Sunday, December 15, 2019 11:31am
North Adams, MA now: 37 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.

Printer Friendly Version
   Recommend this story to a friend Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Bang On A Can Returns to MASS MoCA

08:20PM / Thursday, June 21, 2007

Bang on a Can, July 21 at 8 p.m., Photo submitted by MASS MoCA
North Adams - MASS MoCA and Bang on a Can will present their sixth consecutive year of musical collaboration, intensive musical training, and exciting performances.

Music will drift through the galleries every day beginning July 12 as the festival once again brims over with talented faculty and fellows from around the world who offer daily recitals at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m..

The always enjoyable Bang on a Can All-Stars perform on July 21 at 8 p.m. with Iva Bittová, (preceded in the morning by the perennially popular Kids Can Too event). The closing concert the Bang on a Can Marathon, will feature special guest Don Byron this year and will take place on July 28 from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m..

Music will spill off the MASS MoCA campus and into the community in the form of free concerts at MCLA on Wednesday, July 18 and at Windsor Lake on Wednesday, July 25 plus selected musicians will perform at the Clark’s Family Days event on Sunday, July 22.

"The folks from Bang on a Can are such wonderful old friends – we began talking to them about holding an institute and presenting a festival before MASS MoCA had even opened. They have truly become part of this institution, and it’s hard to believe that this is the sixth year of the festival. Each year brings returning faculty who we are so delighted to welcome back, plus a fresh crop of fellows to introduce MASS MoCA visitors to more new sounds, new compositions, and new methods of making music," said Joseph Thompson, MASS MoCA director.

"Every nook and cranny of this campus seems to ooze music during their residency – they use our conference room, our dressing room, our corridors and more for rehearsals. Anyone wishing to drink it all in should consider the Festival Pass. At $55 it is good for gallery admission for the recitals every day of the festival plus it includes tickets to both the July 21 concert and the Marathon on the 28th."

Festival Events

A music extravaganza in New York City since 1987 and in North Adams since 2001, the Bang on a Can Marathon is known for its unparalleled programming of today’s most innovative new music. The Marathon on Saturday, July 28, at MASS MoCA will close out the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival.

The concert will include brand new work created over the course of the two-week institute by the world-class musicians, composers, teachers and their hand-picked students who participated.

Participants will be on hand to discuss their work, including this year’s featured guest: American Jazz innovator Don Byron. Featured in last year’s opening concert with the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the contemporary jazz giant will return to MASS MoCA’s stage.

"Calling Don Byron a jazz musician is like calling the Pacific wet – it just doesn’t begin to describe it…Byron has carpentered an extraordinary career precisely by obliterating the very idea of category,” according to TIME magazine.

The series of performances runs from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.. Patrons may feel free to come and go throughout the performances, stroll through the galleries between sets, or grab a bite to eat or a cool drink.

The galleries will be open until 8 p.m..

A perennial highlight of the Festival is the Bang on a Can All-Stars Concert. The high-energy electric chamber ensemble will electrify the stage this year as they premiere a new collaboration with the stunning avant-folk songstress Iva Bittová.

Bittová’s haunting and riveting performances blend vocal and violin pyrotechnics with a theatrical flair on par with performance art icons Laurie Anderson and Meredith Monk. In addition, the concert will include the premiere of a brand new work by Cornelis de Bondt, commissioned by Bang on a Can as part of NL: A Season of Dutch Arts in the Berkshires. Music by Michael Gordon and Gregg August (with accompanying film by Bill Morrison) will round out the evening on Saturday, July 21, at 8 p.m.. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer described the All-Stars as “not a rock band, not a jazz combo, not a chamber ensemble. It’s all three, only different.”

Kids Can Too, a Saturday morning program for kids that introduces them to new music and new ways of making music, sells out every year. This year’s performance in Club B-10 will take place on Saturday, July 21, at 11 a.m..

About Don Byron

Don Byron’s musicianship has been genre-bending and exploring as a singular voice an astounding range of contexts for well over a decade. In that time, as a clarinetist, saxophonist, composer, arranger, and social critic, he has collaborated with all manner of musicians, ranging from the Duke Ellington Orchestra and Bill Frisell to Cassandra Wilson, Medeski, Martin, and Wood, and Carole King.

