Bang on a Can announces Long Play festival (initial lineup)
Bang on a Can are behind Long Play, a new three-day destination music festival which will take place May 1-3 at various Brooklyn venues, including BAM Howard Gilman Opera House, Roulette, Public Records, ShapeShifter Lab, Littlefield, Brooklyn Music School, BAM Lepercq Space, outdoor events at The Plaza at 300 Ashland, and more. Here’s what Bang on a Can’s Co-Founders and Artistic Directors Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe say about it:
For over 30 years, Bang on a Can has dedicated itself to working the frontier – bringing together the most innovative voices in music and building new audiences for new work. Right now – this minute – is an amazing time to be a musician. Musicians from every corner of the music world are pushing beyond their boundaries, questioning their roots, searching and stretching for the new. There has never been a time when music contained so much innovation and diversity, so much audacity and so much courage. And we want to show you all of it. With the creation of LONG PLAY we are presenting more kinds of musicians, playing more kinds of music, bending more kinds of minds. LONG PLAY expands and enlarges our scope and our reach, and puts more new faces on stages than ever before. It’s a lot of music!
The inaugural lineup includes: a live performance of Brian Eno’s Music for Airports by Bang on a Can All-Stars and The Choir of Trinity Wall Street; Meredith Monk will present her new album, Memory Game, live; a tribute to Art Ensemble of Chicago featuring members Roscoe Mitchell and Famoudou Don Moye playing with a “who’s who of younger experimental musicians”; and live performances of two Steve Reich works by Bang on a Can All-Stars (2×5) and Dither Big Band (Electric Counterpoint).
There will also be performances by Matmos, Ashley Bathgate, Nik Bärtsch, Horse Lords, Tristan Perich, The Glenn Branca Ensemble, Ian Chang, Mary Halvorson & John Dieterich, the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, Balún, Laraaji, My Brightest Diamond’s Shara Nova, Matt Welch (“The Eddie Van Halen of the Bagpipes”), and lots more.
Festival passes and special early bird offers go on sale Monday, December 16. There are still more performances to be announced, but you can check out the full initial lineup below.
LONG PLAY FESTIVAL INAUGURAL LINEUP:
Steve Reich: All Live
Since the 1970s Steve Reich has been making music in layers, with live instruments playing against pre-recorded versions of themselves. At LONG PLAY, two of his iconic pieces will be performed all live – no backing tracks, no safety net! The Bang on a Can All-Stars and friends play 2×5, for two rock bands, and the Dither Big Band plays Electric Counterpoint, for 14 electric guitars. Live.
Art Ensemble of Chicago
“Great Black Music – Ancient to the Future.” Come celebrate the 50th anniversary of the legendary avant-jazz collective. Roscoe Mitchell and Famoudou Don Moye are in their 70s now and they are joined by a who’s who of younger experimental musicians, in a tribute to the band’s late co-founders Lester Bowie, Joseph Jarman, and Malachi Favors Maghostut.
Brian Eno: Music for Airports
Brian Eno invented ambient music with his revolutionary 1978 studio album Music for Airports. Made of tape loops and electronic sounds, Eno never intended it to be performed live, but in 1998 the Bang on a Can All-Stars premiered their own live version and they have toured it around the globe ever since. This performance adds the live voices of The Choir of Trinity Wall Street.
Meredith Monk: Memory Game
Meredith Monk’s work crosses so many boundaries she has had to invent her own way of making it, her own way of teaching it, and her own way of training a generation of singers and performers in how to perform it with her. This concert doubles as the official release of her new recording, Memory Game, a collaboration with the Bang on a Can All-Stars.
Ashley Bathgate: Ash
Supercellist Ashley Bathgate asked the six composers of the Sleeping Giant collective to write her solo works while channeling the spirit of Bach. Music by Timo Andres, Christopher Cerrone, Jacob Cooper, Ted Hearne, Robert Honstein and Andrew Norman.
Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin
Swiss beats! ECM artist Nik Bärtsch brings his band Ronin all the way from Switzerland for an evening of cool, loping, subtle grooves.
The Ken Thomson Sextet
Saxophonist / clarinetist / composer Ken Thomson is a livewire. He makes music that has a mind-blowingly ecstatic, hyperactive energy and, somehow, he has managed to find five other equally intense musicians who can keep up with him.
Bearthoven plays Scott Wollschleger
Tense, quiet, introspective, smoldering. Brooklyn trio Bearthoven plays music from Scott Wollschleger’s riveting new album American Dream.
Beats meet minimalism meets just intonation meets power chords in Baltimore’s band Horse Lords.
Jenny Lin plays Galina Ustvolskaya
The reclusive Soviet-era legend Galina Ustvolskaya wrote six mystical and granitic piano sonatas, spanning 43 years of her life. At LONG PLAY, piano virtuosa Jenny Lin will play them all, in order.
