Monthly Archives: October 2012

Evan Ziporyn leaving Bang On A Can All-Stars

Composer and super versatile clarinet player Evan Ziporyn, is leaving the Bang On A Can All-Stars after two decades, the New Music organization announced today.

He’s a founding member and has long been the anchor and frequently the most public face of the sextet. We’re pleased about his personal success, which takes more and more of his time. But we’ll sorely miss his solid, quiet influence in the group.

Here’s the letter from Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe and David Lang, the founders of Bang On A Can:

October 31

Dear Friends,

We wanted to let you know that Evan is leaving the Bang on a Can All-Stars. Evan has been such a big part of everything we have done for the last 25 years. He played on the first festival, and every festival afterwards. He was a founding member of the All-Stars – featured as a composer, performer, scholar, and often as the commentator between pieces, and his compositions have been a highlight of 100’s of the concerts we have done, all around the world. The formal note announcing his moving on is copied below, so you can see how active he is – he is writing music for all sorts of great performers, he is starting a new world-class center for art and technology at MIT, where he teaches. The guy is busy! But we didn’t want Evan to go without pointing out how much we all accomplished together, how close our connection has been, and especially that we wish him all the best.

Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe

After 20 years, capped by the recent achievements of Bang on a Can’s 25th year, long-time founding composer/clarinetist Evan Ziporyn is leaving the Bang on a Can All-stars to pursue independent projects and devote himself to his new position as Director of MIT’s Center of Arts, Science & Technology. As a composer, Ziporyn continues to receive commissions from leading new musicians and ensembles: current projects include new works for Yo-Yo Ma, Brooklyn Rider, Maya Beiser, Sentieri Selvaggi, and his own ensemble, Gamelan Galak Tika. As a performer, he will this spring premiere a new clarinet concerto by Don Byron; in February he will unveil his own new performing trio, Eviyan, with Czech violinist/singer Iva Bittova and guitarist Gyan Riley.

Ziporyn’s sound and sensibility have been a major part of Bang on a Can from the beginning. He appeared as a clarinet soloist on the first Bang on a Can Marathon in 1987 and appeared on every subsequent marathon. He was a founding member of the All-stars in 1992; with the group he toured over three dozen countries, and premiered over 100 new works. He also co-produced three of their seminal recordings, 1998’s Music for Airports, 2001’s Renegade Heaven, and 2012’s Big Beautiful Dark & Scary. His solo recordings appeared on the group’s Cantaloupe label. In 2009/10 Bang on a Can produced his opera, A House in Bali, in performances in Bali, Berkeley, Boston, and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival; this year his own ensemble, Gamelan Galak Tika, was featured at the organization’s 25th anniversary gala performance at Alice Tully Hall.

Aimee Mann’s Sandy do-over scheduled for Wednesday

Aimee Mann wouldn’t let a little thing like a big storm ruin her visit to NYC. Her Bowery Ballroom show, planned for Monday, has been moved to 7:30 (doors) tonight at the Music Hall is Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Tickets may still be available.

It seems to us that her quirky outlook may be the perfect Sandy tonic tonight.

Vital Vox to be rescheduled

Vital Vox, scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 29 and 30 at Roulette in Brooklyn, may have been scuttled by Sandy. But organizers promise it will be rescheduled. Stay tuned for updates.

Vital Vox: A festival of the human voice, supercharged

(Courtesy Vital Vox Festival/

If you like the sound of the human voice, but like it even better with a little extra oomph, the Fourth Annual Vital Vox Festival is for you.

The two-evening event, as always, features some of today’s most amazing vocal artists. But this year’s twist is called “Vox Electronics” and focuses on amazing artists who take their sound to a new level with electronic manipulation of all kinds.

It’s scheduled for Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 29 and 3o, at Roulette in Brooklyn.

Monday night’s program features Philip Hamilton, Vital Vox co-artistic director Sabrina Lastman, and Sarah Bernstein with Satoshi Takeishi.

Pamela Z performs at the 2008 Bang on a Can Marathon in the Winter Garden at the World Financial Center in Manhattan. (Photo © 2008, Steven P. Marsh)

Tuesday brings in Lisa Karrer and David Simons, Vital Vox co-artistic director Sasha Bogdanowitsch and Pamela Z.

For our part, Pamela Z was our entree into the world of manipulated voice, and remains among our top two or three favorites in this arena. The things she can do to her voice with a Mac laptop and an occasional piece of percussion is pretty awesome. And when she pulls out her full arsenal — especially her Body Synth gesture controller — look out!

