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  • Carnegie Hall Presents
  • ZH Zankel Hall
  • SA/PS Stern Auditorium / Perelman Stage
  • REW Resnick Education Wing
  • WRH Weill Recital Hall

Three Generations: David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Michael Gordon

Wednesday, April 19, 2017 7:30 PM Zankel Hall
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A group of composers associated with the revolutionary Bang on a Can collective are featured in this event that is part of the Steve Reich–curated Three Generations exploration of the changing direction of concert music. Impossible to pigeonhole, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Michael Gordon eschew the familiar “isms” of the day by creating music that is deeply moving and always surprising.

Part of Three Generations, curated by Steve Reich.


Bang on a Can All-Stars
·· Ashley Bathgate, Cello
·· Robert Black, Bass
·· Gregg August, Electric Bass
·· Vicky Chow, Piano and Keyboard
·· David Cossin, Percussion
·· Mark Stewart, Electric Guitar
·· Ken Thomson, Clarinets and Saxophone
Kelli Kathman, Flute and Pan Pipes
Roberta Michel, Flute and Pan Pipes
Peter Hess, Saxophones
David Friend, Keyboard
Michael Gordon, Keyboard
Nathan Koci, Accordion
Todd Reynolds, Violin
Gregg August, Electric Bass
JACK Quartet
·· Christopher Otto, Violin
·· Austin Wulliman, Violin
·· John Pickford Richards, Viola
·· Jay Campbell, Cello
Jody Elff, Sound Engineer
Jody Elff, Sound Engineer


DAVID LANG cheating, lying, stealing
JULIA WOLFE Early that summer
Performance includes a discussion with Steve Reich, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Michael Gordon

Event Duration

The printed program will last approximately one hour without intermission, followed by a discussion with Steve Reich, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Michael Gordon.

Public support for Three Generations is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Steve Reich is the holder of the 2016–2017 Richard and Barbara Debs Composer's Chair at Carnegie Hall.

Three Generations: Changing the Direction of Concert Music

I have curated this series of four concerts to demonstrate how concert music has changed from the mid-20th century to the present by pivoting from serial / random chance / atonal music—in which discernible harmony, rhythm, or melody was difficult or impossible to hear—to a powerful restoration of all these musical basics in totally new ways.

The first generation to initiate those changes are now in their 70s or 80s and include Terry Riley, Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Arvo Pärt, and John Adams. The music of these composers then interested a younger generation now approaching their 60s, including Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, who formed the Bang on a Can collective. In turn, a still younger generation, now approaching their 40s, took up both of these earlier generations and carried all these ideas even further. This very large generation is represented here by Bryce Dessner and Nico Muhly.

In addition to the performance of their music by several outstanding ensembles—including Ensemble Signal, Bang on a Can All-Stars, and the JACK Quartet—many of these composers will discuss their music after the concerts.

—Steve Reich


Bang on a Can All-Stars

American cellist Ashley Bathgate has been described as an "eloquent new music interpreter" (The New York Times) and "a glorious cellist" (The Washington Post) who combines "bittersweet lyricism along with ferocious chops" (New York magazine). Her "impish ferocity," "rich tone," and "imaginative phrasing" (The New York Times) have made her one of the most sought-after performers of her time. The desire to create a dynamic energy exchange with her audience and build upon the ensuing chemistry is a pillar of Bathgate's philosophy as a performer. Her affinity to dynamism drives Bathgate to venture into previously uncharted areas of groundbreaking sounds and techniques, breaking the mold of a cello's traditionally perceived voice. In 2014, Bathgate premiered Australian composer Kate Moore's Cello Concerto with the ASKO | Schönberg ensemble at the Gaudeamus Festival (Netherlands). She subsequently recorded an album of Moore's solo cello works, which was released in 2016 on Cantaloupe Music. In 2015, Bathgate gave the world premiere of What Moves You, a collaborative performance project with jookin' dance sensation Lil Buck at the Spoleto Festival USA. Most recently, she commissioned the composer collective Sleeping Giant to write her a six-movement suite for solo cello entitled ASH, which was premiered this past January in New York City. Her recorded work can be found on Albany Records, Cantaloupe Music, Innova Recordings, La-La Land Records, Naxos, Nonesuch, Starkland, and Uffda Records. Originally from Saratoga Springs, New York, Bathgate resides in New York City. For more information, visit

