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Bang on a Can & Friends
with Don Byron and ZOË Keating

JULY 31 & AUGUST 1, 2020 | 8:30 pm EDT
Courtyard D | 1040 MASS MoCA Way | North Adams, MA

For Tickets: MASS MoCA Bang & Friends

Bang on a Can and MASS MoCA present Bang on a Can & Friends – two nights of LIVE in-person music under the Berkshire Stars – on Friday, July 31 and Saturday, August 1, 2020 at 8:30pm, at MASS MoCA in North Adams, located in western Massachusetts. With a maximum capacity of 100 people, the concerts will be held outside in MASS MoCA’s spacious Courtyard D and concert goers will be required to wear masks and practice social distancing. (Safety plans are detailed here.)

MASS MoCA is now reopened to the public and we are ecstatic!  For the 21st year in a row, Bang on a Can is thrilled to be partnering with MASS MoCA, bringing our boundary busting concerts to the Berkshires.

We’ve got the ever-dedicated and dynamic Bang on a Can All-Stars with special guests Don Byron, Zoë Keating, Gregg August, Robert Black, Vicky Chow, David Cossin, Arlen Hlusko, Taylor Levine, Todd Reynolds and music by Louis Andriessen, Philip Glass, Michael Gordon, Thurston Moore, Steve Reich and Julia Wolfe. Hope to see you there!  

 

Friday, July 31, 8:30pm 

Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint, performed by Taylor Levine

Todd ReynoldsOuterborough, performed by Todd Reynolds

Gregg August’s Trio for Violin, Piano and Bass (with acknowledgements to Yambú, Guaguanco and Abakua)  performed by Gregg August, Vicky Chow, Todd Reynolds

Philip Glass’ Piano Etudes (selections), performed by Vicky Chow

Zoë Keating, solo set

 

Saturday, August 1, 8:30pm 

Robert Black Possessed solo improvisation

Julia Wolfe’s Compassion performed by Vicky Chow

Michael Gordon‘s Light Is Calling performed by Arlen Hlusko

Don Byron, solo set

Louis Andriessen‘s Workers Union performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars

Thurston Moore’s Stroking Piece #1 performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars

Bang on a Can All-Stars:
Robert Black, bass
Vicky Chow, piano
David Cossin, percussion
Arlen Hlusko, cello
Taylor Levine, guitar


People

PROGRAM NOTES

Steve Reich’s Electric Counterpoint, performed by Taylor Levine

Electric Counterpoint  was originally composed for guitarist Pat Metheny as the third in a series of pieces (first Vermont Counterpoint for flute followed by New York Counterpoint for clarinet) all dealing with a soloist playing against a pre-recorded tape of themselves. In Electric Counterpoint the soloist pre-records as many as 10 guitars and 2 electric bass parts and then plays the final 11th guitar part live against the tape.  I would like to thank Pat Metheny for showing me how to improve the piece in terms of making it more idiomatic for the guitar.   – Steve Reich

Todd Reynolds’ Outerborough, performed by Todd Reynolds

Outerborough is the title track on my 2011 double CD release of the same name on Innova Recordings. It was the first piece conceived on the record, a result both of my first residential move to the Northern Berkshires, and a collaboration with filmmaker Bill Morrison, a longtime collaborator of members of Bang on a Can and one of America’s greatest interpreters of archival footage.

Gregg August’s Trio for Violin, Piano and Bass (with acknowledgements to Yambú, Guaguanco and Abakua) performed by Vicky Chow, Todd Reynolds, Gregg August

My deep interest in Cuban music has led me to visit the island eight times, beginning in 1999. The richness of their music, specifically the folkloric traditions, inspired me both as a bassist and as a composer. The Trio for Violin, Piano and Bass is a cross-disciplinary work, where I integrate some of the melodic chants and complex polyrhythms found in Cuban rumba, and place them in a classical music setting.

Philip Glass’ Piano Etudes (selections), performed by Vicky Chow

Most of Philip Glass’ Piano Etudes were composed in 1994 largely in response to Glass’ need for repertoire for his solo piano concerts (though there were other motivations at play as well).  For almost two decades Glass was the only person who performed this music.  While a few pianists including Dennis Russell Davies for whom the first handful of Etudes were written, Bruce Brubaker and a few others got their hands on the music and were given permission to perform and record the work, it really wasn’t until Glass set about completing, editing, and overseeing the first complete recording around 2012-14 that the composer finally had to come to terms with this idea that this body of work which began as pieces written for himself (Book 1), had now grown into something more.

Zoë Keating, solo

Armed with a cello, a microphone and a foot controlled laptop, Zoë will perform a selection of her intricate live-looped and layered works. Her music and methods have inspired a generation of DIY classically trained artists to bypass traditional modes of entry into the realm of new music. This performance will show off the music that has made her a beloved figure in post-classical composition and performance.

