Category Archives: Contemporary

Bang on a Can Marathon moving to Brooklyn with promise of ‘politics, resistance and love’

Asphalt Orchestra performing at the 2015 Bang on a Can Marathon at the Winter Garden in Manhattan on June 21. (© 2015 Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Asphalt Orchestra performing at the 2015 Bang on a Can Marathon at the Winter Garden in Manhattan on June 21. (© 2015 Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Bang on a Can, the premiere purveyor of New Music in New York City, is rebooting its  iconic Marathon concert with a move to Brooklyn in May, after a year off. Organizers promise it will be an “8-hour marathon concert of politics, resistance, and love.”

The Marathon lost its downtown Manhattan home of a decade at the Winter Garden of the World Financial Center (now renamed Brookfield Place). The organizers skipped a 2016 edition, but promised a new location for the its 30th anniversary this year.

They delivered on that promise Thursday, announcing that the genre-busting musical celebration lands at the Brooklyn Museum on May 6, from 2-10 p.m.

The Marathon was somewhat itinerant prior to its 10-year run at the Winter Garden, spending time at mostly Manhattan venues, ranging from the Soho art gallery where it started in 1987, to the Abrons Arts Center in the Lower East Side, to Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall.

Despite its Manhattan roots, this won’t be the first time the Marathon was held in Brooklyn. In 2000 and 2001, it was staged at BAM, just a block or two away from Bang on a Can’s longtime headquarters on Hanson Place in Fort Greene. Continue reading

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Music for the End of the World (VIDEO)

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However we feel about what happened Tuesday, we all could use some decompression right about now.

What’s better than music for soothing the savage breast, after all?

There’s a perfect opportunity in Nyack, New York, at 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov.13, when TRANSIT, a New Music collective, presents a program that includes a rare — for this 21st Century-oriented group — performance of Olivier Messiaen’s “Quartet for the End of Time” at GraceMusic.

TRANSIT describes itself this way:

A New Music collective based in NYC, TRANSIT takes a comprehensive twenty-first century approach to new and experimental music by performing, commissioning, and recording the music of emerging composers, while also fostering strengthened relationships between living composers and the general public through TRANSIT-produced concert series and special initiatives.
TRANSIT’s members include a resident composer (Daniel Wohl) and five performers who are amongst the most vibrant young players in the NYC New Music scene. Its core ensemble consists of a mixed chamber
instrumentation: violin (Andie Springer), cello (Evelyn Farny), clarinet (Sara Budde), piano (David Friend), and percussion (Joe Bergen), and
often incorporates electronics, non-traditional instruments, and multimedia components.
TICKET INFO AND DETAILS AFTER THE JUMP

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Rockland County’s Martha Mooke performs music from ‘No Ordinary Window’ on Sunday

martha-mookeNyack composer and electro-acoustic violist Martha Mooke brings her spectacular sounds to ArtsRock‘s Music at Union Arts Center series this Sunday afternoon.

She’s a spectacular violist, and her compositions on her latest album, “No Ordinary Window,” are beautiful, boundary-busting windows into her own sonic imagination.

“I slip through the cracks of defined boundaries,” she told me in a recent interview.  “I keep re-creating my way…. I try to take on challenges.”

Read my recent interview with Mooke for The Journal News/lohud.com by going here, and then grab some tickets for Sunday afternoon’s show.

IF YOU GO

When:  2 p.m., Sunday, April 3.

Where: Union Arts Center, 2 Union St, Sparkill, New York

Tickets: $20 in advance/$25 at door/$10 students, available online by going here.

 

‘You Us We All,’ well … I am very disappointed

I wanted to love “You Us We All,” the celebrity-citing, pop culture-driven modern opera in Baroque form — in its music, theatrical arc, staging, and costuming — that had its first performance Wednesday night at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Harvey Theater. (You can judge for yourself. Performances continue through Saturday. Buy tickets here.)

After all, I think Shara Worden, a classically trained singer who performs in the pop world as My Brightest Diamond and works the New Music circuit under her given name, wrote the music and is one of the singers.

I didn’t know anything much about Andrew Ondrejcak, who wrote the text, directed, and designed the production or about B.O.X. (Baroque Orchestration X), which commissioned the piece and provides the first-rate instrumental ensemble, but had high hopes.

I’ve frequently enjoyed Worden’s work in pop and New Music. And I’ve been itching for a new work to come along that as exciting and challenging as, say, Thomas Adès’ “Powder Her Face.” But this piece isn’t up to that task.

In fact, “You Us We All” ultimately left me wondering whether I had wasted my evening.
It isn’t without merit. The music is lovely, some of the singing is delicious, the chamber orchestra is splendid, and the text is wickedly funny at times. But all those positives created more of a pastiche than a written-through show.

