Bang on a Can All-Stars
Formed in 1992 by New York’s renowned new-music collective Bang on a Can, the BANG ON A CAN ALL-STARS (Ashley Bathgate, cello; Robert Black, bass; Vicky Chow, piano; David Cossin, percussion; Mark Stewart, guitar; Evan Ziporyn, clarinets) are recognized worldwide for their ultra-dynamic live performances and recordings of today’s most innovative music. Freely crossing the boundaries between classical, jazz, rock, world, and experimental music, this six-member amplified ensemble has consistently forged a distinct category-defying identity, taking music into uncharted territories. Performing each year throughout the U.S. and internationally, the All-Stars have shattered the definition of what concert music is today.
Together, the All-Stars have worked in unprecedented close collaboration with some of the most important and inspiring musicians of our time, including Steve Reich, Ornette Coleman, Burmese circle drum master Kyaw Kyaw Naing, Tan Dun, DJ Spooky, and many more. The group’s celebrated projects include their landmark recordings of Brian Eno’s ambient classic Music for Airports and Terry Riley’s In C, as well as live performances with Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Don Byron, Iva Bittova, Thurston Moore, Owen Pallett, and others. The All-Stars were awarded Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year in 2005 and have been heralded as “the country’s most important vehicle for contemporary music” by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Their newest project, Field Recordings, premiering in March-April 2012 in London and New York, is a new evening-length concert including film, found sound, and archival audio and video with specially commissioned new music and projections by some of the world’s most questioning musical thinkers from the indie pop world (Tyondai Braxton, Nick Zammuto from The Books), the art world (Christian Marclay), electronica (Mira Calix), and experimental classical (Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Evan Ziporyn). Recent project highlights include the world premiere performances and recording of Steve Reich’s 2x5, including a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall; the group’s multiple visits to China for the Beijing Music Festival and Hong Kong Arts Festival; the U.S. tour and Carnegie Hall performance of Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer, an evening-length staged concert with Trio Mediaeval; the October 2010 BAM Next Wave Festival performances of Evan Ziporyn’s A House in Bali, a new dance-opera featuring the All-Stars with Balinese gamelan; commissioned works by Louis Andriessen, Bill Frisell, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and more. With a massive repertoire of works written specifically for the group’s distinctive instrumentation and style of performance, the All-Stars have become a genre in their own right.
The All-Stars record on Cantaloupe Music (cantaloupemusic.com) and have released past recordings on Sony, Universal, and Nonesuch. For up-to-date information regarding Bang on a Can programs, events, and CD releases, please visit bangonacan.org.
Formed in 1987 by composers Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, Bang on a Can is dedicated to commissioning, performing, creating, presenting, and recording contemporary music. With an ear for the new, the unknown, and the unconventional, Bang on a Can strives to make exciting and innovative music accessible to new audiences worldwide. 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)
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) to a multi-faceted performing arts organization with a broad range of year-round international activities. In addition to the 25th birthday of its founding, Bang on a Can is also celebrating the 20th anniversary of its electric chamber ensemble, the Bang on a Can All-Stars; the 15th anniversary of its membership-based commissioning arm, the Peoples’ Commissioning Fund; and the 10th anniversary of the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA, a professional development program for young composers and performers which connects the pioneers of experimental music to the next generation. Each new program evolved to further expose innovative music as broadly and accessibly as possible to new audiences worldwide.
“When we started Bang on a Can in 1987, in an art gallery in SoHo, 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 needed to hear this music and they needed 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 growing for the last 25 years, and we are not done yet.”
Current projects include the annual Bang on a Can Marathon; the People’s Commissioning Fund; the Bang on a Can All-Stars; the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA; Asphalt Orchestra, Bang on a Can’s new high energy street band that offers mobile performances of unusual music; the Found Sound Nation, a promising new technology-based musical outreach program into NYC schools; and cross-disciplinary collaborations with DJs, visual artists, choreographers, and filmmakers.