Robert Blacktours the world, creating unheard of music for the solo double bass. He collaborates with the most adventurous composers, musicians, dancers, artists, actors, and technophiles from all walks of life. He has commissioned, collaborated, or performed with musicians from John Cage to DJ Spooky, Elliott Carter to Meredith Monk, Cecil Taylor to young emerging composers, as well as the Brazilian painter Ige D'Aquino, Japanese choreographer Yoshiko Chuma, American actor Kathryn Walker, English sound artist / DJ Mira Calix, and Swiss-American filmmaker Rudy Burckhardt. Black is a founding and current member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars. In 2015, he commissioned Philip Glass to compose a seven-movement solo Partita that includes recited poetry by seven of downtown New York's most illustrious musician/poets. His current project, titled Possessed, is a series of solo improvisatory outdoor performances in Utah's rugged canyon/desert landscape, which will be released by Cantaloupe Records this year. He has also recorded solo CDs for New World Records (Modern American Bass), Mode Records (The Complete Bass Music of Christian Wolff and The Bass Music of Giacinto Scelsi), and O.O. Discs (State of the Bass), as well as his Bang on a Can All-Stars recordings on Cantaloupe Records. Black maintains a full teaching schedule at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, the Festival Eleazar de Carvalho (Brazil), and the Manhattan School of Music's Contemporary Performance Program. A recipient of numerous grants, he recently received the Degree of Comendador-Mérito Cultural e Artistico from the Fundação Educacional, Cultural e Artistica Eleazar de Carvalho in recognition of 25 years of distinguished contributions to the cultural and artistic life of Brazil. For more information, visit

Canadian pianist Vicky Chow has been described as "brilliant" (The New York Times), "a monster pianist" (Time Out New York), and a "new star of new music" (Los Angeles Times). She is the pianist for the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Grand Band, New Music Detroit, and X88, in addition to collaborating with the International Contemporary Ensemble. Her recent recordings of Steve Reich's Piano Counterpoint (Nonesuch) and Tristan Perich's Surface Image (New Amsterdam) were included in the "top albums of the year" lists in Rolling Stone and on Rhapsody. Her solo album AORTA (New Amsterdam) features new works by Rome Prize winners Andy Akiho and Christopher Cerrone, and Molly Joyce, Daniel Wohl, Jacob Cooper, and Jakub Ciupinski. An EP of Sonatra, a new solo piano work by Bang on a Can founder Michael Gordon, will be released this year on Cantaloupe Music. As an artist frequently broadcast on WNYC's Q2 radio, her recorded work can be found on the Nonesuch, New Amsterdam, Tzadik, Cantaloupe Music, Innova, Hinterzimmer, and AltaVoz labels. Interviews and articles featuring Chow have appeared in The Huffington Post, Gramophone, The New York Times, Vancouver Sun, and many more. Her performances of works by Morton Feldman and John Cage were featured on BBC Four's documentary series The Sound and The Fury, based on Alex Ross's book The Rest Is Noise. Upcoming commissions include works by composers Fjóla Evans, David Brynjar Franzson, Gabriella Smith, Vincent Ho, and Nicole Lizée. For more information, visit

David Cossinwas born and raised in Queens, and studied classical percussion at the Manhattan School of Music. His interest in classical percussion, drum set, non-Western hand drumming, composition, and improvisation has led to performances across a broad spectrum of musical and artistic forms to incorporate new media with percussion. Cossin has recorded and performed internationally with composers and ensembles, including Steve Reich and Musicians, Philip Glass, Yo-Yo Ma, Meredith Monk, Tan Dun, Cecil Taylor, Talujon Percussion Quartet, and the trio Real Quiet. Numerous theater projects include collaborations with Blue Man Group, Mabou Mines, and director Peter Sellars. He was featured as the percussion soloist in Tan Dun's Grammy- and Oscar-winning score to Ang Lee's Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Most recently, Cossin is happy to have performed with Sting on his latest world tour, Symphonicity. He has performed as a soloist with orchestras around the world, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre philharmonique de Radio France, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, and Singapore Symphony Orchestra. His ventures into other art forms include sonic installations, which have been presented in New York, Italy, and Germany. He is also an active composer and has invented several new instruments that expand the limits of traditional percussion. Cossin is the curator for the Sound Res Festival, an experimental music festival in southern Italy, and also teaches percussion at Queens College in New York City.

