BANG ON A CAN presents 2015 People’s Commissioning Fund Concert (PCF) on February 26, 2015; Part of the Ecstatic Music Festival presented by Kaufman Music Center

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BANG ON A CAN presents
2015 People’s Commissioning Fund Concert (PCF) on February 26, 2015
Part of the Ecstatic Music Festival presented by Kaufman Music Center

World premieres by PCF composers Glenn Kotche, Jace Clayton (aka DJ/rupture) & Ben Frost

Plus Donnacha Dennehy’s Streetwalker, Michael Gordon’s For Madeline, selections from Erdem Helvacioglu’s Tales of Resistance and Oppression, and Annie Gosfield’s Overvoltage Rumble

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 7:30pm | Merkin Concert Hall
Kaufman Music Center | 129 W. 67th St. | NYC
Tickets: $25 at 212.501.3330 or

“Merkin Hall was a mob scene…At five minutes to 8, the line of ticket buyers snaked out the door…It was an evening that was packed in every sense: with people, with ideas, with music.”­ –New York Times

Bang on a Can:

New York, NY — On Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 7:30pm, Bang on a Can will present the 2015 Bang on a Can People’s Commissioning Fund concert, one of the most anticipated and reliable launching pads for composers in New York and beyond, as part of Kaufman Music Center’s Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Concert Hall (Kaufman Music Center, 129 W. 67th St.). This year the Bang on a Can All-Stars will give the world premieres of works by three PCF-commissioned composers: Glenn Kotche, Jace Clayton, and Ben Frost. The concert will also include the New York premiere of selections from Erdem Helvacioglu’s epic work Tales of Resistance and Oppression (premiered by the All-Stars in Istanbul in November 2013), Michael Gordon’s For Madeline, and music from the PCF vault: Donnacha Dennehy’s Streetwalker and Annie Gosfield’s Overvoltage Rumble. John Schaefer of WNYC-FM will host the evening for future radio broadcasts on his program, “New Sounds Live;” the concert will be streamed live on Q2 Music and will be available for on-demand listening at

The newly commissioned PCF works from Glenn Kotche, Jace Clayton, and Ben Frost will go on to be included in Field Recordings, Bang on a Can’s growing multimedia project. Field Recordings asks composers to go into the field of recorded sound itself – to find something old or record something new – and to respond with their own music, in dialogue with what they found. With Field Recordings, one hundred years of sound and imagery unfold to reveal a contemporary collective consciousness channeled through the Bang on a Can All-Stars. The project so far includes hot-off-the-press commissioned works by Tyondai Braxton, Mira Calix, Anna Clyne, Dan Deacon, Bryce Dessner, Florent Ghys, Michael Gordon, Jóhann Jóhannsson, David Lang, Alvin Lucier, Christian Marclay, Paula Matthusen, Richard Reed Parry, Steve Reich, Todd Reynolds, Daniel Wohl, Julia Wolfe, and Nick Zammuto.  The All-Stars’ recording Field Recordings will be released as a special CD/DVD-set on May 12, 2015, on Cantaloupe Music.

Of his new PCF-commissioned work for the All-Stars, Glenn Kotche says, “I’m very excited to be a part of the Field Recordings project, as the use of field recordings has been integral to my work as a composer and performer for the last 20 years. For this new piece, I’ll be utilizing recordings that I made over the years from my travels, including recordings from several continents and spanning all 12 months. The piece is rooted in drum kit oriented grooves found in my library of field recordings and is structured in collapsing cycles of time as related to the Gregorian calendar and the chromatic scale.”

Jace Clayton describes his new PCF-commissioned piece as a conceptual work about forgetting. He says, “My new work is based around the idea that the last song you remember at the end of a long life is the first one you learned as a child. I asked each of the All-Stars to tell me the first song they learned, and that selection becomes the raw musical material I’m working with. The premise of this Field Recordings commission was to integrate an audio sample, however, rather than sample something literally I’m ‘sampling’ their memories.” Clayton will join the All-Stars onstage for the performance of the piece, doing real-time audio sampling.

Ben Frost’s new PCF-commissioned piece is a sonic reflection upon a test flight of the X47b Unmanned Drone aircraft at an undisclosed location onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, documented by Frost in 2014.

Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy’s Streetwalker was commissioned in 2003 by WNYC’s New Sounds program, and premiered at that year’s Bang on a Can’s People’s Commissioning Fund concert. Dennehy says, “I have a fascination with a kind of urban energy which mixes intellectual concerns with streetwise attitudes and sounds. There is often something fundamentally cheap, obvious, and physically joyful, yet serious about what I do. When writing this piece, I entertained an image of passing through streets of terraced houses at some speed. There are large movements of dynamic change, for instance registral and harmonic collapses, reconstituting to form new areas of focus, but these happen often in interlocking, seemingly static terrace steps.” Other influences of the work include the image of the constantly crashing cars in the Chrysler Building in Matthew Barney’s Cremaster 3, and Dennehy’s reaction to the pervasive political unrest of the early 2000s. The All-Stars will next perform Streetwalker at Dublin’s New Music Festival on March 6 and 7, 2015.

Of for Madeline (2009) Michael Gordon says, “I spent most of 2009 going in and out of synagogues to say Kaddish, the Jewish prayer of mourning, for Madeline. Of course she wouldn’t have approved. She was a communist. Madeline lived in a different world, a world of transplanted Yiddish secular culture. I realized all of this only much later. There’s plenty of time to think about these things in synagogue because there are numerous prayers and who can concentrate on so many of them? Madeline loved music and she would take me to concerts when I was little. I would fall asleep but that didn’t deter her. She wanted me to love music as much as she did but she certainly did not want me to be a composer. Madeline, are you listening? I dedicate this piece to your memory.” For Madeline by Michael Gordon was commissioned by Bang on a Can with support from Lincoln Center.

Annie Gosfield’s Overvoltage Rumble was written for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, commissioned in 2003 through the People’s Commissioning Fund. Gosfield says, “The group’s unique instrumentation (which includes amplified acoustic instruments and electric guitar) inspired me to explore a dynamic, shifting balance between the All-Stars’ acoustic and electric sounds.” The piece includes samples of recordings Gosfield had made of a vintage Serge analog synthesizer and an Arp 2600. She says, “I sampled the recordings, which were a pack rat’s stash of swooping, buzzing, and rattling analog synthesizer sounds, and arranged them across the keyboard of my sampler. This gave me immediate access to a huge variety of sounds, in a set-up that would have been impossible on the original instruments. The technical savvy of the All-Stars allowed me to combine electronic sounds with acoustic sounds, and their great musicianship inspired me to push it a little further, incorporating polyrhythms, multiphonics, and many of the extended techniques that the musicians have mastered.”

The Bang on a Can All-Stars premiered Turkish composer Erdem Helvacioglu’s Tales of Resistance and Oppression in November 2013, in Istanbul. Erdem Helvacioglu has recently relocated to New York, and the All-Stars will be giving the New York premiere of selections from this epic, hour-long, 12-part work. Helvacioglu says, “For this work, I envisioned all six individual members of Bang on a Can-All Stars as a member of a community under oppression and them resisting to it. All twelve movements of the work include the six members’ oppression and resistance stories, one being dark and slowly moving like a dark cloud in the sky, the other being frenetic and less controlled.”

Created in 1997, PCF is a radical partnership between artists and audiences to commission works from adventurous composers and is one of the first pre-social media, crowd-sourcing art-creating platforms. The fund began when Bang on a Can co-founders Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe recognized a need to go beyond the usual sources of support to create new, groundbreaking music. Each year, Bang on a Can pools together the contributions of hundreds of individuals to fund the commissions. Donations range from $5 to $5,000. To date, over 50 new pieces have been created through PCF, and over $300,000 has been raised.

