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Bang On A Can Announces Upcoming Virtual Performances From March To May 2021

All shows are free to watch, but viewers are encouraged to consider purchasing a ticket.

Bang On A Can Announces Upcoming Virtual Performances From March To May 2021

Bang on a Can announces a dynamic slate of new virtual programming taking place from March through May 2021, all streaming at live.bangonacan.org. All shows are free to watch, but viewers are encouraged to consider purchasing a ticket to help support the performers and commissioned composers. March performances include:

First Fridays with Robert Black on March 5, 2021 at 12pm ET, a monthly performance series launched in October 2020, which continues with music for solo bass by James Tenney, Stuart Saunders, and Rifat Komachkov; the live-from-Berlin viewing of Berlin-based dance company Sasha Waltz & Guests' performance to In C on March 6, 2021 at 2pm ET, based on Terry Riley's ground-breaking score and featuring Bang on a Can's critically acclaimed recording; Bang on a Can Co-Founder and Co-Artistic Director Michael Gordon and Bang on a Can All-Star pianist Vicky Chow host a watch party on March 7, 2021 3pm ET for the video premiere of Sonatra, a fiendishly and infamously difficult piano work by Gordon, with a Q&A moderated by pianist/music critic Ethan Iverson; and a special edition Bang on a Can Marathon Live Online as part of MaerzMusik, presented by the Berliner Festspiele and featuring live performances from both sides of the Atlantic, on March 21, 2021 from 3-7pm ET.

April and May performances include First Fridays with Robert Black on April 2 and May 7; another Bang on a Can Marathon live online, featuring all commissions and all world premieres on April 18; the next virtual OneBeat Marathon on May 2; and Steve Reich and Amy Sillman in a co-presentation with The Jewish Museum and BOMB Magazine on May 13. Additional details about these events will follow.

First Fridays with Robert Black

Friday, March 5, 2021 at 12pm ET

Streaming at live.bangonacan.org

First Fridays with Robert Black is a monthly series of virtual mini-concerts featuring new music for solo double bass, streaming from his home studio in Hartford, Connecticut, at 12pm ET. The performance is designed to fit any time and place - whether it's with morning coffee in Los Angeles, lunch in New York, happy hour in Paris, or a late supper in Tashkent.

On March 5, Black will perform highly unusual music from an already unusual repertoire. Hear what happens at the intersection of science and art in James Tenney's Beast, witness the dazzling wordplay theatrics of Stuart Saunders Smith's Tunnels, and marvel at the bizarre bowing techniques of Rifat Komachkov's Sonata. Music that will fascinate, electrify, and amaze.

Previous editions of First Fridays are available to watch on-demand on Bang on a Can's YouTube channel.

Dance Company Sasha Waltz & Guests presents In C

Music by Terry Riley, recorded by Bang on a Can

Saturday, March 6, 2021 at 2pm ET

Streaming at live.bangonacan.org

In 1964, Terry Riley kicked off a revolution with his landmark piece, In C. In 2001, Bang on a Can released a recording of their interpretation of the minimalist classic with a singular combination of amplified instruments from around the globe, propelling Riley's transcendental masterpiece into the future. This recording on Cantaloupe Music was on The New York Times' Top 10 Classical CDs of 2001 and Top 10 Pop CDs of 2001, as well as the No. 1 Ambient/Instrumental Record in Pulse!

On March 6, the Berlin-based dance company Sasha Waltz & Guests offers a live viewing of a brand new and innovative artistic process incorporating both digitally recorded and live formats, based on the musical foundation of In C. Waltz and her dancers have developed choreographic material that follows a similarly variable structure and is deliberately designed not to be a finished stage piece. This performance will be set to Bang on a Can's 2001 recording.

Sasha Waltz explains her vision for the project: "The score of In C consists of fifty-three musical phrases and reads like stage directions for musicians. The thought of translating these detailed instructions into dance through a choreographic exploration of the music appealed to me. The result is an experimental system of fifty-three movement phrases for a structured improvisation with clear rules and laws. The length of the piece remains variable, as does the number of musicians and dancers."

Watch Party for the Video Premiere of Michael Gordon's Sonatra

Performed by Vicky Chow

Moderated by Ethan Iverson

Sunday, March 7, 2021 at 3pm ET

Streaming at live.bangonacan.org

On March 7, Bang on a Can presents the video premiere of Bang on a Can 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), 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 Chow. "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, composer 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."

Bang on a Can Marathon Live Online - MaerzMusik Edition

presented by Berliner Festspiele

Sunday, March 21, 2021 from 3-7pm ET

Streaming at live.bangonacan.org & www.berlinerfestspiele.de/en/maerzmusik/start.html

For MaerzMusik 2021, Bang on a Can has curated a special edition of its online Bang on a Can Marathon - four hours of live performances from both sides of the Atlantic, reflecting the diversity and breadth of the Bang on a Can community. Details will be announced in late February.


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