LIVESTREAM ADDED: Bang on a Can All-Stars premiere new works and arrangements on PCF Concert
Concert Will Continue to Take Place In-Person at Merkin Hall for a Live Audience with Newly Announced Livestream, Available at live.bangonacan.org/pcf
Bang on a Can presents the 2022 People’s Commissioning Fund (PCF) ConcertCo-Presented by Kaufman Music Center as Part of the Ecstatic Music Series
Hosted by John Schaefer, WNYC’s New Sounds
Featuring an Expanded Line-Up of the Bang on a Can All-Stars
World Premieres by Tomeka Reid, Ken Thomson, and Fred Frith
New Arrangements of Works by Nick Dunston, Aeryn Santillan, Jeffrey Brooks, Trevor Weston, and Soo Yeon Lyuh
Thursday, January 20, 2022 at 7:30pm
Merkin Hall at Kaufman Music Center | 129 W. 67th St. | NYC
Tickets: $25 at 212.501.3330 or www.kaufmanmusiccenter.org
Streamed live at live.bangonacan.org/pcf
On Thursday, January 20, 2022 at 7:30pm, Bang on a Can presents the 2022 Bang on a Can People’s Commissioning Fund (PCF) concert, one of the most anticipated and reliable launching pads for composers in New York and beyond. The performance is co-presented by Kaufman Music Center as part of the annual Ecstatic Music Series at Merkin Hall (Kaufman Music Center, 129 W. 67th St.) and is a New Sounds Live co-presentation with host John Schaefer. Bang on a Can is moving forward with its original plan to hold this performance in-person for a live audience. Audience members must comply with Kaufman Music Center's current COVID-19 policy: www.kaufmanmusiccenter.org/covid. In addition, the performance will be livestreamed at live.bangonacan.org/pcf.
This performance marks the first live appearance by Bang on a Can All-Stars in New York City since the PCF concert in January 2020, and features an expanded nine-piece Bang on a Can All-Stars lineup with flute, horn, and trombone:
Jen Baker, trombone
Robert Black, bass
David Byrd-Marrow, horn
David Friend, piano and keyboard
David Cossin, percussion
Arlen Hlusko, cello
Allison Loggins-Hull, flute
Mark Stewart, guitar
Ken Thomson, clarinet and bass clarinet
with guest performer, Soo Yeon Lyuh, haegeum (Korean two-string bowed instrument)
These musicians will perform an entire program of music commissioned since the start of the pandemic.
Jeffrey Brooks: Santuario II**
Nick Dunston: Fainting is Down, Whooshing is Up**
Fred Frith: Which It Is *
Soo Yeon Lyuh: See You on the Other Side**
Tomeka Reid: UNTETHERED*
Aeryn Santillan: disconnect.**
Ken Thomson: Performative*
Trevor Weston: Rainbows and Butterflies**
**world premiere arrangement
The world premiere arrangements were originally commissioned and premiered as solo works during the Bang on a Can Online Marathons in 2020-2021, and have been newly arranged for this nine-piece ensemble.
Jeffrey Brooks: Santuario II
I think there is a general misunderstanding of the term “orchestration.” It is the idea that orchestration is a separate activity from composing and roughly analogous to coloring within the lines in a coloring book.
You may overhear at a concert things like “I love Mahler’s orchestration.” which can be translated as “Mahler put the melody in the English Horn instead of the 1st violin” or “Ravel is such a wonderful orchestrator” which means “Ravel put the melody in the tenor sax instead of the 1st violin” or “I’m not sure what to make of Darius Milhaud’s orchestration” which means “I wish he would stop putting the melody in the Tenor Sax and English Horn and put it back in the 1st violin.” It’s the idea that orchestration is something that happens after the composition is finished. For me, every new piece begins with an overall sound. That sound exists only in my imagination. The Sound IS the Piece. Orchestration for me is realizing that Sound for the available resources. The “imagined sound” may include certain rhythms. pitches, procedures but the composing process remains: Imagine a sound. Realize the sound.
