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Bang On A Can

Technically, the name Bang on a Can refers not to a specific set of musicians but to a yearly festival of new music curated by avant-garde composer/performers Julia Wolfe, David Lang, and Michael Gordon. (Albums by the group are most often credited to the Bang on a Can All-Stars, a relatively stable group of six to eight performers and arrangers who comprise the core of the creative group.) The trio formed Bang on a Can in 1987; over the next ten years, the concept grew from a one-day festival to an impressive array of live and recorded works. The first three Bang on a Can releases were CD anthologies of live recordings taken from the group's 1992, 1993, and 1994 festivals released on the CRI label as Bang on a Can Live, Vol. 1, 2, and 3. Their studio debut came with 1995's Industry, featuring a track each by Wolfe, Lang, and Gordon and two lengthy chamber music pieces by their spiritual mentor Louis Andriessen. Both Industry and its more eclectic follow-up, 1996's Cheating, Lying, Stealing, were released by Sony Classical. Bang on a Can jumped to Universal's new music imprint Point for their next release, a brilliantly conceived and flawlessly executed re-imagining of Brian Eno's Ambient 1: Music for Airports that often turned Eno's sketches for tape recorders into beautiful works for live musicians.

Next, Lang, Wolfe, and Gordon collaborated on the opera Lost Objects, an extended narrative work with libretto by Deborah Artman featuring vocal soloists, a mixed chorus, a full orchestra and, intriguingly, guest appearances by turntable guru DJ Spooky. Following that masterwork, the group recorded several early pieces by the great minimalist composer Steve Reich and paid tribute to another landmark of modern classical music by reinterpreting Terry Riley's In C for a bevy of electric, electronic, and acoustic instruments. That recording was the first release on Cantaloupe Records, a label owned by Bang on a Can to release albums by affiliated composers and performers. The second Bang on a Can release on the label was 2001's eclectic Renegade Heaven, featuring pieces by Glenn Branca and Phil Kline, as well as Gordon's "I Buried Paul," a tongue-in-cheek salute to the playing of backwards tapes and other unintentional avant-gardisms in relation to the Paul Is Dead hoax of 1969. ~ Stewart Mason
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Gigantic Dancing Human Machine: Bang On A Can Plays Louis Andriessen

1. Worker's Union, For Chamber Ensemble: Workers Union

2. Hoketus For Mixed Ensemble: Hoketus for mixed ensemble

3. Hout, For Tenor Saxophone, Marimba, Guitar & Piano: Hout

x

Track List: Bang On A Can Live, Vol. 3

Composer: Nick Didkovsky
Title: I Kick My Hand, For Electric Guitar
Composer: Bunita Marcus
Title: Adam And Eve, For Flute, Violin, Cello, Piano & Percussion
Composer: Mary Wright
Title: Lizard Belly Moon, For 3 Electric Guitars & Electric Bass
Composer: Orlando Jacinto Garcia
Title: Colores Ultraviolados, For Mezzo-soprano, Flute, Violin & Bass
Composer: Linda Bouchard
Title: Lung Ta, For String Quartet
x

Track List: Bang On A Can, Live, Vol. 1

Composer: Tom Johnson
Title: Failing: A Very Difficult Piece For String Bass
Composer: Scott Lindroth
Title: Relations To Rigor, For Ensemble
Composer: Michael Gordon
Title: Strange Quiet, For Ensemble
Composer: Julia Wolfe
Title: The Vermeer Room, For Ensemble
Composer: Evan Ziporyn
Title: LUV Time, For Bass Calrinet, Trombone, Baritone Saxophone, Piano & Kempli
Composer: Allison Cameron
Title: Two Bits, For Percussion & Strings
x

Track List: David Lang: Music From The Film (Untitled)

Composer: David Lang
Title: (Untitled), Film Score

1. (Untitled), Film Score: Press Release (Excerpt)

2. (Untitled), Film Score: I'm Still Shaking

3. (Untitled), Film Score: Cheating, Lying, Stealing (Excerpt)

4. (Untitled), Film Score: Ray's Entrance

Composer: Fryderyk Chopin
Title: Prelude For Piano No. 4 In E Minor, Op. 28/4, Ct. 169

5. Prelude For Piano No. 4 In E Minor, Op. 28/4, Ct. 169: Prelude In E Minor, Op. 28 No.4

Composer: David Lang
Title: (Untitled), Film Score

6. (Untitled), Film Score: My Very Empty Mouth

7. (Untitled), Film Score: Gallery Humiliation

8. (Untitled), Film Score: Pandas

9. (Untitled), Film Score: Sweet Air (Excerpt)

10. (Untitled), Film Score: Out Of The Taxi

Composer: Arnold Schoenberg
Title: Pierrot lunaire, melodrama for voice & chamber ensemble, Op. 21

11. Pierrot lunaire, melodrama for voice & chamber ensemble, Op. 21: [Excerpt]

Composer: David Lang
Title: (Untitled), Film Score

12. (Untitled), Film Score: Beer Inspiration

13. (Untitled), Film Score: The Anvil Chorus (Excerpt)

Composer: Edvard Grieg
Title: Peer Gynt Suite For Orchestra (Or Piano Or Piano, 4 Hands) No. 1, Op. 46

14. Peer Gynt Suite For Orchestra (Or Piano Or Piano, 4 Hands) No. 1, Op. 46: II. Aase's Death

Composer: David Lang
Title: (Untitled), Film Score

15. (Untitled), Film Score: Stick Figure Variation

16. (Untitled), Film Score: Front Room, Back Room

17. (Untitled), Film Score: I'm Not Paying For This

18. (Untitled), Film Score: What Do You Have In The Back Room?

19. (Untitled), Film Score: The So-called Laws Of Nature III (Excerpt)

20. (Untitled), Film Score: Wed (Excerpt)

21. (Untitled), Film Score: The Death Of Ray

22. (Untitled), Film Score: Stick Figure (Excerpt)

23. (Untitled), Film Score: Wed

24. (Untitled), Film Score: Sweet Air

25. (Untitled), Film Score: The Anvil Chorus

26. (Untitled), Film Score: Cheating, Lying, Stealing

x

Track List: Music For Airports (Brian Eno)

1. 1/1

2. 1/2

3. 2/1

4. 2/2

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