I chalked up my discontent at first to being tired. I found the piece very difficult to follow, and the poorly projected supertitles almost impossible to read from my upper orchestra seat. (You might think supertitles wouldn’t be crucial for an English-language production, but you’d be wrong.)

But then I saw members of the opening night audience slipping out early. It’s not unheard of at BAM, but audiences there are generally more tolerant and attuned to avant garde work than audiences at, say, the Metropolitan Opera.

I realized I wasn’t just being cranky about this when I read  Zachary Woolfe’s review in The New York Times review, which declares the piece “earnest and eventually tiresome.”

Bang on a Can cello star performs at at GARNER Arts Center Friday

(Ashley Bathgate/Facebook)

If you have an itch to hear one of the best New Music cellists around but hate the thought of traveling to Manhattan or Brooklyn to do it, Nov. 13 is your lucky day — even though it’s a Friday the 13th!

Ashley Bathgate, a member of the groundbreaking Bang on a Can All-Stars, brings her talents to the county’s own repurposed historic factory complex, the GARNER Arts Center at the Garnerville Arts &  Industrial Center. for a one-night-only performance.

Ashley Bathgate performs at GARNER Arts Center on Friday, Nov. 13.

Ashley Bathgate performs at GARNER Arts Center on Friday, Nov. 13.

If I weren’t committed to working late that evening, I’d be the first in line to get a good seat for what is sure to be an exciting performance by one of my favorite string players.

This won’t be her first time playing in an industrial space like GARNER. Bang on a Can members are quite used to such a setting. They run a summer music camp every year at MASS MoCA, the modern art museum that occupies an old factory complex in North Adams, Massachusetts. GARNER has a similar vibe.

Ashley will play amid  light and sound installations, including projections by downtown Manhattan art icon M. Henry Jones during the performance.

Check out these videos of Ashley in action. (Scroll past videos for venue and ticket information.)

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Ashley Bathgate, cellist

WHEN: 6:30 p.m., Friday, Nov. 13, 2015. Opening at 6:30, performance at 7:30. Click here for more information.

WHERE: GARNER Arts Center, 55 W. Railroad Ave., Garnerville.

TICKETS: $15. $13 for seniors, students, military. Buy online by clicking here.

Check out the Bang on a Can Marathon: Hear amazing music for free

Bang on a Can founder Michael Gordon introduces a performance of his composition "Exalted," featuring the Young People’s Chorus of New York City and JACK Quartet, at the 2011 Bang on a Can Marathon. (Photo  © 2011, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Bang on a Can founder Michael Gordon introduces a performance of his composition “Exalted,” featuring the Young People’s Chorus of New York City and JACK Quartet, at the 2011 Bang on a Can Marathon. (Photo © 2011, Steven P. Marsh/willyoumissme.com)

Roomful of Teeth, Jherek Bischoff, Anonymous 4, So Percussion, more featured on 8-hour program

Head to the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place at the World Financial Center  in lower Manhattan on Sunday afternoon for a fantastic exploration of New Music.

The 2014 edition of the annual Bang on a Can Marathon starts at 2 p.m. and runs through 10 p.m. You can come and go as you please, sampling everything from serious compositions by Bang on a Can‘s founding composers — Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, and David Lang — to works by rock band The National’s Bryce Dessner, along with performances by the inimitable Meredith Monk, Jherek Bischoff, So Percussion, and female vocal quartet Anonymous 4.

Tap or click here to see the full performance schedule.

This event is really a must to experience in person — you’ll see artists mingling with audience in chance encounters throughout the show, get to see and buy CDs and merchandise at the huge merch table, and maybe even take a break to go shopping in the urban mall.

And be sure to check out Found Sound Nation, which hosts its Street Studio – a mobile recording studio where anyone can spontaneously create and record original music!

If you can’t get there, you don’t have to miss out, though. It will be webcast in HD audio and videol.

Tap or click here to WATCH LIVE.

 

Ecstatic Music Festival brings together 5 musicians in a unique collaboration

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It’s hard to believe that the 2014 edition of the Ecstatic Music Festival is nearly over. I suppose it’s because I haven’t been able to get to most of the shows in the festival, which kicked off Jan. 31 and ends this Saturday, March 29.

Two shows remain this year: Wednesday’s bill featuring So Percussion and Buke & Gase, and Saturday’s program with Man Forever and William Basinski. Both shows start at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are a reasonable $25, but if you attend both shows, you can get in for $20 apiece. Click here to buy tickets online, or visit the Merkin Concert Hall box office at 129 West 67th Street in Manhattan.

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