So what does it mean when a composer is asked to re-orchestrate one of their existing pieces? The Sound has already been imagined and realized. But the available sources have changed. This was the problem I faced in re-orchestrating my piece, Santuario, (originally for solo, double necked, electric guitar and “looper pedal”) for a nine member ensemble. I needed to reconnect with the musical essence behind the solo piece and imagine a new sound that could be realized by a larger group.I needed to reconnect with the musical essence behind the solo piece and imagine a new sound that could be realized by the nine player All-Stars. While the new work shares some musical DNA with the original, Santuario, it has a completely separate musical identity that originates in a newly imagined "Sound."
Nick Dunston: Fainting is Down, Whooshing is Up
Cells expand, tissues compress, organ systems move at their own intuition. Deeply inspired by Robert Black’s gorgeous multitudes of performances of “Fainting is Down, Whooshing is Up”; this augmented iteration of the piece serves as a step in the feedback loop (but maybe network of neural pathways is a more appropriate metaphor) of collaboration, agency, and the spaces between potential and kinetic energy.
Fred Frith: Which It Is
Which It Is was composed during a residency in the village of Guarda in Unterengadines, Switzerland in the summer of 2021. It kind of wrote itself, maybe because of my absolute confidence that the All-Stars can play this kind of stuff with aplomb. I’ve made quite a few pieces for choreographers over the years, and spent a lot of time back in 1978 exploring dance music while preparing the record Gravity. The chance to revisit the territory in this rather particular guise was both intriguing and exciting.
Soo Yeon Lyuh: See You On the Other Side
See You On the Other Side emerges from an array of sounds I improvised after seeing footage of bodies stacked on top of each other in the world’s C-19 hotspots. The piece drew inspiration from the Korean traditional funeral procession, where people pray for the deceased. I reflect the hopes and desires of everyone who believes they can reunite with the departed, despite the sudden, unexpected farewell.
Tomeka Reid: UNTETHERED
UNTETHERED is a musical response to the moment that I believe we have all been witnessing. On the one hand, there is this driving rhythm that we want, have been comfortable with or have felt tethered to yet we are being forced to not only reflect but to break free from this pattern and find new ways of existing. In this piece I am exploring what that means for myself, wishing to be untethered—free, even wild, and unapologetically – of many things and wishing that there wasn’t so much push back from so many sides to this new world we are all entering and experiencing.
Aeryn Santillan: disconnect.
disconnect. is simply a piece about depression and the feeling of being disconnected from friends, family, the music community, and myself during the beginning of the 2020 pandemic. The recorded samples throughout the piece are from voicemails of calls that I ignored between March-April 2020 – some are misdials, one is my student loan company, and most are my grandma. This piece is a journal entry that encapsulates the emotions I felt and the music I was listening to at the time. Bands like sadness, Capsule, Infant Island, are direct influences. The piece ends on a distorted and stretched sample from my favorite city pop artist – both a reference to my bandmates 2019 SEA/Japan tour a year prior, reminiscent of better times, and also defeating as the chorus is “this is all I have for you.”
Ken Thomson: Performative
Performative is about the dance we do to align our own words and actions with those of the society with which we, either by choice or inheritance, surround ourselves; and how our words and actions signify to others the culture to which we would like to belong.
Trevor Weston: Rainbows and Butterflies
Rainbows and Butterflies is the product of a collaboration between Trevor Weston and Mark Stewart. I was moved by Mark’s experience connecting with Maya Angelou. Hearing Mark playing the piano to himself after a reception, Maya Angelou sent someone over to tell Mark that she enjoyed his playing. Inspired by that experience, we decided to use quotes from Maya Angelou’s comments, not printed texts, to create the piece. My conversations with Mark shaped and influenced the musical choices and texts to Rainbows and Butterflies.