Having released 10 albums since his ground-breaking 1992 album, Tuskegee Experiments, he has firmly established that "among the many great things about Don Byron is the way he collapses the distinctions between high art and low, between generic formulas and avant attitude…with Byron, categories don’t apply." (Seattle Weekly)

His musical education began with his parents; his mother a pianist, his father a bass player in calypso bands. Hours of listening to Dizzy Gillespie, Miles Davis, and Machito recordings eventually formalized into training with classical clarinetist Joe Allard. Since those days he has held the honor of being voted "Jazz Artist of the Year" by Down Beat, presented numerous projects in music festivals around the globe, been artist-in-residence at institutions from Harvard to Columbia University and served as Artistic Director of Jazz at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.

About Iva Bittová

Bittová, a Czech avant-garde violinist, singer and composer, was born and raised in Moravia, studied drama in college and went on to become an actor, appearing on television and in films in Moravia and working in the avant-garde theatre company Husa na provázku.

Her dramatic studies led her to learning about the voice and eventually singing and playing the violin in the early 1980s. Today she has gained an international reputation for her unique vocal and instrumental technique and has made eight solo albums.

Bittová's music is a blend of rock and East European music which she describes as "my own personal folk music." Her violin-playing mixes different techniques, including playing the strings with various objects and plucking them like a banjo. Her vocal utterances range from traditional singing to chirping, cackling and deep throat noises. She puts her whole body into her performances, drawing on her theatrical skills. writes: "Her irresistible charm, original use of voice, and fondness of melodies that sit on the border of avant-garde and playground nursery rhymes won her devoted fans around the world."

About Bang On A Can

Composers and co-artistic directors Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe founded Bang on a Can in 1987.

Their original idea was simple: to have fun with new music. Their bold programming concept incorporates performing visionary classics written two to three decades ago and pieces by composers just born at that time; exciting music by our best known living composers and by those only starting to gain recognition.

Bang on a Can has grown from a one-day festival to a multifaceted organization. Bang on a Can’s aim is to discover emerging composers and ensembles exploring new musical territories while reaching for musical expression beyond the status quo.

The Bang On A Can All-Stars

The Bang on a Can All-Stars are: Gregg August, David Cossin, Lisa Moore, Mark Stewart, Wendy Sutter, and Evan Ziporyn.

They freely cross classical, jazz, rock, world, and experimental music. This six-member ensemble from New York is known worldwide for unparalleled performances of today’s most innovative music, defining styles so new they’re yet to be named.

Bassist Gregg August has played with Ray Barretto, Paquito D’Rivera, Frank Wess, Branford Marsalis, James Moody, Ray Vega, and the Chico O’Farril Big Band. He has also performed with the orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the Brooklyn Philharmonic and the American Symphony Orchestra, among others. He is the former principal bass of La Orquestra Ciutat de Barcelona. August received degrees from the Eastman and Julliard schools.

David Cossin studied classical percussion at the Manhattan School of Music. He specializes in new and experimental music, and has recorded and performed internationally with groups including Talujon Percussion Quartet, NewBand (on the Harry Partch instrumentarium), New Music Consort, Yo-Yo Ma, Tan Dun, Bo Didley, and B-blush. Numerous theater projects include Peony Pavilion, Blue Man Group, The Lion King, and Mabou Mines. Cossin was the solo percussionist for films like Fallen and Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which won the Academy Award for best musical score. He has performed solo concerts throughout Europe and the United States, incorporating video, electronic processing, and homemade instruments. Cossin appeared on the television shows Good Morning America and CBS’ The Early Show with Yo Yo Ma.

Pianist Lisa Moore grew up in Canberra, Sydney, and London before moving to the U.S. when she was 19. Living in New York City since 1985 she has collaborated with scores of composers in music and music-theater. Moore has been playing with the Bang On A Can All-Stars since its inception and has appeared with the group and as a guest artist throughout the world. Her recent ventures include solo piano works with simultaneous text recitation, singing and DVD image synchronization in Martin Bresnick's For The Sexes: The Gates of Paradise based on the original William Blake and Frederic Rzewski's epic for speaking pianist: De Profundis, based on Oscar Wilde's prose. Other recent solo projects include a new solo work by Michael Gordon, a new work by Irishman Donnacha Dennehy, and a concerto by Australian Michael Smetanin. In addition she tours performing an on-stage piano/acting role with director Lee Breuer/Mabou Mines' production of Ibsen's The Doll's House performing Grieg works throughout.