Other performances to look forward to are Karrer’s “Collision Theory” with video and Bernstein’s “Unearthish” on Monday and Bogdanowitsch’s new song-and-electronics cycle, “Mirror Upon Mirror” on Tuesday.

Every artist on this bill has serious vocal chops. One of them could make your top three. Why not give them a listen?

Fourth Annual Vital Vox Festival, 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29 and Tuesday, Oct. 30. Roulette, 509 Atlantic Avenue (at Third Avenue), Boerum Hill, Brooklyn. Information at the Vital Vox website  or follow Vital Vox on Twitter. Tickets, $15/$10 for students, seniors and members available at the Roulette website.

After the storm comes the calm: Thomas Ades’ The Tempest at The Met

It’s wonderful to see a truly grand opera – with more than 50 people onstage at once – that feels intimate at the same time.

That’s exactly what Thomas Ades has done with his opera The Tempest, seen in its U.S. premiere tonight at The Metropolitan Opera.

Robert Lepage’s production was masterful and fully equal to the score. It used an intriguing conceit of an opera within an opera. I’m not sure what it was supposed to mean, but it proved visually interesting.

The approach set Act I upstage, looking out on what appeared to be a classic European opera house.

Act II turns the idea around, playing out beneath the proscenium with the audience viewing the action from the house.

Act III was first played out backstage and then transported to a section view from stage right.

The staging hit all the expected marks. But Lepage’s threw Ina few curve balls, including a bit of business in Act III that appeared to be an homage to Broadway’s “Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark.”

Without spoiling the surprise, think a cross between Arachne and Green Goblin from the troubled musical’s original iteration.

Ades knows how to do opera by the rules and still create something fresh. This isn’t avant garde opera, but simply great opera in a modern idiom. Ades is one of our greatest living opera composers

The performance was conducted by the composer, and The Met Orchestra rose ably to the challenge under his baton.

The singing was uniformly great, with exceptional turns by Simon Keenlyside as Prospero, Isabelle Leonard as his daughter Miranda and Audrey Luna as the ephemeral Ariel.

Thano goodness for the Met Titles, though, as many of Ariel’s lines were nearly in the “only dogs can hear” range. I had to wonder if her repeated expression of “bow-wow” was a direct comment on that. Her character was a little tough to connect with at first. But she grew on me after awhile.

The premiere lived up to my expectation that it would be a Met must-see. A half-dozen or so performances remain. Don’t miss out. Get tickets now at The Met’s website.

Sharon Van Etten to release Tramp deluxe edition

Sharon Van Etten’s Tramp

Click to hear a bonus track now

Sharon Van Etten has announced the release of a deluxe edition of her latest album, Tramp, on Nov. 13.

We find the repackaging of current albums with new tracks to be more than a little annoying — they often seem like desperate marketing ploys by a badly hurting record industry. But when it comes to Sharon, we’ll make an exception. She’s an amazing artist — and we’re completists when it comes to her work.

She’s making “Tell Me (Demo),” one of the bonus tracks on the forthcoming package, available to stream now. It’ll whet your appetite for what sounds like an exceptional repackaging from Jagjaguwar Records. They’re promising to include a self-portrait and liner notes about each song taken from Sharon’s journals. And for those of you, like me, who have little room for CDs, the digital version will feature a new digital booklet including the same, new liner notes and artwork.

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A bright, musical — and FREE — way to end a dull, gray Tuesday

Miller Theatre’s Pop-Up Concerts are back

Ugh. It’s pretty grim to realize it’s only Tuesday. And what a nasty Tuesday it has turned out to be.

But there’s something happening tonight that’ll put a drink in your hand, a smile on your face and send you back out into the world with a head full of music: Pop-Up Concerts at Columbia University’s Miller Theatre.

And it won’t cost you a dime.

Here’s the deal: One Tuesday a month, this very cool program takes over the theater for a quick, casual get-together that ends in a very cool concert. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Grab a free drink (thanks to Harlem Brewing Co.) when you get there, and hang out with fellow music lovers until the show starts at 6.

Tonight’s program is Minimalism’s Evolution. Sure, it sounds a little heady, maybe even academic. This is happening on an Ivy League campus, after all. But this series isn’t like any college course you might remember. Pop-Up Concerts let you get up close and personal with the artists in an informal performance that lasts just an hour.

Be sure to save the dates of the next two installments of Pop-Up Concerts: Nov. 13 of 120 Years of Solo Piano and Dec. 11 for John Zorn for Strings.

Tonight you’ll get three members of the awesome Ensemble Signal: Courtney Orlando on violin, Lauren Radnofsky on cello and Paul Coleman on sound.

Read on for the full program and all the details you need to get there. Continue reading