Multi-instrumentalist, singer, composer, and instrument designer Mark Stewart has been heard around the world performing old and new music. Since 1998, he has recorded and toured with Paul Simon as his musical director. A founding member of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, the comic duo Polygraph Lounge with keyboard and theremin wizard Rob Schwimmer, Stewart has also worked with Steve Reich, Sting, Anthony Braxton, Bob Dylan, Charles Wuorinen, Cecil Taylor, Meredith Monk, Stevie Wonder, Philip Glass, Hugh Masekela, Iva Bittová, Bruce Springsteen, Ornette Coleman, Edie Brickell, Don Byron, Joan Baez, Paul McCartney, Jimmy Cliff, the Everly Brothers, Fred Frith, Alison Krauss, David Krakauer, Bobby McFerrin, David Byrne, James Taylor, The Roches, Aaron Neville, and Marc Ribot. He has worked extensively with composer Elliot Goldenthal on music for the films A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest, Across the Universe, Titus, The Butcher Boy, The Good Thief, In Dreams, and Heat, often playing instruments of his own design and construction. He has additionally designed instruments for TFANA's productions of A Midsummer Night's Dream and King Lear, and is the inventor of the Whirly Copter, a bicycle-powered Pythagorean choir of singing tubes, and the Big Boing, a 24-foot sonic banquet table mbira that seats 30 children playing 490 found objects. Stewart is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music and is a visiting lecturer at MIT. He can be heard on Warner Bros., Sony, Sony Classical, Point/Polygram, Nonesuch, Label Bleu, Résonance Magnétique, Cantaloupe, and CRI recordings. He lives in New York City, making his living by playing and writing popular music, semi-popular music, and unpopular music.

Ken Thomsonis a Brooklyn-based clarinetist, saxophonist, and composer. In demand as a composer and freelancer in many settings, he moves quickly between genres and scenes, bringing a fiery intensity and emotional commitment to every musical situation. In addition to the All-Stars, Thomson has been an anchoring force with Bang on a Can as music director and saxophonist with Asphalt Orchestra and as a faculty member of Bang on a Can's Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA. With his quintet, Slow/Fast, he has toured and released two discs, including Settle (NCM East Records), about which the Chicago Reader said, "Few musicians travel as assuredly and meaningfully between jazz and new music," and The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Thomson's compositions are intricately wrought and incident-steeped." His 2013 CD, Thaw (Cantaloupe Music), of his compositions performed by the JACK Quartet, was called the best classical CD of 2013 by and included on NPR's "Top 10 Songs Public Radio Can't Stop Playing." Thomson co-leads the chamber/punk/jazz band Gutbucket, with whom he has toured extensively throughout the United States and internationally for more than 16 years. He is also active as a freelance clarinetist in New York City, performing with Ensemble Signal, International Contemporary Ensemble, and many more. As a composer, he has been commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, Bang on a Can, Doug Perkins, and others, and has received awards from ASCAP and New Music USA. He is a Conn-Selmer / Selmer Paris and D'Addario Woodwinds artist. His most recent disc, Restless (Cantaloupe Music), focuses on two major works for cello and piano performed by Ashley Bathgate and Karl Larson, released digitally and on vinyl. For more information, visit

Kelli Kathman

Flutist Kelli Kathman is an active soloist and chamber musician in New York City. Best known for her thoughtful interpretation and energetic performance of music from the 20th and 21st centuries, Kathman enjoys commissioning and premiering new works by young and established composers from diverse musical backgrounds and styles. She performs regularly as part of Ensemble Signal under the direction of Brad Lubman. Kathman has performed across the United States and Europe with eighth blackbird, Bang on a Can All-Stars, Alarm Will Sound, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and American Contemporary Music Ensemble. Additionally, Kathman has performed with the Zankel Band, Steve Reich and Musicians, and Martha Graham Dance Company. Her festival appearances include Tanglewood, Chamber Music Northwest, Bang on a Can Marathon, Wordless Music Series, and June in Buffalo. Her passion for new music has brought her into close contact with numerous composers, including Steve Reich, John Adams, Helmut Lachenmann, Julia Wolfe, David Lang, Michael Gordon, and Terry Riley. Kathman's work can be heard on the Nonesuch, Mode, Naxos, Warp, and New Amsterdam labels. She received her bachelor's degree from the Eastman School of Music and her master's degree from Yale University.

