As Will You Miss Me When I’m Gone? has been telling you, Asphalt Orchestra is makes its world premiere performance tomorrow night, the opening night of the Lincoln Center Out of Doors free music festival.
The off-kilter marching band has lots of interesting music on the program, but I’m particularly excited about the world premiere of a piece composed for the group by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, bandmates in The Negro Problem and the creative team behind the musical Passing Strange.
The New York Times did a piece on Stew and Heidi the other day that touched on their work for Asphalt Orchestra:
“These are not musicians who follow the rules,” said Bill Bragin, director of public programming at Lincoln Center, explaining their approach to music and hence their appeal.
The work that they created for the opening of the festival, “Carlton,” is an instrumental piece that Ms. Rodewald described recently in a phone interview from her home in Brooklyn as “pretty marching band-ish.” The work is part of the debut performance by the Asphalt Orchestra, an avant-garde marching band that is an outgrowth of the Bang on a Can music collective. The show, which will be performed on Wednesday and on Aug. 9, will be something of a spectacle, with contemporary dance choreography by Susan Marshall and costumes designed by Elizabeth Hope Clancy.
The iconoclastic Bang on a Can ensemble will perform other new works by Tyondai Braxton (of Battles) and Balkan legend Goran Bregovic, plus explosive arrangements of songs by Bjork, Meshuggah, Charles Mingus, Conlon Nancarrow, and Frank Zappa. The group comprises some amazing players around, featuring Jessica Schmitz (piccolo), Ken Thomson, Peter Hess, Alex Hamlin (saxophones), Steph Richards, Shane Endsley (trumpets), Alan Ferber, Jen Baker (trombones), Ken Bentley (sousaphone), Yuri Yamashita, Sunny Jain, Nick Jenkins (percussion).
Click here for my previous post about Asphalt Orchestra, which includes a rehearsal video.
Of course the Asphalt Orchestra presentation is just one of dozens of amazing performances that will be taking place in the outdoor spaces of Lincoln Center through Aug. 23. Everything is free and no tickets are required. Click here for the full schedule.