June 30, 2005
MASS MoCA's Bang on a Can Summer Festival Closes with July 30 Concert
(North Adams, Mass.)-- A music extravaganza in New York City since 1987, the Bang on a Can Marathon is known for its unparalleled programming of today's most innovative new music. A Marathon on Saturday, July 30, at MASS MoCA will close out the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival. The concert will include brand new work created over the course of the two-week Institute by the world-class musicians, composers, and teachers and their hand-picked students who participated. Participants will be on hand to discuss their work, including this year's featured guest composer Steve Reich who was recently honored with major retrospective concerts of his work by both the Lincoln Center Festival and the South Bank Centre in London. "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 (London). The Albany Times Union described 2003's Marathon: "The institute came to a roaring climax in a sprawling concert of contemporary music that was consistently challenging and richly rewarding." The series of performances runs from 4 to 10 P.M. Patrons may feel free to come and go throughout the performances to stroll through the galleries between sets.
In addition to Steve Reich, the performers will include Bang on a Can founders Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe (who share an OBIE award for Carbon Copy Building, which was performed at MASS MoCA in 2000) and the Bang on a Can All-Stars: John Benthal, guitar; David Cossin, percussion; Mark Stewart, guitar; Wendy Sutter, cello; and Evan Ziporyn, clarinets.
Composers and co-artistic directors Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe founded Bang on a Can in 1987. Their original idea was simple: to have fun with new music. Their bold programming concept incorporates performing visionary classics written two to three decades ago and pieces by composers just born at that time -- exciting music by our best known living composers and by those only starting to gain recognition. Bang on a Can has grown from a one-day festival to a multi-faceted organization. Bang on a Can aims to discover emerging composers and ensembles who are exploring new musical territories and reaching for a musical expression beyond the status quo.
Steve Reich was recently called "...America's greatest living composer "by The Village Voice. Born in New York, Reich studied composition with Hall Overton and at the Juilliard School of Music with William Bergsma and Vincent Persichetti. He also worked with Luciano Berio and Darius Milhaud. Reich studied drumming at the Institute for African Studies at the University of Ghana in Accra. In 1973 and 1974, he studied Balinese Gamelan Semar Pegulingan and Gamelan Gambang at the American Society for Eastern Arts in Seattle and Berkeley, California. He studied the traditional forms of cantillation (chanting) of the Hebrew scriptures in New York and Jerusalem. In 1966 Reich founded his own ensemble of three musicians, which rapidly grew to 18 members or more. Since 1971, his group, Steve Reich and Musicians, has toured the world, and has the distinction of performing to sold-out houses at venues as diverse as Carnegie Hall and the Bottom Line Cabaret. In celebration of Reich's 60th birthday, Nonesuch Records released a 10-CD retrospective box set of Reich's compositions. Major retrospectives of his work have been presented by both the Lincoln Center Festival and the South Bank Centre in London.
Michael Gordon was raised in Nicaragua in an Eastern European community on the outskirts of Managua. His music is an outgrowth of his experience with underground rock bands in New York and formal composition studies at Yale. His work has been performed at The Kitchen in New York, the Edinburgh Festival, London's South Bank Centre, Lincoln Center, The Kennedy Center and BBC Proms. His work has been commissioned by the new Ensemble Modern Orchestra, Ensemble Resonanz, and Ensemble Modern.
Composer-in-residence at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, David Lang's work has been commissioned by the Santa Fe Opera, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the San Francisco Symphony, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Singers, and the American Composers Orchestra. The Kronos Quartet, the New York Philharmonic, and the Netherlands Wind Ensemble have performed his work. His work has been played at Tanglewood and Aspen Music Festivals, in theater productions in New York, San Francisco, and London, and in the choreography of Twyla Tharp, Susan Marshall, La La La Human Steps, The Alvin Ailey Company and the Royal Ballet. Lang's awards include the Rome Prize, the BMW Music-Theater Prize (Munich), a Kennedy Center/Friedheim Award, the Revson Fellowship with the New York Philharmonic, and grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the New York Foundation for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
Julia Wolfe holds degrees from the Yale School of Music and Residential College at the University of Michigan. She's received commissions from the Kronos Quartet, the American Composers Orchestra, the Koussevitzky Foundation for the Cassatt Quartet, Meet The Composer/Reader's Digest, Orkest de volharding, the Huddersfield Festival, the Pan American Chamber Players, and the Rotterdam Arts Council. Her works have been played by the San Francisco Symphony, California EAR Unit, Margaret Leng Tan, and Le Nouvel Ensemble Moderne. Wolfe's works have been choreographed by Eliot Feld, Doug Varone, and the Dusselforf Ballet. She composed music for Anna Deavere Smith's play House Arrest. Her awards include a Charles Ives Scholarship, an Academy Award from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, two ASCAP Foundation grants, a fellowship at Princeton University, residency at the MacDowell Colony and Djerassi Institute, and a Fulbright fellowship.
Tickets for Bang on a Can Marathon are $22. A special discounted $35 ticket is available for the Marathon and the Bang on a Can All-Stars performance of Brian Eno's Music for Airports on July 23. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams, open from 11 A.M. to 5 P.M. Wednesday through Monday (July 1 through August 31 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 Street in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
For Immediate Release
Contact: Katherine Myers
(413) 664-4481 x8113