Roberta Michel

Roberta Michel is a freelance flutist in New York City. Praising her "extreme adventurousness," New York Concert Review said she "riveted with her performance, inspiring one to want a repeated hearing." Michel is a member of ECCE Ensemble and Cadillac Moon Ensemble. She has also performed with the Portland String Quartet, Newspeak, SEM Ensemble, Wet Ink Ensemble, Argento Chamber Ensemble, Iktus Percussion, Wordless Music Orchestra, and Cygnus Ensemble, among others. She can be heard on the New Dynamic, Innova, Tzadik, and Meta labels. Michel has been a Bang on a Can Summer fellow and is a guest artist at the Etchings Festival in Auvillar, France. Michel holds degrees from the University of Colorado-Boulder, Purchase College (SUNY), and The Graduate Center (CUNY). Her teachers include Robert Dick, Tara O'Connor, and Alexa Still. She is currently on the faculty of St. Francis College, Bloomsburg University, and Sarah Lawrence College.

Peter Hess

Peter Hess is a member of Asphalt Orchestra, the Philip Glass Ensemble, Slavic Soul Party!, and Barbez. He has performed with Balkan Beat Box for a decade and co-leads Guignol. Hess performed and/or recorded with David Sanborn, Alarm Will Sound, Tony Visconti, Songs: Ohia, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, Tim Berne, Jabbo Ware, Jack McDuff, DeVotchKa, TV on the Radio, Wu-Tang Clan, ICE, The Hold Steady, Son Volt, Anti-Social Music, Big Lazy, and dozens more. He's a graduate of the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, and his work composing and arranging for winds and strings can be heard on HBO's Bored to Death, Channel 13's Make 'em Laugh, the feature documentary Art and Craft, and the upcoming Maineland. Hess has a deep love for music of the Balkans, which he has researched and studied in Roma villages of southern Serbia.

David Friend

David Friend's playing has been hailed as "astonishingly compelling" (The Washington Post) and "[one] of the finest, busiest pianists active in New York's contemporary-classical scene" (The New York Times). He has performed at major venues around the world, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Walt Disney Concert Hall (Los Angeles), Royal Festival Hall (London), the Chan Centre for the Performing Arts (Vancouver), and the National Centre for the Performing Arts (Beijing), and in major festivals, including Lincoln Center, Aspen, Gilmore, and Beijing Modern Music. He has performed regularly with respected ensembles, including Ensemble Signal, Alarm Will Sound, International Contemporary Ensemble, American Composers Orchestra, and the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and he is a founding member of TRANSIT New Music, Grand Band piano sextet, Hotel Elefant, and Bent Duo. He has recorded for numerous labels, including Harmonia Mundi, New Amsterdam, Cedille, Albany, and Innova. He is also featured as a guest artist on Third Coast Percussion's Grammy-winning album of music by Steve Reich.

Nathan Koci

Nathan Koci is a Brooklyn-based musician who is originally from Charleston, South Carolina. He enjoys a diverse career as a music director, conductor, composer, arranger, and multi-instrumentalist both on and off the stage. He is an advocate for music, dance, and theater by living artists, premiering works by Timo Andres, Anthony Braxton, Daniel Fish, Ted Hearne, John Heginbotham, James Moore, and Stew and Heidi, among others. He has worked with ensembles such as The Hands Free, Ensemble Signal, Alarm Will Sound, TILT Brass, Ensemble Modern, Bang on a Can, Dither, the Tri-Centric Orchestra, and Wordless Music. Koci is also active as a folk musician, having recorded and performed with the duo Shovels & Rope, the Brooklyn-based Goldfeather, and his own chamber folk trio, The Opposite of a Train. 