Past PCF commissions have gone to Nik Bärtsch, Eve Beglarian, Oscar Bettison, Nick Brooke, Jeffrey Brooks, Anna Clyne, Dan Deacon, Bryce Dessner, Sussan Deyhim, James Fei, Yoav Gal, Annie Gosfield, Erdem Helvacioglu, John Hollenbeck, Cynthia Hopkins, Jóhann Jóhannsson, Karsh Kale, Carla Kihlstedt, John King, Lukas Ligeti, Annea Lockwood, David Longstreth, Alvin Lucier, Keeril Makan, Ingram Marshall, Miya Masaoka, Paula Matthusen, Marc Mellits, Kate Moore, Thurston Moore, Virgil Moorefield, Richard Reed Parry, Joshua Penman, Tristan Perich, Dan Plonsey, Ed Ruchalski, Matthew Shipp, Christine Southworth, Lok Yin Tang, Jim Thirwell, Ken Thomson, Toby Twining, Stefan Weisman, Daniel Wohl, and Pamela Z.


ASHLEY BATHGATE, Cello; ROBERT BLACK, Bass; VICKY CHOW, piano; DAVID COSSIN, percussion; MARK STEWART, electric guitar; KEN THOMSON, clarinets/saxophone; JODY ELFF, sound engineer

Formed in 1992, the Bang on a Can All-Stars are recognized worldwide for their ultra-dynamic live performances and recordings of today’s most innovative music. Freely crossing the boundaries between classical, jazz, rock, world and experimental music, this six-member amplified ensemble has consistently forged a distinct category-defying identity, taking music into uncharted territories. Performing each year throughout the U.S. and internationally, the All-Stars have shattered the definition of what concert music is today.

Together, the All-Stars have worked in unprecedented close collaboration with some of the most important and inspiring musicians of our time, including Steve Reich, Ornette Coleman, Burmese circle drum master Kyaw Kyaw Naing, Tan Dun, DJ Spooky, and many more. The group’s celebrated projects include their landmark recordings of Brian Eno’s ambient classic Music for Airports and Terry Riley’s In C, as well as live performances with Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Don Byron, Iva Bittova, Thurston Moore, Owen Pallett and others. The All-Stars were awarded Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year in 2005 and have been heralded as “the country’s most important vehicle for contemporary music” by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Recent project highlights include Field Recordings, a major new multi media project featuring up to 18 commissioned works by Tyondai Braxton, Mira Calix, Anna Clyne, Dan Deacon, Bryce Dessner, Florent Ghys, Michael Gordon, Jóhann Jóhannsson, David Lang, Alvin Lucier, Christian Marclay, Paula Matthusen, Richard Reed Parry, Steve Reich, Todd Reynolds, Daniel Wohl, Julia Wolfe, and Nick Zammuto; the world premiere, performances, and recording of Steve Reich’s 2×5 including a sold-out performance at Carnegie Hall; the group’s multiple visits to China for the Beijing Music Festival and Hong Kong Arts Festival; the 2014 record release of Julia Wolfe’s Steel Hammer, featuring Trio Mediaeval and the premiere performances of Wolfe’s Anthracite Fields for the All-Stars and guest choir on the NY Phil Biennial; commissioned works by Louis Andriessen, Bill Frisell, Ryuichi Sakamoto and more. With a massive repertoire of works written specifically for the group’s distinctive instrumentation and style of performance, the All-Stars have become a genre in their own right. The All-Stars record on Cantaloupe Music and have released past recordings on Sony, Universal and Nonesuch.

Bang on a Can is dedicated to making music new. Since its first Marathon concert in 1987, Bang on a Can has been creating an international community dedicated to innovative music, wherever it is found. With adventurous programs, it commissions new composers, performs, presents, and records new work, develops new audiences, and educates the musicians of the future. Bang on a Can is building a world in which powerful new musical ideas flow freely across all genres and borders. Bang on a Can plays “a central role in fostering a new kind of audience that doesn’t concern itself with boundaries. If music is made with originality and integrity, these listeners will come” (The New York Times).

Over 27 years, Bang on a Can has grown from a one-day New York-based Marathon concert (on Mother’s Day in 1987 in a SoHo art gallery) to a multi-faceted performing arts organization with a broad range of year-round international activities. “When we started Bang on a Can in 1987, in an art gallery in SoHo, we never imagined that our one-day, 12-hour marathon festival of mostly unknown music would morph into a giant international organization dedicated to the support of experimental music, wherever we would find it,” write Bang on a Can Co-Founders Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe. “But it has, and we are so gratified to be still hard at work, all these years later. The reason is really clear to us – we started this organization because we believed that making new music is a utopian act—that people needed to hear this music and they needed to hear it presented in the most persuasive way, with the best players, with the best programs, for the best listeners, in the best context. Our commitment to changing the environment for this music has kept us busy and growing for the last 27 years, and we are not done yet.”