Since multi-instrumentalist Mark Stewart’s mother taught music, he grew up experimenting with handmade African drums, harmoniums, xylophones, guitars, banjos, violins, cellos and hundreds of others before he was in school. He studied guitar and cello during his conservatory days before moving to New York. Now he works mainly with electric guitar. He regularly performs with Fred Frith, Anthony Braxton, Steve Reich, and Zeena Parkins.

Cellist Wendy Sutter began playing at age five and made her solo debut with the Seattle Symphony at sixteen. She has participated in festivals at Marlboro, Aspen, and Evian and was awarded first prize in the Juilliard cello competition. She made her New York solo concerto debut at Avery Fisher Hall and has participated as soloist or ensemble player with the Lincoln Center Chamber Music Society, the Mostly Mozart Festival at Lincoln Center, the ensemble Sospeso, the Seattle International Chamber Music Festival and New York’s Music Today series. She’s toured with Mikhail Baryshnikov and performed an onstage duet with him at Lincoln Center.

Clarinetist Evan Ziporyn’s work is informed by his 20-year involvement with the traditional music of Bali . He is founder and director of Boston’s Gamelan Galak Tika. He co-produced and arranged Bang on a Can’s acclaimed recording of Brian Eno’s Music for Airports. As part of the Steve Reich Ensemble, he shared a 1999 Grammy for the recording of Music for 18 Musicians. Other collaborators include the Kronos Quartet, The Netherlands Wind Ensemble, Ensemble Modern, Tan Dun, Wu Man, Basso Bongo, Paul Simon and Red Fish Blue Fish. A professor at MIT, Ziporyn has also taught at the Yale School of Music, New England Conservatory, and the University of California.

For Tickets

Tickets for either the concert or the Marathon are $24 each or $40 for both. MASS MoCA members receive a 10% discount. $50 festival passes include both concerts plus unlimited gallery admission for recitals during the festival. Tickets for Kids Can Too are $5.

Tickets are available through the MASS MoCA Box Office located off Marshall Street in North Adams from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily in July and August. Tickets can also be charged by phone by calling 413-662-2111 during Box Office hours or purchased on line at a Internet web site.

MASS MoCA, the largest center for contemporary visual and performing arts in the United States, is located off Marshall St. in North Adams on a 13-acre campus of renovated 19th-century factory buildings.
Your Comments
Post Comment
No Comments

View All
Hockey: Drury vs Wahconah
Owen Kroboths short-handed goal early in the second period...
Lanesborough Tree Lighting...
Dozens gathered outside the Police station Thursday night...
2019 Bucky Bullett Jamboree
The 2019 Bucky Bullett Jamboree was held at McCann Tech...
Reindog Parade 2019
The annual Williamstown Holiday Walk again featured the...
Pittsfield Tree Lighting 2019
The City of Pittsfield officially kicked off the holiday...
North Adams Tree Lighting...
North Adams kicked off the holiday season with the slightly...
Oh Be Thankful Pie Contest
Gabriel Abbott Schools annual Oh Be Thankful Pie Contest...
McCann LPN Graduation 2019
McCann Technical School held its pinning ceremony for 20...
Williamstown Veterans Day...
Williamstown's American Legion Post 152 holds Veterans Day...
Pittsfield Veterans Day 2019
The Pittsfield Veterans Day Parade stepped off at 10 a.m....
North Adams Veterans Day 2019
North Adams held its Veterans Day observes Monday morning...
Cross Country: Multiple teams...
Ted Yee finished second overall, and Colin Young placed...
Ephs Defeat Amherst, 31-9
Senior safety Ben Anthony's interception return for a...
G Soccer: Smith Academy vs...
Lenox girls soccer team won over Smith Academy 2-0 in the...
Football: Lee vs Hoosac...
Lee High football team wins over Hoosac Valley 12-7 on...
G Soccer: Frontier vs Mount...
McWeeny's successful PK clinched a 4-1 shootout win for the...
Hockey: Drury vs Wahconah
Owen Kroboths short-handed goal early in the second period...
Lanesborough Tree Lighting...
Dozens gathered outside the Police station Thursday night...
2019 Bucky Bullett Jamboree
The 2019 Bucky Bullett Jamboree was held at McCann Tech...
Reindog Parade 2019
The annual Williamstown Holiday Walk again featured the...
Pittsfield Tree Lighting 2019
The City of Pittsfield officially kicked off the holiday...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved