordings asked nine composers 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. What they found is a bridge through time, sensation, and sound – a ride from 1912 to 2012, New York to Hollywood to Las Vegas to John Cage to French Canadian folk singing to Balinese chant to Beauty Treatments, tape loops, vinyl records, and more. With Field Recordings, one hundred years of sound and imagery unfold to reveal a contemporary collective consciousness.
Over the past 25 years Bang on a Can has enjoyed a long relationship with Lincoln Center's Great Performers series, beginning with the BOAC Marathons in Alice Tully Hall, 1994-1997. The Bang on Can All-Stars also performed at Lincoln Center several times. Highlights include March 1998, when the All-Stars premiered its arrangements of Brian Eno's Music for Airports; they returned in March 1999 to collaborate with Meredith Monk; February 2002, with Don Byron and Kyaw Kyaw Naing; May 2004, with Terry Riley as part of the Andriessen Festival, Sonic Evolutions; and in March 2009, with Glenn Kotche and a new work by Michael Gordon commissioned by Lincoln Center (as well as works by David Lang and Julia Wolfe) as part of the festival celebrating the re-opening of Alice Tully Hall. More recently, Lincoln Center Out of Doors presented Asphalt Orchestra over 10 packed nights in the summers of 2009 and 2010.
The Bang on a Can All-Stars have recorded their first studio album in five years, for release on Cantaloupe Music. The album, Big Beautiful Dark and Scary, is also the first to include the All-Stars' current line-up: Ashley Bathgate, cello; Robert Black, bass; Vicky Chow, piano; David Cossin, percussion; Mark Stewart, electric guitar; and Evan Ziporyn, clarinets. In celebration of its 25th birthday, Bang on a Can gave away the complete recording as a download for the first 25 days of January. In exchange, listeners needed only to share a memory or thought about Bang on a Can at www.bangonacan25.org. Thousands of comments were submitted, and the resulting scrapbook remains online to view. Big Beautiful Dark and Scary will be available on iTunes for a special price until the physical CD is released on February 28, 2012.