P R E S S R E L E A S E S 2004
June 17, 2004
Kyaw Kyaw Naing, 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 third annual Bang on a Can Summer Institute of Contemporary Music at MASS MoCA starts on Saturday, July 17, with an opening concert, an explosive performance by the Bang on a Can All-Stars featuring Burmese master percussionist Kyaw Kyaw Naing 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.”
The first half of the concert will include Michael Gordon’s work, Light is Calling, with a film by Bill Morrison. Light is Calling is the title track to his new album on Nonesuch Records. Also on tap is Philip Glass’s Music in Fifths, a new All-Stars arrangement of this seminal work by minimalism’s best known composer Philip Glass from the All-Stars forthcoming Cantaloupe Music release due in September titled Bang on a Can Philip Glass. Music in Fifths an intense and rugged work predates Glass’s work in opera and film.
The second half will feature the All-Stars and Naing. One of Asia’s best kept secrets, Kyaw Kyaw Naing plays the pat waing, a drum circle made up of an astonishing set of 21 tuned drums. Naing’s talent as a percussionist developed throughout his childhood, living in a house filled with the music of the pat waing. Often playing ceremonies lasting from 8 P.M. until dawn, Naing cites strength and stamina as two keys for mastering the pat waing. To most listeners, the melodic and fast-paced music of the pat waing is unlike anything they have ever heard. Now, as a renowned musician, Kyaw Kyaw Naing strives to bring the music and culture of Burma to the United States.
Naing describes himself as a kid: “Whenever there was a quarrel it was me, and if someone was climbing to the top of a coconut tree, it was me, and if there was a rough game of football on the playground, I was in it.” Kyaw Kyaw Naing channeled the energy he had as a child and used it to become a powerful and enduring musician. Vowing to always keep his integrity, Naing continues to play and compose complicated pieces inspired by traditional Burmese music.
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.”
The concert with Naing 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 24, 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 handmade 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, and 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, CT. “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 Bang on a Can Opening Concert are $20. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Special discounted tickets for both this concert and the Marathon concert on July 24 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 in July and August. 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