Robert Black, Possessed solo improvisation

Music born in the wild, rugged, and dry desert canyon lands of southeastern Utah comes to the sophisticated, genteel, and verdant Berkshires

Julia Wolfe’s Compassion, performed by Vicky Chow

I wrote Compassion shortly after 9/11. I was standing near the towers with my family when the first plane struck. It is impossible to describe the emotions of that day. Compassion is the first work that I wrote following this tragic event. I would go on to write two more works in response (Big Beautiful Dark and Scary, and My Beautiful Scream). Compassion was commissioned by pianist Sarah Cahill in honor of the composer Ruth Crawford Seeger. The name Ruth means compassion. The title is for her name, as well as a response to the time.

Michael Gordon’s Light Is Calling, performed by Arlen Hlusko

I wrote Light Is Calling in my studio on Desbrosses Street in the days and months after September 11, 2001. I live close to Ground Zero, and I wanted to make something beautiful after witnessing something ugly and tragic. The piece juxtaposes the sound of an acoustic cello with warped electronic pulses played backwards.

Don Byron, solo

For over 20 years, Don Byron has been a frequent collaborator of Bang on a Can – touring and recording with the All-Stars, and as a featured guest at our Summer Festival at MASS MoCA. For this show he will be performing some of his own original tunes, as well as songs by legendary composers he has selected especially for this performance.

Louis Andriessen’s Workers Union, performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars

Bang on a Can has played a number of works by Louis Andriessen over the years – it has always seemed to us that he is one of the European composers who listened hard to American music, coming up with his own solutions to our national musical problems.  In America of the 1960s there were many composers who were experimenting with open forms – pieces that left something unspecified, like the choice of instruments, or the order of musical ideas, or the coordination of the individual parts.  Cage’s experiments with indeterminacy, Earle Brown’s Available Forms, Frederic Rzewski’s Coming Together, Terry Riley’s In C, early Philip Glass and John Adams – a lot of composers were trying to find out how to take the controls away from making music.  Workers Union (1975) is the young(ish) Louis Andriessen’s contribution to this approach.  Everything is specified in this piece except the notes – the rhythms, the phrases, the attitude are all there, but not the notes.  It is clearly a piece that owes something to the American experimental tradition but what that thing is is hard to hear.  To me, that’s interesting. – David Lang

Thurston Moore’s Stroking Piece #1, performed by the Bang on a Can All-Stars

Stroking Piece #1 was written as a fairly typical example of a mid-period Sonic Youth-centric guitar instrumental: an episode of dynamic build with resultant tone-shards culminating in a noise improvisation/meditation released into repetition as thought-stroke release. When we played it in Poland once, the great Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki turned to us and said “that is a very pure piece of music.” We couldn’t agree more.

Supporters

Bang on a Can’s 2020 programs are made possible with generous lead support from: Amphion Foundation, ASCAP and ASCAP Foundation, Atlantic Records, Daniel Baldini, Stephen A. Block, Bishop Fund, Charina Endowment Fund, City of New York Department of Cultural Affairs, Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, Exploring the Arts, Howard Gilman Foundation, Jaffe Family Foundation, Thelma Hunter Fund of the American Composers Forum, Alan Kifferstein & Joan Finkelstein, Michael Kushner, Herb Leventer, MAP Fund, Raulee Marcus, MASS MoCA, Henry S. McNeil, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Jeremy Mindich & Amy Smith, Elizabeth Murrell & Gary Haney, National Endowment for the Arts, New Music USA, New York State Council on the Arts (with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature), Fan Fox and Leslie R. Samuels Foundation, Scopia Capital Management, Matthew Sirovich & Meredith Elson, Maria & Robert A. Skirnick, Jane & Dick Stewart, Sandra Tait and Hal Foster, Trust for Mutual Understanding, U.S Department of State, Williamson Foundation for Music, Adam Wolfensohn & Jennifer Small, and Wolfensohn Family Foundation.

Bang on a Can’s Board of Directors: Michael Kushner, president; Sandra Tait, vice-president; Alan Kifferstein, Treasurer; Robert A. Skirnick, secretary. Daniel Baldini, Jeffrey Bishop, Stephen Block, Jeffrey Calman, Michael Gordon, Lynette Jaffe, David Lang, Leslie Lassiter, Raulee Marcus, Elizabeth Murrell, Jane Stewart, Julia Wolfe, Adam Wolfensohn

Bang on a Can Staff:

Artistic Directors: Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe

Executive Director: Kenny Savelson

Development Director: Tim Thomas

Project Manager: Philippa Thompson

Production Manager: Sruly Lazaros

Found Sound Nation Co-Directors: Chris Marianetti, Jeremy Thal, Elena Moon Park

Accounts Manager: Brian Petuch

Online Store Manager: Adam Cuthbert

Archive Content Manager: Matt Evans

Assistant Store Manager: Cassie Wieland

Publicity: Jensen Artists