About the artists:
Jen Baker (trombone) Jen Baker, trombonist/composer has pioneered a widely diverse career based in redefining the role of trombone in contemporary music and traditional performance settings. Featured on the soundtrack to Werner Herzog's Oscar-nominated Encounters at the End of the World, many of her collaborations and/or compositions appear on record labels including New World, Innova, New Focus, New Amsterdam, Cantaloupe, and her own label, Dilapidated Barns. Hailed for "formidable sensitivity” (New York Times), she has “performed with brilliant mastery and virtuosity” (San Francisco Classical Voice) at festivals worldwide, as Guest Artist/Faculty at many trombone festivals, Ostrava Days (Czech Republic), Edgefest, and many others. Other performance highlights include world tour of Beowulf (a thousand years of baggage) and the final performances with Merce Cunningham Dance Company at Park Ave Armory. Jen was featured soloist on Chicago's Experimental Sound Studio in their Quarantine Concert Series. Her Silo Songs (recently presented by Edgefest! and the International Trombone Festival), blends site-specific field recording inside a Michigan grain silo with live performance soloist. Her earlier solo album, Blue Dreams, is similarly based on vibration of multiphonics. She authored Hooked on Multiphonics: Multiphonics and other Extended Techniques Demystified, the first and only book that comprehensively deals with this technique.
Robert Black (bass) Robert Black tours the world creating unheard of music for the double bass, collaborating with the most adventurous composers, musicians, dancers, artists, actors, and technophiles from all walks of life. He is a founding and current member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Current projects include First Fridays with Robert Black, a monthly series of streamed solo bass recitals; a 10-channel audio/video double bass installation reflecting on the Anthropocene with sound artists Brian House and Sue Huang, filmed at the Freshkills landfill in NYC; an outdoor environmental work for 24 basses with composer Eve Beglarian; and commissions from Carman Moore, Joan Tower, Nick Dunston, Žibuolkė Martinaitytė, Krists Auznieks, Jakhongir Shukurov, and Daniel Sabzghabaei. Solo recordings include Philip Glass, Bass Partita and Poetry (Orange Mountain Music), Possessed (Cantaloupe Records) Modern American Bass (New World Records), The Bass Music of Christian Wolff and Giacinto Scelsi (Mode Records), and State of the Bass (O.O. Discs).
Jeffrey Brooks (composer) Jeffrey Brooks is an American composer living in Minneapolis. He began composing at an early age, eventually going on to study at Tanglewood and Yale University, where he earned masters and doctorate degrees. His primary teachers include Louis Andriessen, Gilbert Amy and Martin Bresnick. Brooks has a considerable body of work composed for mixed chamber ensembles. He has written for the Bang on a Can All Stars, Alarm Will Sound, The Michael Gordon Philharmonic, Zeitgeist, the Rose Ensemble, the Bakkan Trio, California Ear Unit, Present Music, Relache, Pianoduo, Icebreaker Ensemble, and 5th Species. In 2014, Brooks composed After the Treewatcher, the first of three works for amplified chamber orchestra that were premiered during three residencies at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival at MASS MoCA. The three works together comprise The Passion, a CD produced by Damian LeGassick and released by Cantaloupe Music and Innova Recordings in May 2019.
David Byrd-Marrow (horn) Atlanta native David Byrd-Marrow is the solo hornist of the International Contemporary Ensemble, as well as The Knights. Working with a uniquely wide range of performers, he has premiered works by Matthias Pintscher, Arthur Kampela, George Lewis, Tyshawn Sorey, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Du Yun, Marcos Balter, Wang Lu, Kate Soper, Miguel Zenón, and Chick Corea. He has performed at festivals including the Ojai Music Festival, the Spoleto Music Festival, the Mostly Mozart Festival, the Tanglewood Music Center, Summerfest at the La Jolla Music Society and as faculty at the Festival Napa Valley. Formerly a member of Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect, he has also made appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Decoda, the Atlanta and Tokyo symphony orchestras, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, the Washington National Opera and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center. He has recorded on many labels including Tundra, More Is More, Nonesuch, EMI, Deutsche Grammophon, and Naxos. Mr. Byrd-Marrow received his Bachelor of Music degree from The Juilliard School and Master of Music from Stony Brook University. David is the Assistant Professor of Horn at the Lamont School of Music, of The University of Denver.