Todd Reynolds

Todd Reynolds has been a member of Steve Reich and Musicians since beginning work on The Cave in 1990, both as violinist and as an occasional conductor. His first tour with the ensemble followed later that year, performing Different Trains. Known as a relentless commissioner of new music and a composer and electronic musician himself, he is an integral part of New York's celebrated fabric of musical innovation, passion, and education. An early member of Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Ensemble, founding member of ETHEL, violinist for Bang on a Can, and with his own string quartet a collaborator with Meredith Monk, Mr. Reynolds currently serves on the faculty of both the Mannes and Manhattan schools of music, as well as Bang on a Can's Summer Festival. In 2011, he released a solo double CD, Outerborough, on Innova Recordings to critical acclaim; Inside (one disc of the set) features his own work, and Outside (the second disc) celebrates the work of New York luminaries, written for the record and all produced in the recording studio that is his home.

Gregg August

Bassist and composer Gregg August spans the classical, jazz, Latin jazz, and avant-garde scenes, making him one of the most versatile musicians today. In both 2013 and 2015, he was named a "Rising Star" by the DownBeat Critics Poll. He is principal bass of the Brooklyn Philharmonic and plays regularly with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra and Orchestra of St. Luke's. August also is the bassist with Arturo O'Farrill's Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. Their recent recording, The Offense of the Drum, won a Grammy in 2015. He's also a member of the critically acclaimed JD Allen Trio. As a composer, August recently completed a commission from the American Composers Orchestra / Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute for a new full-length piece, which was premiered in 2013 by the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2003, he formed his own group and has recorded three critically acclaimed albums of entirely original music, released by Iacuessa Records: Four by Six, One Peace, and Late August. A former member of Ray Barretto's New World Spirit, he has also played with Chick Corea, Ornette Coleman, and Paquito D'Rivera. August earned his degrees from the Eastman School of Music and The Juilliard School, and is on the faculty at the University of Connecticut, New Jersey City University, Queens College, and Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA.

JACK Quartet

Deemed "superheroes of the new music world" (The Boston Globe), the JACK Quartet is "the go-to quartet for contemporary music, tying impeccable musicianship to intellectual ferocity and a take-no-prisoners sense of commitment" (The Washington Post). "They are a musical vehicle of choice to the next great composers who walk among us" (Toronto Star).

The recipient of Lincoln Center's Martin E. Segal Award, New Music USA's Trailblazer Award, and the CMA/ASCAP Award for Adventurous Programming, JACK has performed to critical acclaim at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Miller Theatre, Wigmore Hall, Muziekgebouw aan 't IJ, IRCAM, Kölner Philharmonie, the Lucerne Festival, La Biennale di Venezia, Suntory Hall, Bali Arts Festival, Festival Internacional Cervantino, and Teatro Colón.

Comprising violinists Christopher Otto and Austin Wulliman, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Jay Campbell, JACK is focused on new work, leading the four members to collaborate with composers John Luther Adams, Chaya Czernowin, Simon Steen-Andersen, Caroline Shaw, Helmut Lachenmann, Steve Reich, Matthias Pintscher, and John Zorn. Upcoming and recent premieres include works by Derek Bermel, Cenk Ergün, Roger Reynolds, Toby Twining, and Georg Friedrich Haas.

JACK operates as a nonprofit organization dedicated to the performance, commissioning, and spread of new string-quartet music. Dedicated to education, the quartet spends two weeks each summer teaching at New Music on the Point, a contemporary chamber music festival in Vermont for young performers and composers. JACK has longstanding relationships with the University of Iowa String Quartet Residency Program, where the quartet members teach and collaborate with students each fall, and the Boston University Center for New Music, where they visit each semester. Additionally, the quartet makes regular visits to schools, including Columbia University, Harvard University, New York University, Princeton University, Stanford University, and the University of Washington.

Jody Elff

Jody Elff is an audio engineer, sound artist, musician, and composer. He has had the pleasure of working in some of the most unusual musical and sonic environments imaginable. He has worked with Laurie Anderson, Yo-Yo Ma, Paul Winter, Hall & Oates, Paul Simon, and many others. In addition, Elff has mixed countless televised concert events, including NBC's Peter Pan Live! and Pope Francis's recent visit to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. His work with sonic environments has led him to develop a series of sound art works presented at museums and galleries internationally. He was commissioned to create a sound art installation-Strata-which is permanently on display in Lyon, France. Elff is also the founder of Little Dog Live, providing high-quality live-streamed broadcasts of concert events at

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