P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2003
June 19, 2003
Thurston Moore, Bang on a Can Kick Off Music Institute at MASS MoCA
(North Adams, Mass.) Each year MASS MoCA and Bang on a Can offer intensive training in new music to a select group of emerging musicians. The second annual Bang on a Can Summer Institute of Contemporary Music at MASS MoCA starts on Saturday, July 19, with American UnPop, an explosive performance by the Bang on a Can All-Stars featuring Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth at 8 P.M. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer described the All Stars as "not a rock band, not a jazz combo, not a chamber ensemble. It's all three, only different."
In addition to the exciting new commission from Moore, this concert will include a preview of Songs for Lou Reed by Bang on a Can co-founder David Lang. Songs features brand new settings of the classic text of prototype '60s minimalist band Velvet Underground. An additional highlight of the program is unprecedented new arrangements of the landmark player-piano studies of American expatriate composer Conlon Noncarrow.
Thurston Moore's ringing feedback-heavy guitar was a major influence of a host of 1990s rock greats, including Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. He regularly delighted critics and inspired young bands to move away from the mainstream. Raised in Bethel, Connecticut, he met Sonic Youth co-founder Lee Ranaldo when he moved to New York to be a professional musician. Together they worked with avant-garde composer Glenn Branca, who specialized in extended works of guitar dissonance. They formed Sonic Youth in 1981. The group quickly became known for rows of unusually tuned guitars with objects like screwdrivers between the strings for sonic effect. Moore's work became the blueprint for the emerging indie-rock movement.
The Bang on a Can All-Stars are: Robert Black, David Cossin, Lisa Moore, Mark Stewart, Wendy Sutter, and Evan Ziporyn. They freely cross classical, jazz, rock, world, and experimental music. This six-member amplified ensemble from New York is known worldwide for its unparalleled performances of today's most innovative music, defining styles so new they're yet to be named. Many of these elite musicians began playing in preschool and performing major professional solo concerts in their teens. They include New England Conservatory graduates, Julliard award-winners and Ivy League music school professors. Their credits include Academy Award-winning film scores and major Broadway hits. The Albany Times Union said of Bang on a Can's 2000 performance of Carbon Copy Building at MASS MoCA: "The music ran the gamut from ambient sonic washes to propulsive polyrhythmic rock to minimalist series that echoed Philip Glass and Steve Reich."
Sponsored by The Berkshire Eagle, American UnPop opens the two-week Bang on a Can Summer Music Institute where some of the world's most renowned musicians and composers hold open classes throughout the MASS MoCA complex with some of the world's most promising students. The Institute will close on Saturday, July 26, with a Bang on a Can Marathon performance by both teachers and students.
Since multi-instrumentalist Mark Stewart's mother taught music, he grew up experimenting with hand-made African drums, harmoniums, xylophones, guitars, banjos, violins, cellos and hundreds of others literally before he was in school. He studied guitar and cello during his conservatory days before moving to New York. Now he works mainly with electric guitar. "I like to say that I'm hired for my conservatory head and my rock and roll hands," Stewart commented. He regularly performs with Fred Frith, Anthony Braxton, Steve Reich, and Zeena Parkins.
Cellist Wendy Sutter began playing at the age of five and made her solo debut with the Seattle Symphony at age sixteen. She has participated in festivals at Marlboro, Aspen and Evian and was awarded first prize in the Juilliard cello competition. She made her New York solo concerto debut at Avery Fisher Hall and has participated as soloist or ensemble player with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, the ensemble Sospeso, the Seattle International Chamber Music Festival and New York's Music Today series. She's toured with Mikhail Baryshnikov and performed an onstage duet with him at Lincoln Center. "Working with and observing some of the great choreographers, like Jerome Robbins and Mark Morris, really opened my eyes to the power of music through movement and space. Since then I have never really been able to settle for the traditional 'classical' career," Sutter commented, reminiscing on a major turning point in her career.
Clarinetist Evan Ziporyn's work is informed by his 20-year involvement with the traditional music of Bali. He is founder and director of Boston's Gamelan Galak Tika. He co-produced and arranged Bang on a Can's acclaimed recording of Brian Eno's Music for Airports. As part of the Steve Reich Ensemble, he shared a 1999 Grammy for the recording of Music for 18 Musicians. Other collaborators include the Kronos Quartet, The Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Ensemble Modern, Tan Dun, Wu Man, Basso Bongo, Paul Simon and Red Fish Blue Fish. A professor at MIT, Ziporyn has also taught at the Yale School of Music, New England Conservatory, and the University of California.
Bassist Robert Black works with his computer-assisted duo, Basso Bongo, composing and commissioning composers. He frequently collaborates with Yoshiko Chuma and her post-modern dance company, The School of Hard Knocks. He tours playing solo performances around the world including Japan, Brazil, Europe, North America. Black still finds the time to teach at the FUNDEC de Eleazar de Carvalho in Brazil and his alma mater, Hartt School in Hartford, Connecticut. "I find there are a lot of people who want to hear this music," according to Black, "It's really a great time to be a musician."
David Cossin studied classical percussion at the Manhattan School of Music. He specializes in new and experimental music, and has recorded and performed internationally with groups including Talujon Percussion Quartet, NewBand (on the Harry Partch instrumentarium), New Music Consort, Yo-Yo Ma, Tan Dun, Bo Didley, and B-blush. Numerous theater projects include Peony Pavilion, Blue Man Group, The Lion King, and Mabou Mines. Cossin was the solo percussionist for films like Fallen and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which won the Academy Award for best musical score. He has performed solo concerts throughout Europe and the United States, incorporating video, electronic processing, and homemade instruments. Cossin appeared on the television shows Good Morning America and CBS' The Early Show with Yo Yo Ma.
Raised in Australia, Lisa Moore is the resident pianist for the Da Capo Chamber Players and has performed with the New York City Ballet, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, St Luke's Orchestra, BargeMusic, Cassatt String Quartet, ISCM, Alpha Centauri, Steve Reich Ensemble, Australia Ensemble, Sydney Symphony, Albany Symphony, and the Australian Chamber Orchestra. She's performed at Carnegie Hall, Royal Albert Hall, La Scola, the Musikverein and at festivals in Adelaide, Israel, Warsaw, Holland, Southbank, Palermo, Paris d'Automne, BAM's Next Wave, Sydney's Olympic Arts and Tanglewood. "Bang on a Can continues to throw challenges at me. I've had to do things on stage I never thought I'd get a chance to do, as well as demonstrating straight piano chops," according to Moore.
Tickets for American UnPop are $20. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Special discounted tickets for both this concert and the Marathon concert on July 26 can be purchased for just $30. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 10 A.M. until 6 P.M. daily. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413.662.2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line at www.massmoca.org.
Bang on a Can is a New York-based organization dedicated to creating a forum for the most innovative and adventurous music of our time. They aim to discover emerging composers and ensembles who are exploring new musical territories and reaching for a musical expression beyond the status quo. Their programming incorporates visionary classics written not more than three decades ago -- exciting music by our best known living composers and by those only starting to gain recognition.
MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall St. in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release