Bang on a Can Celebrates 25 Years with Triple Bill Concert at Lincoln Center
Bang on a Can takes over Alice Tully Hall presented by Lincoln Center's Great Performers series in a triple-bill birthday bash on Saturday, 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.
Bang on a Can's 25th year includes performances around the world featuring a broad selection of brand new musical adventures alongside a recommitment to acclaimed projects from past years. The Bang on a Can All-Stars tour to Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Amsterdam, Bordeaux, London, Moscow, Glasgow, and many other places throughout the U.S. and internationally. Projects for 2011-2012 include the All-Stars in a dizzying array of collaborations with friends old and new – joining forces with Norwegian superstars Trio Mediaeval (in Julia Wolfe's Steel Hammer); with percussion legend Steven Schick (in an evening of music by Steve Reich in Los Angeles's Disney Hall, featuring 2x5 and Music for 18 Musicians); with an all-new expanded live tour of Brian Eno's ambient classic Music for Airports; and with a host of composers, visual and sound artists (in the premiere of a new evening-length touring project, Field Recordings – a collaborative program created from found sounds, images, and voices). The season also includes the premiere of a newly staged show featuring the marching band Asphalt Orchestra, new CD releases on Bang on a Can's sister-label Cantaloupe Music including the January 2012 release of the Bang on a Can All-Stars first studio recording in five years, the 2-CD set Big Beautiful Dark and Scary, and more. See concert schedule at the end of this press release.
In addition to the 25th birthday of its founding, Bang on a Can is also celebrating the 20th year of its celebrated electric chamber ensemble, the Bang on a Can All-Stars; the 15th year of its membership-based commissioning arm, the Peoples' Commissioning Fund; and the 10tth year of the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA, a professional development program for young composers and performers led by today's pioneers of experimental music. Bang on a Can has also recently started the avant-marching band Asphalt Orchestra and through its technology-based musical outreach program Found Sound Nation, it has partnered 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. Each new program has evolved to answer specific challenges faced by today's musicians, composers and audiences, in order to make innovative music widely accessible and wildly received.
"When we started Bang on a Can in 1987, we never imagined that our one-day, 12-hour marathon festival of mostly unknown music would morph into a giant international organization dedicated to the support of experimental music, wherever we would find it," write Bang on a Can Co-Founders Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe. "But it has, and we are so gratified to be still hard at work, all these years later. The reason is really clear to us – we started this organization because we believed that making new music is a utopian act, that people need to hear this music and they need to hear it presented in the most persuasive way, with the best players, with the best programs, for the best listeners, in the best context. Our commitment to changing the environment for this music has kept us busy and, and we are not done yet."