Vicky Chow (piano) Canadian pianist Vicky Chow has been described as “brilliant” (New York Times) and “one of our era’s most brilliant pianists” (Pitchfork). About her recording of Michael Gordon’s Sonatra,The New Yorker wrote, “Sonatra is a milestone of composition, and Vicky Chow’s recording of it is a milestone of pianism." Her album Surface Image, composed by Tristan Perich, was among the top 10 Avant Music albums in Rolling Stone. As an artist frequently broadcast on WNYC radio, her recorded work can be found on the Nonesuch, New Amsterdam, Tzadik, and Cantaloupe Music labels. Interviews and articles featuring Ms. Chow have been published in the Huffington Post, Gramophone, The New York Times, and others. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, she is based in Brooklyn, NY and is currently the pianist for Bang on a Can All-Stars. She is on the Board of Advisors for Composers Now, and is also a mentor in the Juilliard School mentoring program. Ms. Chow is a Yamaha Artist.
David Cossin (percussion) David Cossin was born and raised in Queens, NY, and studied classical percussion at the Manhattan School of Music. His interest in classical percussion, drum set, non-western hand drumming, composition, and improvisation has led to performances across a broad spectrum of musical and artistic forms. David has recorded and performed internationally with Steve Reich and Musicians, Philip Glass, Yo-Yo Ma, Meredith Monk, Tan Dun, Cecil Taylor, Talujon Percussion Quartet, and the trio Real Quiet, as well as with Sting on his Symphonicity world tour. Theater work includes Blue Man Group, Mabou Mines, and projects with the director Peter Sellars. David was featured as the solo percussionist in Tan Dun’s award-winning score to the film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. As a soloist, he has performed with orchestras throughout the world including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestra Radio France, and more. His sonic installations have been presented in New York, Italy and Germany, and he is also an active composer and instrument inventor, expanding the limits of traditional percussion. David teaches percussion at the Aaron Copland School of Music and the Manhattan School of Music’s Contemporary Performance Program.
Nick Dunston (composer) Nick Dunston is an acoustic and electroacoustic composer, improviser, and bassist. An “indispensable player on the New York avant-garde" (New York Times), his performances have also spanned a variety of venues and festivals across North America and Europe. He's worked with artists such as Marc Ribot, Ches Smith, Mary Halvorson, Imani Uzuri, Ingrid Laubrock, Tyshawn Sorey, Anna Webber, Amirtha Kidambi, and Vijay Iyer. In addition to three studio albums released under his name, Dunston has also been commissioned by artists such as Bang on a Can, JACK Quartet, Ex-Aequo, Johnny Gandelsman, T R O M P O, Joanna Mattrey, and Joy Guidry. In 2020 in collaboration with Dogbotic Labs, he co-created “Ear Re-training,” a music composition course on media-bending experimental techniques. He is currently Artist-in-Residence with Wet Ink Ensemble for the 2021-2022 season.
Fred Frith (composer) Fred Frith is a songwriter, composer, multi-instrumentalist (bass, keyboards, violin) and improviser performing mostly on various permutations of the electric and acoustic guitar. Occasionally he uses crude home-made instruments, either of his own invention or in collaboration with his long-time colleague Sudhu Tewari in the band Normal. Fred learned how to compose in rock bands, starting with Henry Cow in 1968. This meant writing for and with people that he knew, and then arriving at the final result through a collective rehearsal process. During the Henry Cow years he fell in love with the recording studio and its endless possibilities. Fred embraces the idea of the “work” as an unfinished and constantly mutating entity. Collaboration, improvisation, sculpting sound in the studio, and treating composition as an open-ended process remain central to how he makes music.
