Bang On A Can All-Stars
(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )

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"Bang on a Can" is the name of a New York festival of new music that was inaugurated in 1987. Bang On A Can All-Stars is a supergroup of sort, formed by six veteran musicians (Maya Beiser on cello, Robert Black on bass, Lisa Moore on keyboards, Steven Schick on percussion, Mark Stewart on guitar, Evan Ziporyn on clarinet) under the aegis of the festival's directors: Julia Wolfe, David Lang and Michael Gordon. They perform creative interpretations of pieces by avantgarde composers. Industry (Sony, 1995) includes Gordon's Industry, Wolfe's Lick and Lang's The Anvil Chorus. Cheating, Lying, Stealing (Sony, 1996) is titled after Lang's Cheating, Lying, Stealing but is mainly taken up by Didkovsky's Amalia's Secret. These first two albums were later collected on Bang on a Can Classics (Cantaloupe, 2002).

Renegade Heaven (Cantaloupe, 2001) includes Gordon's I Buried Paul, dedicated to Paul McCartney, and Wolfe's Exquisite Corpses and Believing.

Lost Objects (Teldec, 2001) for vocal soloists, mixed chorus, orchestra and turntablist, is an oratorio composed by Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe around Deborah Artman's libretto. All in all, it proves the compositional limits of the trio.

Maya Beiser and Steven Schick have also released Caught By The Sky With Wire (OO, 2001).

Evan Ziporyn (1959) debuted solo with This Is Not A Clarinet (2001), with the 16-minute Partial Truths, and collected a number of compositions on Typical Music (2006): a Piano Trio (2001), the four-movement Pondok (2000) for solo piano, and the 14-minute Ngaben (2003) for Balinese gamelan orchestra and Western orchestra. No Return contains the four-movement suite No Return and a three-movement Piano Trio. Shadow Bang (2003) documents a collaboration with with Balinese singer I Wayan Wija. Frog's Eye (2006) collects multi-ethnic orchestral music: Frog's Eye (12:47), The Ornate Zither and the Nomad Flute (15:28), War Chant (13:56), and Drill (11:15). He has also composed the Balinese-inspired operas Shadow Band (2006) and A House in Bali (2009) as well as 100 30-second Two-Piano Pieces (2010). He has also composed the 13-minute You Are Getting Sleepy (2015) for solo piano and the 17-minute Hive (2016) for clarinet quartet.

David Lang (1957) was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer prize for his composition The Little Match Girl Passion for chamber orchestra, inspired by both fairy tales and Bach.

Julia Wolfe's Dark Full Ride (2009) featured four compositions: LAD, a 16-minute piece for 9 bagpipes (played by Matthew Welch); the 18-minute title-track for 4 drum sets, played by the Talujon Percussion Quartet; the 15-minute My Lips From Speaking for 6 pianos, all played by Lisa Moore; and Stronghold, a 18-minute for 8 double basses, played by Robert Black. Her Cruel Sister (Cantaloupe, 2011) contains Cruel Sister, composed in 2004, a 30-minute piece in 4 parts, for string orchestra, and Fuel, a 20-minute collaboration in 5 parts with filmmaker Bill Morrison, performed by the Ensemble Resonanz. Wolfe also composed Steel Hammer (2009).

Michael Gordon composed chamber music, notably Weather (1997) for string orchestra, the monumental percussion sextet Timber for six amplified 2x4s (2012) and the string quartet with voice The Sad Park (2006), as well as orchestral music such as Trance (1995) and Decasia (2001), and Gotham (2004) for chamber orchestra.

Steel Hammer (Cantaloupe, 2014), premiered in november 2009, features Julia Wolfe along with her Bang On A Can All-Stars, plus the Trio Mediaeval.

Bang on a Can All-Stars's Anthracite Fields (Cantaloupe, 2015), composed by Wolfe, is an oratorio with choir, commemorating coal miners of the industrial revolution.

(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )
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