Tag Archives: Asphalt Orchestra

Asphalt Orchestra plays the Pixies: Surfer Rosa — FREE this Sunday

Asphalt Orchestra performing on the Lincoln Center Plaza. (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Asphalt Orchestra performing on the Lincoln Center Plaza. (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Avant-garde marching band will open for a Kronos Quartet ‘Kronos at 4o’ show

Asphalt Orchestra hits Lincoln Center Out of Doors this Sunday, July 28 with a brand-new project: a cover of the fan-favorite Pixies album Surfer Rosa.

The avant-garde marching band, a cocreation of LCOOD and Bang on a Can, is well known for its inventive reinvention of pop songs mixed with compositions written specifically for the costumed clan.

Asphalt Orchestra co-leader Ken Thomson describes the evening this way:

We are covering the classic Pixies record Surfer Rosa.
45 minutes of new music, Asphalt-style, choreographed and on stage.
All arranged by us in super-cool arrangements that use the original as a canvas for truly new versions of these tunes.

The free show starts at 6 p.m. with a set of Asphalt classics (Bjork, Zappa, Bregovic) on the plaza.

At 6:30, the music moves to the Damrosch Park Bandshell where Jacob Garchik’s “atheist gospel trombone project” The Heavens will be performed.

Asphalt plays next and then the evening’s headliner, Kronos Quartet, takes over.
Every second of music is free, with no ticket required and nobody hassling you for a  “donation” at the gate. Lincoln Center Out of Doors is one of those rare New York City institutions that truly is free — even free of guilt.

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Make time for Lincoln Center Out Of Doors | ALL SHOWS FREE

Singer-songwriter Erin McKeown performs at the 2012 Lincoln Center Out Of Doors festival. (Photo © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

Singer-songwriter Erin McKeown was one of many performers at the 2012 Lincoln Center Out Of Doors festival. (Photo © 2012, Steven P. Marsh)

Stellar summer lineup of free concerts

The flyer for Lincoln Center Out Of Doors arrived in my mailbox the other day. It reminded me that I hadn’t posted a single word about this free outdoor concert series yet.

So here goes. It’s a super linuep, as always, meticulously planned by Bill Bragin, director of public programming, and his amazing team.

For now, just let me mention a few names: Kronos Quartet, Asphalt Orchestra, Allen Toussaint, Sahr Ngaujah, Dan Deacon, Jherek Bischoff, Jacob Garchik, Dan Zanes and Ozomatli. (Along with Nick Lowe, My Brightest Diamond, Trixie Whitley, James Burton and Desert Blues. And Rubén Blades, Jason Isbell, Sleepy LaBeef and Amanda Palmer & Grand Theft Orchestra.)

Does that whet your appetite? If not, you’re probably reading the wrong blog.

The free outdoor shows start July 24 and run through Aug. 11 at various locations around the Lincoln Center campus on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Check out the whole lineup by clicking or tapping here (http://bit.ly/15MOo6P).

I hope to see you there.

Bang on a Can Marathon: 9 hours of New Music in a new home this Sunday

A crowd of listeners at the 2011 Bang on a Can Marathon at the Winter Garden. (Photos © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

A crowd of listeners at the 2011 Bang on a Can Marathon at the Winter Garden. (Photos © 2011, Steven P. Marsh)

This Sunday is a special day.

Yes, it’s Father’s Day, but that’s not it.

Sunday is also the day that Bang on a Can is throwing its big, genre-bending musical party for New York City — the Bang on a Can Marathon.

Mark your calendar and don’t miss it. But don’t head to the Winter Garden at the World Financial Center, where the free marathon New Music concert has been held for the last few years.

From 1-10 pm on Sunday (be sure to take Dad to brunch early and then bring him along to the show afterward), Bang on a Can will fill Pace University’s Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts at 3 Spruce Street with nine hours of music — some of it familiar, some you’ve probably never heard before.

It’s the kickoff event of the River to River Festival, one of the city’s great free performing-arts series.

Bang on a Can had to move the marathon this year because the Winter Garden is under construction. The Schimmel Center is a smaller venue, a concert hall with fixed seating rather than a mall atrium with open, casual seating. So that means changes in the format.

Asphalt Orchestra performing at the 2011 Bang on a Can Marathon.

Asphalt Orchestra performing at the 2011 Bang on a Can Marathon.

For starters, you’ll need to get a free seating pass before you go in to sample the sounds. That’s just so the organizers can make sure the audience never exceeds the capacity of the 743-seat hall. They’ll be handing out the passing starting at noon — an hour before the first onstage event — on a first-come, first-served basis, so get there early to snag a good seat.

In addition to listening to the music, be sure to jump in on Twitter, too, by following on @bangonacan.

While most of the action is in the hall, if you get there early, you’ll encounter Bang on a Can’s Found Sound Nation. From noon until 5 pm, it’ll be operating its Street Studio, where anyone who wants to give it a try can create and record original music. Look for it at Park Row and Spruce Street.

Check out the full schedule after the jump.

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Ken Thomson joins Bang on a Can All-Stars

When Evan Ziporyn recently left the Bang on a Can All-Stars, it seemed to us that there was inly one player who immediately came to mind as a replacement: Ken Thomson.

We met him when he was working for Bang on a Can’s Cantaloupe record label. But we quickly discovered what a fantastic, versatile wind player and composer he is.

