Today, June 17, from noon until midnight, Bang on a Can continues celebrating its 25th year with the annual Bang on a Can Marathon, free for the public at World Financial Center Winter Garden (220 Vesey Street, NYC), presented by River To River® Festival, Arts Brookfield, and Bang on a Can.
The Marathon has been the opening event of River To River Festival for seven years, kicking off the month-long celebration of free music, dance, film, and arts events throughout Lower Manhattan.
Bang on a Can started out 25 years ago as a one day Marathon concert (on Mother’s Day in 1987 in a SoHo art gallery) and has grown into a multi-faceted performing arts organization with a broad range of year-round international activities. The New York Times reports, “A quarter-century later their impact has been profound and pervasive. The current universe of do-it-yourself concert series, genre-flouting festivals, composer-owned record labels and amplified, electric-guitar-driven compositional idioms would probably not exist without their pioneering example. The Bang on a Can Marathon, the organization’s sprawling, exuberant annual mixtape love letter to its many admirers, has been widely emulated…” Last year the Village Voice recounted, “[one could] enjoy a world made a bit more habitable – something like an authentically felt home – thanks to all manner of cultural practices that get dissed out in the mainstream.”
The 2012 Bang on a Can Marathon will be an incomparable 12-hour super-mix of boundary-busting music from around the corner and around the globe. This year’s Marathon will feature rare performances by some of the most innovative pioneering musicians of our time side-by-side with some of today’s newest exciting young artists:
The explosive Bang on a Can All-Stars will play the near impossible works of the late American-exile Conlon Nancarrow, the jarring music of Hague-based composer Akiko Ushijima, the haunting sounds of Poland’s Marcin Stanczyk, plus a set of tunes from their latest 2-CD album Big Beautiful Dark & Scary (released on Cantaloupe Music earlier this year) by composers David Longstreth of Dirty Projectors, Bang on a Can co-founder David Lang and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth.
Experimental sound pioneer Alvin Lucier will recreate his electronica masterpiece I am sitting in a room from 1969, regarded as a definitive work of Minimal tape music. Lucier’s own voice, mixed with the resonant frequencies of the room, will transport the entire World Financial Center Winter Garden via harmonic reverberation.
Percussion masters Talujon will encompass the Winter Garden performing Girard Grisey’s hour-long atmospheric surround-sound epic Le Noir de l'Étoile, a piece for six percussionists, tape, and live electronics that is based around the sound emitted from a pulsar – a rotating neutron star. Grisey, a founder of the Spectral movement in music, was introduced to the sounds of the Vega Pulsar in 1985 by astronomer Joe Silk at the University of California, Berkeley.
This year’s Marathon also features a rare gathering of electronic art music pioneer Pauline Oliveros’ Deep Listening Band, which specializes in performing and recording in resonant spaces such as caves and cathedrals. Named for Oliveros’ “Deep Listening” (a term she coined in 1991) concept based on meditation, improvisation, and electronic music, the Deep Listening Band will take the audience at the World Financial Center Winter Garden on an unforgettable sonic journey to an underground cistern.
In addition, this year Bang on a Can has assembled two extraordinary 6-piano bands, which will bring twelve of New York’s hottest pianists to the World Financial Center Winter Garden. Contemporary music mavericks Vicky Chow, David Friend, Paul Kerekes, Lisa Moore, Blair McMillen, and Isabelle O'Connell sound off in Steve Reich's Six Pianos from 1973 and Julia Wolfe's My lips from speaking, a centerpiece of her 2009 Cantaloupe Music release Dark Full Ride. The pioneering jazz pianist-composer Kris Davis will lead a killer 6-piano band of her own made up of five blistering pianist cohorts from the New York jazz scene including Sebastien Ammann, Kris Davis, Vijay Iyer, Russ Lossing, Angelica Sanchez, and Craig Taborn.