Arlen Hlusko (cello) Hailed for her “sublime cello prowess” (Take Effect), “absorbing originality” (Gramophone), and “mesmerizing beauty” (NY Music Daily), internationally acclaimed Canadian cellist Arlen Hlusko is a dynamic, versatile young artist who has performed extensively as soloist and chamber musician across North America, Asia, and Europe. Newly appointed cellist of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Arlen is also a laureate of numerous competitions, Grammy-award winner for her collaboration with The Crossing, and recent alumna of the Curtis Institute of Music and Carnegie Hall’s Ensemble Connect. In addition to the All-Stars, Arlen regularly performs with several ensembles based on the East Coast, including Dolce Suono Ensemble, Intersection, and Frisson, and was recently featured on CBC’s “30 under 30”. She has been a featured performer with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, BBC Concert Orchestra, and the National Arts Centre Orchestra, among others. Arlen has also performed at several preeminent summer festivals, including Spoleto USA Bank of America Chamber Music, Music from Angel Fire, Tippet Rise, and Bay Chamber Concerts. As a teacher, she has served on faculty of Curtis Summerfest, New York Philharmonic and Philadelphia Orchestra Teaching Artists, and given masterclasses in USA, Canada, France, and Germany. Committed to using her music to connect with and serve her community, Arlen founded her own interactive chamber music concert series, Philadelphia Performances for Autism, and is involved with several communities in Philadelphia & NYC, including Carnegie Hall’s “Musical Connections” at Sing Sing Correctional Facility.
Allison Loggins-Hull (flute) Flutist and composer Allison Loggins-Hull, maintains an active career performing and creating music of multiple genres. Praised for being able “to redefine the instrument…” (The Wall Street Journal), Allison has garnered a reputation for successfully navigating an array of musical worlds and appealing to varied audiences. She is co-founder of the critically acclaimed ensemble, Flutronix, known for “redefining the flute and modernizing its sound by hauling it squarely into the world of popular music.” (MTV Iggy) She has performed with the International Contemporary Ensemble, Lizzo, Imani Winds, and been featured in the 62nd Annual GRAMMY Awards Ceremony. She can also be heard as co-principal flute on the soundtrack to Disney’s 2019 remake of The Lion King. As a composer, Allison has been commissioned by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Library of Congress, Carolina Performing Arts, Alarm Will Sound and several other artists and institutions.
Soo Yeon Lyuh (composer and haegum) Soo Yeon Lyuh is a composer, improviser, and haegeum (Korean two-string bowed instrument) player hailing from Princeton University by way of South Korea. Her work draws inspiration from traditional Korean music to compose a meld of improvisatory and experimental sounds, as shown in her pieces “Tattoo (2021),” “Moment 2020 (2020),” and “Yessori (2017),” which were commissioned and premiered by the Kronos Quartet. Rigorously trained in the Korean traditional court and folk repertories from a young age, Lyuh is known for her masterful performances of new compositions for the haegeum. To represent the authentic Korean musicality, she has given workshops and concerts for all age and ethnic groups across different universities, community centers, and festivals. Lyuh seeks to combine different musical DNAs with respect to diversity and inclusion.