John Luther Adams: Strange and Sacred Noise
John Luther Adams’ radical vision is to use music to describe how we live in the world, in particular how nature changes us, and how we change it, combining a rugged sense of the elemental with a real concern for the health of the earth. At LONG PLAY, his monumental cycle is performed by Left Edge Percussion and the Southern Oregon University Percussion Ensemble.
Arvo Pärt: Kanon Pokajanen
Estonian composer Arvo Pärt’s music has been described as “holy minimalism” – simple, direct, unornamented, spiritually focused. Kanon Pokajanen – the Canon of Repentance – is his magnum opus, and is performed here by Estonia’s Vox Clamantis choir, who won a Grammy Award for their last collaboration with Pärt.
Vox Clamantis – Estonian Voices
Estonia’s Grammy Award-winning Vox Clamantis choir sings new music by some of the Baltic’s leading composers, including US premieres by Galina Grigorjeva, Evelin Seppar and ECM artist Helena Tulve.
Gerard Grisey: Vortex Temporum
The late French composer Gerard Grisey pioneered a type of music that has become known as “spectralism” – paying rigorous attention to the natural intervals of music to create a lush, luxurious sound. Vortex Temporum – played here by Lithuania’s Synaesthesis Ensemble – is his masterpiece.
Synaesthesis: Another Point of View
Lithuania’s Synaesthesis Ensemble presents a hypnotic, environmental collaboration between composer Dominykas Digimas and video artist Kristijonas Dirse.
Tristan Perich is a composer, an inventor, a technologist and a visual artist, and all of these parts of his persona come together in his music.
Cellist and composer Zoë Keating, with the use of computers and machines, constructs her compositions in front of us, in real time, while we watch. Musical snippets become captured by the technology and added to each other, in layers, transforming simple, straightforward fragments of solo cello lines into giant, orchestral forms.
Michael Gordon: Timber
Michael Gordon is a master of the elemental, building massive structures out of simple materials. Timber, performed here by Mantra Percussion, is a tour de force of focus and power – six percussionists each play an ordinary wooden 2×4, gradually adding beat upon beat until they swirl into psychedelic clouds of sound.
Attacca Quartet plays Caroline Shaw\
Composer, violinist and singer Caroline Shaw is a kind of phenomenon. Fresh from her Pulitzer Prize and back from touring with Kanye, she has been welcomed into every musical community. At LONG PLAY, the Attacca Quartet performs highlights from Orange, their recent Grammy Award-nominated recording.
The Glenn Branca Ensemble
Glenn Branca spent his life finding the magic seam between intricate microtonal experimentation and really loud guitars. For years Branca’s band was the laboratory for young guitarists who sought to push the boundaries of what a band can be, and it is great the band is still going strong. This concert includes excerpts from Branca’s posthumously released masterpiece, The Third Ascension.
David Lang and Julia Wolfe
Composers Julia Wolfe and David Lang have been sharing their thoughts about music with each other for practically forever. Here they share a concert together with friends and special guest performers, including Shara Nova (aka My Brightest Diamond) singing Lang’s Schubert-inspired death speaks and pianists Vicky Chow and David Friend playing Wolfe’s Aretha Franklin tribute my lips from speaking.
Composer / performers Darian Donovan Thomas and Phong Tran are Mediaqueer – a duo dedicated to discovering where beats, glitches, dance music, and gender politics meet.
Kinds of Kings: Afterimage
Chicago’s ~Nois Saxophone Quartet squawks, honks and blasts its way through music by members of the international composer collective Kinds of Kings – Susanna Hancock, Maria Kaoutzani, Finola Merivale, Emma O’Halloran, Gemma Peacocke, and Shelley Washington.
Mary Halvorson and John Dieterich
Guitar Heaven! Brainy improviser (and MacArthur Award winner) Mary Halvorson and fearless indie-rocker (and member of Deerhoof) John Dieterich team up for an evening of wild, scratchy and oddly affecting melodies.
Ian Chang is a drummer – or is he? Chang’s drums are also MIDI triggers, connected to samples and synths and even the stage lights – you never know which of his stick patterns will result in a simple drum beat and which will completely transform your environment.
Michael Pisaro: Ricefall
Rice falls, like a gentle rain, from the hands of the performers, onto a variety of objects and surfaces. Ricefall is part sonic environment, part visual installation, part intensely quiet and dramatic performance. Performed by the Southern Oregon University Percussion Ensemble.
Kendall Williams – Pan in Motion
Steel pans were originally made out of empty oil drums discarded around the Caribbean. Steel pan guru Kendall Williams has assembled a massive orchestra of different sized pans, and his hypnotically unpredictable and rhythmically ecstatic tunes push this traditional instrument into the future.
“The Eddie Van Halen of the Bagpipes” writes Pop Matters. Matt Welch has dedicated his life to expanding the repertoire for bagpipes and this concert will include his own works plus solo bagpipe music by pioneering composer Anthony Braxton.