Current projects include the annual Bang on a Can Marathon; The People’s Commissioning Fund, a membership program to commission emerging composers; the Bang on a Can All-Stars, who tour to major festivals and concert venues around the world every year; recording projects; the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival – a professional development program for young composers and performers led by today’s pioneers of experimental music; Asphalt Orchestra, Bang on a Can’s extreme street band that offers mobile performances re-contextualizing unusual music; Found Sound Nation, a new technology-based musical outreach program now partnering with the State Department of the United States of America to create OneBeat, a revolutionary, post-political residency program that uses music to bridge the gulf between young American musicians and young musicians from developing countries; cross-disciplinary collaborations and projects with DJs, visual artists, choreographers, filmmakers and more.  Each new program has evolved to answer specific challenges faced by today’s musicians, composers and audiences, in order to make innovative music widely accessible and wildly received. Bang on a Can’s inventive and aggressive approach to programming and presentation has created a large and vibrant international audience made up of people of all ages who are rediscovering the value of contemporary music.

Kaufman Music Center is New York’s go-to place for music education and performance. It is where music lovers, from curious fans to renowned performers, come together to explore their musical passions. Founded in 1952 as a community school for pre-conservatory music training, today’s Kaufman Music Center is home to Merkin Concert Hall; Lucy Moses School, New York’s largest community arts school; and Special Music School, a K-12 public school for musically gifted children.

Bang on a Can – Upcoming Concerts (subject to change, updates at

Thursday, January 29, 2015 at 7:30pm
Maya Beiser | Beauty is Power
The Jewish Museum | New York, NY

Sunday, February 15, 2015 at 2pm
Bang on a Can Marathon w/ the Bang on a Can All-Stars & Jherek Bischoff
Co-presented by Seattle Theatre Group and On the Boards
The Moore Theater | Seattle, WA

Monday, February 23, 2015 – Sunday, March 22, 2015
The Dosti Music Project
Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach, FL | New Orleans, LA | SXSW in Austin, TX

Thursday, February 26, 2015 at 7:30pm
People’s Commissioning Fund Concert | Bang on a Can All-Stars
Part of the Ecstatic Music Festival
Kaufman Music Center’s Merkin Concert Hall | New York, NY

Saturday, February 28, 2015 at 8pm
Bang on a Can All-Stars | Residency & Concert
Oberlin College | Oberlin, OH

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 8pm
Smith Quartet Plays Bang on a Can, curated by BOAC | Music by Michael Gordon, Meredith Monk, Julia Wolfe,
David Lang, Steve Reich
King’s Place | London, UK

Friday, March 6 & Saturday, March 7, 2015
Bang on a Can at New Music Dublin, curated by David Lang
Highlights include:
David Lang: Man Made (So Percussion & RTE Symphony Orchestra)
Julia Wolfe: Steel Hammer (Bang on a Can All-Stars with Trio Mediaeval)
Brian Eno: Music for Airports (BoaC All-Stars with Crash Ensemble)
Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians (BoaC All-Stars with So Percussion, Crash Ensemble)
New Music Dublin | Contemporary Music Centre | Dublin, Ireland

Sunday, March 8, 2015 at 7:45pm
Bang on a Can All-Stars presented by Anvil Arts | Music by David Lang, Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, Steve Reich
Anvil Arts | Basingstoke, UK

Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 3pm
Bang on a Can All-Stars with Meredith Monk in Meredith Monk & Friends | Music by Meredith Monk
Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall | New York, NY

Thursday, May 14, 2015 at 7:30pm
Revolution of the Eye | Bang on a Can All-Stars in music by Don Byron, Christian Marclay
The Jewish Museum | New York, NY

Friday, June 5 – Sunday, June 7, 2015
Bang on a Can All-Stars
Miami Light Project | Miami, FL

June 2015
Bang on a Can Marathon
Brookfield Place Winter Garden | New York, NY

July 15 – August 1, 2015
Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival @ MASS MoCA
Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art | North Adams, MA

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