Tomeka Reid (composer) Described as a “New Jazz Power Source” by the New York Times, cellist and composer Tomeka Reid has emerged as one of the most original, versatile, and curious musicians in Chicago’s bustling jazz and improvised music community over the last decade. She is a Foundation of the Arts (2019) and 3Arts Awardee (2016), and received her doctorate in music from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign in 2017. In 2015, Reid released her debut recording with the Tomeka Reid Quartet, a vibrant showcase for the cellist’s improvisational acumen as well as her dynamic arrangements and compositional ability. The quartet’s second album, Old New, released in Oct 2019 on Cuneiform Records, has been described as “fresh and transformative--its songs striking out in bold, lyrical directions with plenty of Reid’s singularly elegant yet energetic and sharp-edged bow work.” Reid has been a key member of ensembles led by legendary reedists like Anthony Braxton and Roscoe Mitchell, as well as a younger generation of visionaries including flutist Nicole Mitchell, vocalist Dee Alexander, and drummer Mike Reed. She co-leads the adventurous string trio HEAR IN NOW, with violinist Mazz Swift and bassist Silvia Bolognesi, and in 2013 launched the first Chicago Jazz String Summit, a semi-annual three-day international festival of cutting edge string players. Reid teaches at Mills College as the Darius Milhaud chair in composition.
Aeryn Jade Santillan (composer) Aeryn Jade Santillan (she/her) is a composer, guitarist, and bassist whose work is heavily influenced by the DIY punk scene and actively aims to blur the lines between band/ensemble and song/composition. Aeryn performs bass in the New Jersey based, internationally touring screamo quartet, Massa Nera. Along with composer/guitarist Andrew Noseworthy, she co-founded this place is actually the worst, an experimental mathcore duo, and post-genre DIY label, people | places | records. Aeryn holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Columbia College Chicago and a Master of Music in Theory and Composition degree from New York University. Previous mentors include Gabriela Lena Frank, Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, Marcos Balter, David Reminick, Drew Baker, and Ilya Levinson. Aeryn has been a fellow at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival, Toronto Creative Music Lab, and the Gabriela Lena Frank Creative Academy of Music. Aeryn enjoys biking, skateboarding, RPGs, and vegan tacos. She lives in Jersey City, NJ with her partner and two cats.
Mark Stewart (guitar) Multi-instrumentalist, singer, song leader, composer and instrument designer Mark Stewart has been heard around the world performing old and new music. Since 1998, he has recorded and toured as guitarist and Musical Director with Paul Simon. Mark is a founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars and the duo Polygraph Lounge with keyboard & theremin wizard Rob Schwimmer. He has also worked with Steve Reich, Sting, Anthony Braxton, Bob Dylan, Wynton Marsalis, Meredith Monk, Stevie Wonder, Phillip Glass, Iva Bittova, Bruce Springsteen, Terry Riley, Ornette Coleman, Don Byron, Joan Baez, Hugh Masakela, Paul McCartney, Cecil Taylor, Bill Frisell, Jimmy Cliff, Charles Wourinen, the Everly Brothers, Steve Gadd, Fred Frith, Alison Krauss, David Krakauer, Bobby McFerrin, David Byrne, James Taylor, The Roches, Aaron Neville, Bette Midler, and Marc Ribot. He is the inventor of the WhirlyCopter, a bicycle-powered Pythagorean choir of singing tubes and the Big Boing, a 24 ft long sonic banquet table Mbira that seats 30 children playing 490 found objects and is a Visiting Lecturer in musical instrument design at MIT. Mark is also a curator at MASS MoCA of the immersive Gunnar Schonbeck exhibit of musical instruments and co-founder of soundstewArt, a company that designs instruments, immersive sound environments & community music making experiences. He lives in Brooklyn, NY & North Adams, MA, playing, singing & writing popular music, semi-popular music and unpopular music, whilst designing instruments that everyone can play.