Young phenom composer and outdoorswoman Gabriella Smith joins cellist Gabriel Cabezas in a concert of her music, in her first portrait concert in New York.
Asphalt Orchestra is Bang on a Can’s own radical street band that brings ambitious processional music to the mobile masses. Playing music by the Pixies, Thomas Mapfumo, Charles Mingus, Frank Zappa and more.
Brooklyn Youth Chorus
Under the direction of their founder Dianne Berkun Menaker the Brooklyn Youth Chorus has become one of the most inspiring, ambitious, and polished ensembles in the city. Singing music by Angélica Negrón, Gity Razaz, Alev Lenz, Toshi Reagon, Paola Prestini, and Nathalie Joachim.
Tomeka Reid Quartet
Powerhouse jazz cellist Tomeka Reid is joined by guitarist Mary Halvorson, drummer Tomas Fujiwara, and bassist Jason Roebke, for a concert of improvisation, long flowing melodies, and catchy impossible grooves.
This electronic band started in Puerto Rico but is now based in Brooklyn, mixing hypnotic tropical tunes and dembow beats and glitches and dreampop into their own style of music they call “dreambow.”
National Sawdust Ensemble – Hildegard Competition Winners
Brooklyn’s National Sawdust just started a competition for young trans, female, and non-binary composers. Their ensemble, led by former Kronos Quartet cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, plays music by the winners – Bergrún Snæbjörnsdóttir, Niloufar Nourbakhsh , inti figgis-vizeuta , Emma O’Halloran , X. Lee , and Kayla Cashetta.
Robert Ashley – Matmos performs “The Backyard” from Perfect Lives
In 1984 the experimental composer Robert Ashley’s masterpiece Perfect Lives premiered as a seven-part television opera. Ashley’s approach to opera was revolutionary – ordinary people whose everyday language hints at the eternal, “sung” in a kind of incantatory murmur, over elemental chords and structures.
Baltimore’s conceptual electronica artists make beats out of an astonishing array of source materials – cutting hair, the amplified nerve fibers of crustaceans, smashing old LPs. It is a strange kind of alchemy that Matmos can transform all these different and sometimes terrifying sources into cheerful techno beats.
Éliane Radigue: L’ile re-sonante
Music by revolutionary French synth goddess Éliane Radigue, including her epic electronic masterpiece L’ile re-sonante in a rare and almost live performance, featuring composer-trumpet player Nate Wooley and sonic projections by composer-guitarist Michael Pisaro.
Kris Davis and Craig Taborn
Improvising pianists Kris Davis and Craig Taborn have been playing together for many years now and it shows – their connection in performance is uncanny. Each is an accomplished soloist and composer in her or his own right, but together they fuse into something larger than themselves – free, intense, relentless, volcanic.
I-VT is composer Adam Cuthbert’s four piece techno electronic ensemble – 2 laptops, 2 drumkits with projections all over the place.
Meara O’Reilly: Hockets for Two Voices
Meara O’Reilly is a pattern maker. She starts with simple musical materials and then applies rigorous patterns to them, which makes them continually change their timing and their order and their context. The result is mesmerizing – it is the creation of a pure and audible logic.
Uncompromising, intense, overwhelmingly idiosyncratic composer / guitarist Reg Bloor plays music from her recent album “Sensory Irriation Chamber”
Laraaji: Ambient 3 – Day of Radiance
Laraaji’s meditative music has been hypnotizing people all around the world, ever since he was “discovered” and championed by Brian Eno in 1980. With his zither, his voice, small percussion and electronics he brings the bliss with deep, gentle trance-inducing ambient waves. Day of Radiance was the third installment of Eno’s Ambient series.
Found Sound Nation
Found Sound Nation (FSN), Bang on a Can’s social engagement wing, presents a vibrant bill of artists from across cultural divides, combining art music, hip hop, audio journalism, and contemporary composition.
Todd Reynolds, Frode Andersen, Ejnar Kanding
Violinist and composer Todd Reynolds is a virtuoso – not just of the violin but of a host of electronic gear that he uses to expand the horizon of what a violinist can be. Because of this, Todd has become the violinist of choice for a generation of composers. He will play his own music plus world premieres by Danish composers Frode Andersen and Ejnar Kanding.
Shara Nova aka My Brightest Diamond
Shara Nova, lead singer and songwriter of My Brightest Diamond spins a DJ set of dark minimalistic techno featuring the sounds of Detroit and Berlin nestled amidst My Brightest Diamond remixes.
Suzanne Bocanegra: Rerememberer
Brooklyn-based performance artist Suzanne Bocanegra uses the weaving instructions for a scrap of antique Danish cloth as the score for an elaborate and deeply sonic installation, including an amplified weaver, an accordion, a DJ, and 50 “violinists” who have never played violin before.