Bang on a Can to Present Florent Ghys' BONJOUR at The Jewish Museum
On Thursday, February 16, 2017 at 7:30pm, Bang on a Can and the Jewish Museum will present the third concert of their 2016-2017 concert season featuring Bonjour, a low string quartet with drums/percussion founded in 2012 by bassist and composer Florent Ghys.
Bonjour features Ghys as composer and double bassist, as well as Eleonore Oppenheim (double bass), Ashley Bathgate (cello), James Moore (guitars), and Owen Weaver (percussion). Accompanying the Jewish Museum's exhibition, Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design, the concert will feature Bonjour in works from their self-titled album, which was released in August 2016 on Cantaloupe Music. Pierre Chareau, originally from Bordeaux, rose to become a major figure in 20th century design. Ghys, also originally from Bordeaux, is one of New York's most creative composer-performers of the early 21st century.
Combining basses, cello, guitars, percussion, and voices, Ghys creates an unusual sound world that's equal parts groove, melody and meditation. In Ghys's words, Bonjour is comprised of musical snapshots. Performed in no particular order, each one represents a day of the week and its associated mood - with some, like "Friday 3PM," conjuring multiple emotions in a gradually building mosaic of rhythm and sound. The players' voices are alternately treated as additional melodic instruments or as dictaphones spewing nonsensical parallel quotes from a variety of literary, news, and other sources (as in "Monday Morning"). From the jazz-laced, indie-pop lilt of "Thursday Afternoon" to the woozy, off-kilter mood of "Tuesday Noon Around 12:21," the album shimmers with influences that push it beyond the safety net of "new classical" music to something altogether edgy, adventurous, and even slightly art-damaged. Ghys cites his connections to New York's Bang on a Can organization as integral to the formation of Bonjour. "When I moved to New York City at the end of 2011, I knew I'd stay for at least a couple of years," he says. "So I decided to play the same kind of music as in my solo work, but with real human beings. And at the time, I was surrounded by amazing musicians that I met through Bang on a Can."
Pierre Chareau: Modern Architecture and Design, on view through March 26, 2017, is the first U.S. exhibition focused on French designer and architect Pierre Chareau (1883-1950). It takes a fresh look at the internationally recognized designer and examines his work in the Parisian cultural context between the wars to highlight his circle of influential patrons, engagement with the period's foremost artists, and designs for the film industry. Together with his wife Dollie, Chareau was an active patron of the arts, and the exhibition reunites several pieces from their collection of paintings, sculptures, and drawings by significant artists such as Piet Mondrian, Amedeo Modigliani, Jacques Lipchitz, and Max Ernst. Showcasing rare furniture, lighting fixtures, and interiors, as well as designs for the extraordinary Maison de Verre, the glass house completed in Paris in 1932, the exhibition brings together over 180 rarely-seen works from major public and private collections in Europe and the United States.
Pierre Chareau rose from modest beginnings in Bordeaux to become one of the most sought-after designers in France. Creating custom furniture and interiors for a distinguished clientele that included leading figures of the French-Jewish intelligentsia, Chareau balanced the opulence of traditional French decorative arts with interior designs that were elegant, functional, and in sync with the requirements of modern life. The exhibition also addresses Chareau's life and work in the New York area, after he left Paris during the German occupation of the city, including the house he designed for Robert Motherwell in 1947 in East Hampton, Long Island.
The 2016-2017 season marks the third year of the Jewish Museum and Bang on a Can's partnership, producing dynamic musical performances inspired by the Museum's diverse slate of exhibitions. This season includes five programs, primarily in the Jewish Museum's Scheuer Auditorium. So far, the season has included a free outdoor performance by Mariachi Flor de Toloache at the June 14 Museum Mile Festival, a July 14 concert featuring clarinetist Don Byron, and a November 10 concert by Pauline Oliveros. The final concert of the season on Thursday, April 27, 2017 will feature Bang on a Can All-Stars pianist Vicky Chow playing music by Tristan Perich.
Tickets for the February 16 program are $18 general public; $15 students and senior citizens; and $12 for Jewish Museum members and Bang on a Can list members, and include exhibition admission prior to the performance. Further program and ticket information is available by calling 212.423.3337 or at TheJewishMuseum.org/calendar. The Jewish Museum is located at Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, NYC.
Bang on a Can is dedicated to making music new. Founded by composers Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, who curatored the first Marathon concert in 1987 and remain co-Artistic Directors to this day, Bang on a Can has been creating an international community dedicated to innovative music, wherever it is found. With adventurous programs, it commissions new composers; performs, presents, and records new work; develops new audiences; and educates the musicians of the future. "Bang on a Can plays "a central role in fostering a new kind of audience that doesn't concern itself with boundaries. If music is made with originality and integrity, these listeners will come" (The New York Times). 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; the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA, a professional development program for young musicians; Asphalt Orchestra, Bang on a Can's extreme street band; and Found Sound Nation, a musical outreach program partnering with the U.S. State Department to create OneBeat, a program that bridges the gulf between young American musicians and young musicians from developing countries. For more information, visit www.bangonacan.org.
Located on Museum Mile at Fifth Avenue and 92nd Street, the Jewish Museum is one of the world's preeminent institutions devoted to exploring art and Jewish culture from ancient to contemporary, offering intellectually engaging, educational, and provocative exhibitions and programs for people of all ages and backgrounds. The Museum was established in 1904, when Judge Mayer Sulzberger donated 26 ceremonial objects to The Jewish Theological Seminary as the core of a museum collection. Today, the Museum maintains a collection of over 30,000 works of art, artifacts, and broadcast media reflecting global Jewish identity, and presents a diverse schedule of internationally acclaimed temporary exhibitions.
The Jewish Museum is located at 1109 Fifth Avenue at 92nd Street, NYC. Museum hours are Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, 11am-5:45pm; Thursday, 11am-8pm; and Friday, 11am-4pm. Museum admission is $15.00 for adults, $12.00 for senior citizens, $7.50 for students, free for visitors under 18 and Jewish Museum members. Admission is Pay What You Wish on Thursdays from 5pm-8pm and free on Saturdays. For information on the Jewish Museum, the public may call 212.423.3200 or visit the website at www.thejewishmuseum.org.