Ken Thomson (composer, clarinet and bass clarinet) is widely regarded for his ability to blend a rich variety of influences and styles into his own musical language while maintaining a voice unmistakably his own. He has a growing catalog of music written for ensembles of differing sizes, and has toured with and released a number of albums with groups that he has created. His bands “Sextet,” and, before that, “Slow/Fast,” combine the sounds of jazz and contemporary music in through-composed small-group settings; with them, he has released multiple acclaimed recordings and toured across the US and Europe. Two recordings of his chamber music are also available - “Restless” with Karl Larson and Ashley Bathgate, and “Thaw” with JACK Quartet. With the newly-formed Anzû Quartet, he has recorded his own work as well as Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time, for release in 2022. He is also active as a freelance clarinetist and saxophonist, performing with Ensemble Signal, International Contemporary Ensemble, Novus, and more. He is on faculty at the Bang on a Can Summer Institute; he endorses D'Addario Woodwinds reeds, F. Arthur Uebel clarinets and Yanagisawa saxophones (Conn-Selmer). Ken currently splits his time between Brooklyn and Berlin. www.ktonline.net.
Trevor Weston (composer) Trevor Weston’s music has been called a “gently syncopated marriage of intellect and feeling.” (Detroit Free Press) Weston’s honors include; the George Ladd Prix de Paris from the University of California, Berkeley, a Goddard Lieberson Fellowship and the Arts and Letters Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is a fellow from the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the MacDowell Colony. Weston co-authored with Olly Wilson, “Duke Ellington as a Cultural Icon” in the Cambridge Companion to Duke Ellington, published by Cambridge University Press. Carnegie Hall co-commissioned Weston’s Flying Fish, with the American Composers Orchestra, for its 125 Commissions Project. The Bang on a Can All-Stars premiered Weston’s Dig It, for the Ecstatic Music Festival in NYC in 2019. The Grammy-nominated Choir of Trinity Church Wall Street, under the direction of Julian Wachner, recorded a CD of Trevor Weston’s choral works. Weston’s work Juba for Strings won the 2019 Sonori/New Orleans Chamber Orchestra Composition Competition. Dr. Weston is currently Professor of Music and Chair of the Music Department at Drew University in Madison, NJ.
About the People’s Commissioning Fund (PCF): Created in 1997, PCF is a radical partnership between artists and audiences to commission works from adventurous composers and is one of the first pre-social media, crowd-sourcing art-creating platforms. The fund began when Bang on a Can co-founders Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe recognized a need to go beyond the usual sources of support to create new, groundbreaking music. Each year, Bang on a Can pools together the contributions of hundreds of individuals to fund the commissions. Donations range from $5 to $5,000. To date, over 50 new pieces have been created through PCF, and over $300,000 has been raised. The pieces often become part of the Bang on a Can All-Stars' permanent repertoire, and these works go on to make debuts across the U.S. and throughout Europe and Asia.
Past commissions have gone to composers including Nik Bärtsch, Eve Beglarian, Amanda Berlind, Oscar Bettison, Nick Brooke, Jeffrey Brooks, Jace Clayton, Anna Clyne, Josué Collado, Alvin Curran, Dan Deacon, Bryce Dessner, Sussan Deyhim, James Fei, Ben Frost, Yoav Gal, Annie Gosfield, Hildur Guđnadóttir, Erdem Helvacioglu, John Hollenbeck, Cynthia Hopkins, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Karsh Kale, Carla Kihlstedt, John King, Glenn Kotche, George Lewis, Lukas Ligeti, Nicole Lizée, Annea Lockwood, David Longstreth, Alvin Lucier, Rene Lussier, Keeril Makan, Ingram Marshall, Miya Masaoka, Paula Matthusen, Marc Mellits, Kate Moore, Thurston Moore, Virgil Moorefield, Nico Muhly, Qasim Naqvi, Angélica Negrón, Richard Reed Parry, Joshua Penman, Tristan Perich, Dan Plonsey, Ed Ruchalski, Caroline Shaw, Matthew Shipp, Gabriella Smith, Christine Southworth, Lok Yin Tang, Jim Thirwell, Ken Thomson, Anna Thorvaldsdottir, Henry Threadgill, Toby Twining, Felipe Waller, Stefan Weisman, Daniel Wohl, Zhang Shouwang, Trevor Weston, and Pamela Z.
