On Tuesday, February 26 at 6pm and Monday, March 4 at 6pm, Bang on a Can and The Museum of Modern Art present a pair of concerts in conjunction with MoMA's exhibition Inventing Abstraction, 1910-1925 that reveal how pioneering European composers of 100 years ago forever changed music in New York. Curated by Bang on a Can co-founder and artistic directorDavid Lang, each concert pairs two composers-an early-20th-century innovator, and a New Yorker he influenced- and is performed by alumni and faculty of the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA, a utopian residency program dedicated entirely to the creation, study, and performance of the most adventurous music of our time.
The first concert in the series on February 26, Consonant Abstraction: Claude Debussy and Steve Reich, features a rare performance of the chamber ensemble arrangement of Debussy's landmark orchestra piece Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun, which was made by one of Schoenberg's students for his private performing society in Vienna; plus two Reich classics, Electric Counterpoint and Different Trains. During the concert, Steve Reich joins David Lang for a conversation.
The second concert in the series on March 4, Dissonant Abstraction: Arnold Schoenberg and Morton Feldman features one of Arnold Schoenberg's shortest, oddest, most intense pieces, Herzgewächse, a shockingly expressive vocal miniature originally written for Vasily Kandinsky's journal The Blue Rider. Morton Feldman's meditative work Three Voices, for solo voice and two prerecorded solo voices, a luxurious, introspective setting of a poem by Frank O'Hara, has a much slower tempo than the Schoenberg piece, but is ultimately no less intense.
These concerts are performed nearly exclusively by alumni and faculty of the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA, a veritable who's who roster of cutting-edge performers on the New York new music scene: Timothy Andres, harmonium;Stuart Breczinski, oboe; Matt Evans, percussion; David Friend, celeste; Florent Ghys, double bass; Lorna Krier, harmonium; Karl Larson, piano; Megan Levin, harp; Mivos Quartet (Olivia De Prato, Joshua Modney, violins; Victor Lowrie, viola; Mariel Roberts, cello); Daisy Press, soprano; Jessica Schmitz, flute; Adam Sliwinski, conductor; Ashley Smith, clarinet, and Mark Stewart, electric guitar.
"One thing that is really exciting for me about these concerts is that the performers are alums or faculty of the Bang on a Can Summer Festival @ MASS MoCA," says David Lang. "Every summer for the past 12 years we have brought together 35 adventurous young composers and performers of contemporary music, exploring powerful new ideas at the crossroads of music and art. We are thrilled to make these concerts with these amazing young players, taking Bang on a Can to MoMA, celebrating the close relationship between artists and composers in New York."
Other Bang on a Can Summer Festival events this season include Bang on a Can: Live Karaoke, the first annual Bang on a Can Summer Festival fundraising party, on Saturday, March 23 at 92YTribeca, featuring all live music performed by Summer Festival alumni Lisa Dowling, James Moore, Eleanor Oppenheim, Geremy Schulick, Wil Smith, and Peter Wise. For ticket information:http://www.92y.org/tribeca/tickets/production.aspx?pid=91182.
The 12th Annual Summer Festival @ MASS MoCA takes place from Monday, July 15 through Sunday, August 4, 2013. Details will be announced in late February. For more information: http://bangonacan.org/summer_festival.