Bang on a Can presents Steve Reich and Amy Sillman - with performances by Bang on a Can All-Stars
Thursday, May 13, 2021 at 7:30pm EDT
Streaming at live.bangonacan.org
Bang on a Can, BOMB Magazine, and the Jewish Museum announce their latest online event: a live conversation featuring two of the most renowned American artists of their generation - composer Steve Reich and painter Amy Sillman - plus performances of two Reich classics: Piano/Video Phase and Electric Counterpoint by the Bang on a Can All-Stars’ David Cossin (percussion) and Mark Stewart (electric guitar).
Among the most iconic and well known composers of his generation, Steve Reich’s music has had a broad influence that continues to inspire music makers across genres, from techno and electronica to rock and roll. In the words of The Guardian, “There’s just a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history and Steve Reich in one of them.”
Reich will be joined in conversation with Brooklyn-based painter Amy Sillman, who had two triumphal exhibitions in New York last year – a show of her own work at Barbara Gladstone Gallery and one she curated for the reopening of The Museum of Modern Art. Coincidentally, she is also Steve Reich’s cousin.
For decades, members of the Bang on a Can All-Stars have been among the deftest interpreters of Reich’s music. Guitarist Mark Stewart, a longstanding member of Reich’s touring ensemble, will perform Electric Counterpoint, for solo electric guitar and 12 backing pre-recorded guitar tracks. Percussionist David Cossin, also a veteran of Reich’s touring ensemble offers his unique treatment of Reich’s Piano Phase (redubbed Piano Phase/Video Phase), in which Cossin performs the two piano parts with percussion midi-triggers. Equal parts concert piece and live video-installation, Piano Phase/Video Phase represents a wholly novel interpretation of Reich’s work, allowing us to see the actual structure of the piece as it unfolds.
This event coincides with the 40th Anniversary of BOMB Magazine, which has published interviews with artists since 1981 including Steve Reich and Amy Sillman. Beginning in the month of May, BOMB will celebrate its anniversary by revisiting iconic interviews from the archive—including Steve Reich’s, with a special playlist curated by Reich himself.
About Steve Reich: Steve Reich has been called "America’s greatest living composer" (Village Voice), "the most original musical thinker of our time" (The New Yorker), and "among the great composers of the century" (The New York Times). His music has influenced composers and mainstream musicians all over the world. Music for 18 Musicians and Different Trains have earned him two Grammy Awards, and in 2009, his Double Sextet won the Pulitzer Prize. Reich’s documentary video opera works—The Cave and Three Tales, done in collaboration with video artist Beryl Korot—have been performed on four continents. His recent work Quartet, for percussionist Colin Currie, sold out two consecutive concerts at Queen Elizabeth Hall in London shortly after tens of thousands at the Glastonbury Festival heard Jonny Greenwood (of Radiohead) perform Electric Counterpoint followed by the London Sinfonietta performing his Music for 18 Musicians.
In 2012, Reich was awarded the Gold Medal in Music by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has additionally received the Praemium Imperiale in Tokyo, the Polar Music Prize in Stockholm, the BBVA Award in Madrid, and recently the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale. He has been named Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and has been awarded honorary doctorates by the Royal College of Music in London, the Juilliard School, the Liszt Academy in Budapest, and the New England Conservatory of Music, among others. "There’s just a handful of living composers who can legitimately claim to have altered the direction of musical history and Steve Reich is one of them," states The Guardian.
About Amy Sillman: Amy Sillman (b. 1955, Detroit) is a painter based in New York known for her gestural paintings and active engagement with drawing, animation and writing. Her work is held in many museum collections, including MoMA, The Brooklyn Museum, The Whitney, LA MoCA, the Brandhorst Museum in Munich, the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, and Tate Modern in London. A mid-career survey show in 2013, "one lump or two,” was curated by Helen Molesworth and originated at the ICA Boston in 2013. In 2020 she published a book of writing on art, Faux Pas, published by After 8 Books in Paris. Sillman is represented by Gladstone Gallery/NYC.
About David Cossin: 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.
About Mark Stewart: 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, toured and been Musical Director with Paul Simon. A founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars and the duo Polygraph Lounge with keyboard & theremin wizard Rob Schwimmer, Mark 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, Edie Brickell, 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 & Klezmer Madness, Bobby McFerrin, David Byrne, James Taylor, The Roches, Aaron Neville, Bette Midler, and Marc Ribot. He has worked extensively with composer Elliot Goldenthal on music for the films The Glorias, Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, Across the Universe, Titus, The Butcher Boy, The Good Thief, In Dreams and Heat. He has designed instruments for Julie Taymor’s Midsummer Nights Dream & Theater For A New Audience’s production of King Lear. He is the inventor of the WhirlyCopter, a bicycle-powered Pythagorean choir of singing tubes and the Big Boing, a 24 ft. sonic banquet table Mbira that seats 30 children playing 490 found objects, and he is a Visiting Lecturer in musical instrument design & performance practice 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 immersive sound environments & community music making experiences. Since 2012, he has been the Artistic Director of Guitar Mash, leading the participatory communal Urban Campfires together with renowned artists sharing their favorite songs and life stories. Mark can be heard on Blue Note, Warner Bros., Sony, Sony Classical, Point/Polygram, Nonesuch, Label Bleu, Resonance Magnetique, Cantaloupe and CRI recordings. 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.
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 the Jewish Museum
Located on New York City's famed Museum Mile, the Jewish Museum is a distinctive hub for art and Jewish culture for people of all backgrounds. Founded in 1904, the Museum was the first institution of its kind in the United States and is one of the oldest Jewish museums in the world. Devoted to exploring art and Jewish culture from ancient to contemporary, the Museum offers intellectually engaging exhibitions and programs, and maintains a unique collection of nearly 30,000 works of art, ceremonial objects, and media reflecting the global Jewish experience over more than 4,000 years. Whether visitors come to our Fifth Avenue building or engage online, there is something for everyone to enjoy and learn. The public may visit www.TheJewishMuseum.org or call 212.423.3200 for more information.
About BOMB Magazine
BOMB Magazine has been publishing conversations between artists of all disciplines since 1981. BOMB’s founders—New York City artists and writers—decided to publish dialogues that reflected the way practitioners spoke about their work among themselves. Today, BOMB is a nonprofit, multi-platform publishing house that creates, disseminates, and preserves artist-generated content from interviews to artists’ essays to new literature. Since 2014, BOMB’s Oral History Project has staged one-on-one interviews with New York City-based visual artists of African descent, conducted by curators, scholars, and visual artists. BOMB includes a quarterly print magazine, a daily online publication, and a free digital archive of its previously published content from 1981 onward.