About the Bang on a Can All-Stars: Formed in 1992, the Bang on a Can All-Stars 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 and have been heralded as “the country’s most important vehicle for contemporary music” by the San Francisco Chronicle.
Current and recent project highlights include a recording of legendary composer/performer Meredith Monk’s MEMORY GAME; Road Trip, an immersive and visually stunning concert collaboratively-composed by Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe to commemorate the 30+ year journey of Bang on a Can; the touring performances and recording of Julia Wolfe’s Pulitzer Prize winning Anthracite Fields for the All-Stars and guest choir, the record release of Wolfe’s acclaimed Steel Hammer, featuring Trio Mediaeval, plus a moving theatrically staged collaboration with SITI Company and director Anne Bogart; Field Recordings, a major multi-media project and CD/DVD now featuring 30 commissioned works by Tyondai Braxton, Mira Calix, Anna Clyne, Bryce Dessner, Florent Ghys, Michael Gordon, Jóhann Jóhannsson, David Lang, Christian Marclay, Steve Reich, Todd Reynolds, Julia Wolfe, and more; the Lincoln Center Festival 2017 world premiere of Cloud River Mountain, a new collaboration featuring Chinese superstar singer Gong Linna; the world premiere performance and recording of Steve Reich’s 2×5 including a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall, and much 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 and have released past recordings on Sony, Universal and Nonesuch.
About Bang on a Can: Bang on a Can is dedicated to making music new. Since its first Marathon concert in 1987, 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 is building a world in which powerful new musical ideas flow freely across all genres and borders. 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 has 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. “When we started Bang on a Can, we never imagined that our 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, and we are not done yet.”
In March 2020, when the pandemic began, Bang on a Can responded with the Live Online concert series including its signature Marathon concerts. With this online series, Bang on a Can has been able to support composers and performers and engage audiences throughout the pandemic shutdown. Other in-person programs include two festivals LOUD Weekend at MASS MoCA and LONG PLAY, current projects include 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 every year; recording projects; 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; Asphalt Orchestra, Bang on a Can’s extreme street band that offers mobile performances re-contextualizing unusual music; Found Sound Nation, a new technology-based musical outreach program now partnering 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; cross-disciplinary collaborations and projects with DJs, visual artists, choreographers, filmmakers and more. 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. Bang on a Can’s inventive and aggressive approach to programming and presentation has created a large and vibrant international audience made up of people of all ages who are rediscovering the value of contemporary music. Bang on a Can has also recently launched its new digital archive, CANLAND, an extensive archive of its recordings, videos, posters, program books, and more. Thirty-three years of collected music and associated ephemera have been digitized and archived online and is publicly accessible in its entirety at www.canland.org. For more information about Bang on a Can, please visit www.bangonacan.org.
About Kaufman Music Center: Kaufman Music Center transforms lives through music education and performance. Founded in 1952 as a community music school, today’s Kaufman Music Center is leveling the playing field for kids all over NYC and beyond with innovative programs making music education accessible for 4,000 students of all ages and backgrounds each year at Special Music School; Lucy Moses School, a community arts school for all ages; and groundbreaking teen new music programs like Face the Music and Luna Composition Lab. At Merkin Hall, more than 50,000 audience members each year connect with music at performances ranging from classical to cutting-edge. Kaufman Music Center is based at 129 W. 67th St. on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Visit www.kaufmanmusiccenter.org or call 212 501 3330 for more information.
About the Ecstatic Music Series: “No series has better instincts in fomenting post-genre alchemy than the Ecstatic Music Festival,” writes Steve Smith in The New Yorker. Kaufman Music Center’s Ecstatic Music Series brings together composers and performers from different musical background for audacious, one-night-only presentations of surprising musical collaborations. Hailed as “a who’s who of the current musical scene” (WQXR), Ecstatic Music is curated by composer and New Amsterdam Records Co-Director Judd Greenstein. www.kaufmanmusiccenter.org/mch/series/ecstatic-music-festival