You might know him as the peripatetic sax-playing leader of Gutbucket, or a leader of the Bang-Lincoln Center Out of Doors marching band, Asphalt Orchestra.

No matter how you know him, you know he’s up to the challenge of filling Evan’s shoes and taking the All-Stars to the next level.

Congratulations to Ken. Well done.

Here’s the press release:

Bang on a Can All-Stars Welcome Ken Thomson

We are thrilled to welcome high voltage clarinetist Ken Thomson to the Bang on a Can All-Stars! This past year, during our national search, we played with stunning clarinetists from all over the country. We were honored to share the stage with so many great performers. After a search far and wide, in the end we came back home to one of our own. Ken has been a part of the Bang on a Can family for many years. As a founding member of Asphalt Orchestra (our rad street band) and as faculty at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival at MASS MoCA, Ken has graced us with his dynamic and physical performances.

He has already jumped right in with a European tour taking place right now through Belgium, Sweden, the UK, and Iceland, to be followed by his first home-town performance as an official All-Stars at the Bang on a Can Marathon on Sunday June 16.

Welcome Ken!

Get ready for the Bang on a Can Marathon

Asphalt Orchestra at Lincoln Center Out of Doors on Aug. 4, 2010. © 2010, Steven P. Marsh

Asphalt Orchestra will open the 2011 edition of the Bang on a Can Marathon by performing "Carlton" by Stes and Heidi Rodewald and "Opus 81" by Yoko Ono. (Photo © 2010, Steven P. Marsh)

Memorial Day may be the unofficial start of summer, but it doesn’t really get started for us at Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? until the annual Bang on a Can Marathon arrives.

This year’s edition is Sunday, June 19. It’s scheduled to run from 11 a.m. to midnight, meaning we’re in for a real treat of 13 continuous hours of music — all for FREE at the World Financial Center Winter Garden in Manhattan’s Battery Park City.

Todd Reynolds at Littlefield's, Feb. 13, 2011. © 2011 Steven P. Marsh

Todd Reynolds

Scheduling problems (also known as my day job) last year made it hard to take in much of the daylong (mostly indoors) event.

We managed to listen only for a couple of hours. We’re not going to let that happen this year. We’ve made sure to save the time and date this year. You should, too.

This year’s edition features many of our favorites, including Bang on a Can’s house band, the All-Stars, electro-acoustic violinist extraodinaire Todd Reynolds (performing a World Premiere of his work Transamerica), avant garde marching band Asphalt Orchestra, the fabulous New Music ensemble Signal, singer-composer-director Toby Twining, cellist Maya Beiser and the truly wonderful Young People’s Chorus of New York City.

Toby Twining

Toby Twining (Ben Sozanski photo)

Aside from our recurring favorites, this year’s marathon also features a performance by the Sun Ra Arkestra in the 8-10 p.m. slot, and the Glenn Branca Ensemble as the day’s closer.

Aside from works by Bang on Can founders Julia Wolfe, Michael Gordon and David Lang, the day features music by luminaries such as Philip Glass. Iannis Xenakis and Michael Nyman. However, the music of Steve Reich, a godfather of Bang on a Can, is absent from the program.

Click through for the full schedule or download a copy here.

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Asphalt comes indoors

Asphalt Orchestra debuted at last summer's Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival. (Photos copyright 2009, Steven P. Marsh)

Asphalt Orchestra, my very favorite avant-garde marching band — okay, I admit, it’s the only avant-garde marching band I know — high-steps it indoors tonight at Lincoln Center for a free show.

“We’re playing everything we’ve ever played — plus two new arrangements,” promises Asphalt saxophonist Ken Thomson.That means music by Frank Zappa, Meshuggah, Bjork, Tom Ze, Thomas Mapfumo, Stew and Heidi Rodewald, Goran Bregovic, Tyondai Braxton (of Battles), Charles Mingus and Conlon Nancarrow. Whew!

This is the only show the band — created by Bang on a Can for last summer’s the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festiva — will be doing in NYC until the summer. And, while Asphalt is probably best seen and heard outdoors, marching up and down bleachers and wandering around the Lincoln Center campus, it’s a big plus that tonight’s show is indoors!

The show is scheduled to begin at 8:30 tonight in David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, on Broadway between West 62nd and West 63rd streets, just east of the Plaza in the former Harmony Atrium space. It’s a perfect gateway to the arts center, with visitor information on all Lincoln Center tenants, a ticket office offering day-of-performance discounts, a performance space, a restaurant, free WiFi and restrooms.

Arrive early to get a good seat, as it’s first-come, first-served. For my part, I’m thinking about standing, just to remind me of my first experiences with Asphalt.

Asphalt Orchestra playing the world premiere performance of Stew and Heidi Rodewald's "Carlton."

Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone?

More than a few people have wondered where the name of this blog comes from.

Am I depressed, or just dark?

None of the above. I just love music.

If you’ve read the About page, you already know that the name of this blog is lifted directly from a Carter Family song.

Because Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? is getting a lot of hits because of my coverage of Asphalt Orchestra and Lincoln Center Out of Doors, I figured now was a good time to give you a taste of the timeless tune. So much of American popular music stems from the Carter Family that it seemed appropriate to use one of their songs as a sort of theme for this blog about music, theater, art — all forms of the arts — and life in general.

So here’s an Emmylou Harris version of the Carter Family classic. Enjoy: