Performance Saturday, November 5, 2011 | 9 PM

Bang on a Can All-Stars

Zankel Hall
Bang on a Can started out in 1987 as a group of free-wheeling composers dedicated to adding a fresh voice to contemporary music. Since then, they’ve started their own summer festival, record label, and their own performing All-Stars group. In March 2010, Bang on a Can All-Stars debuted Louis Andriessen’s multimedia work Life in Milan, and on this concert they give what the composer calls “a kind of contemporary Pictures at an Exhibition” its New York premiere.


  • Bang on a Can All-Stars
    ·· Ashley Bathgate, cello
    ·· Robert Black, Bass
    ·· Vicky Chow, Piano
    ·· David Cossin, Percussion
    ·· Derek Johnson, Electric Guitar
    ·· Evan Ziporyn, Clarinets and Alto Saxophone


  • DAVID LANG sunray (NY Premiere)
  • MICHAEL GORDON for Madeline
  • LOUIS ANDRIESSEN Life (with film by Marijke van Warmerdam) (NY Premiere)
  • DAVID LONGSTRETH Instructional Video, Matt Damon, Breakfast at J&M
  • K. MOORE Ridgeway
  • LUKAS LIGETI Glamour Girl


  • Bang on a Can All-Stars

    Formed in 1987 by composers Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, Bang on a Can is dedicated to commissioning, performing, creating, presenting, and recording contemporary music. With an ear for the new, the unknown, and the unconventional, Bang on a Can strives to make exciting and innovative music accessible to new audiences worldwide.

    Bang on a Can has been building audiences for 24 years, growing from a one-day festival into a renowned and multifaceted new-music powerhouse. Current projects include the annual Bang on a Can Marathon; the People's Commissioning Fund, a program to commission emerging composers; the Bang on a Can All-Stars, who tour to major festivals and concert venues around the world; the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA, a professional development program for young composers and performers; Asphalt Orchestra, Bang on a Can's new high-energy street band that offers mobile performances of unusual music, taking it to neighborhoods across New York City and beyond; Found Sound Nation, a promising new technology-based musical outreach program in NYC schools; and cross-disciplinary collaborations with DJs, visual artists, choreographers, and filmmakers.

    For up-to-date information regarding Bang on a Can programs, events, and CD releases, visit our

    Ashley Bathgate

    A native of Saratoga Springs, New York, cellist Ashley Bathgate has gained international renown as a soloist and chamber musician. Equally at home in both the concert hall and the rock club, Bathgate focuses on presenting concerts that draw from a wide range of musical genres. Her dedication to performing classical music is equally matched by her passion to promote new music by today's composers. She is a member of the Metropolis Ensemble and two chamber groups of which she is a founding member: TwoSense and Typical Music. She has recorded for Nonesuch, Naxos, Cantaloupe Music, Albany Records, and La-La Land Records. Bathgate received her bachelor's degree from Bard College and a master's degree from Yale University, where she studied with Aldo Parisot. She lives in Manhattan. Visit for more information.

    Robert Black

    Growing up in suburban America during the 1960s and '70s, Robert Black's main musical experiences came from the radio, records, and the music program in the public school system. Today, his interests range from traditional orchestral and chamber music to solo recitals, collaborations with actors, music with computers, movement-based improvisations with dancers, and live action-painting performances with artists. He has commissioned, collaborated, or performed with John Cage, DJ Spooky, Elliott Carter, Meredith Monk, Cecil Taylor, Paquito d'Rivera, and many young emerging composers. A founding member of the All-Stars, Black's recital activities frequently take him to five continents, and he has appeared at major festivals, on radio and television broadcasts, and as an artist-in-residence. He also performs with the Hartford Symphony Orchestra and the Monadnock Festival Orchestra. Black maintains a full teaching schedule at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford and the Festival Eleazar de Carvalho in Brazil, and he is a faculty member of the Manhattan School of Music's Contemporary Performance Program. His solo CDs are State of the Bass (O.O. Discs), The Complete Bass Music of Christian Wolff (Mode Records), The Complete Bass Music of Giacinto (Mode Records), and an upcoming two-CD set of mid-20th-century American bass music.

    Vicky Chow

    Canadian pianist Vicky Chow has performed extensively as a classical and contemporary soloist, chamber musician, and ensemble member. Her passion has propelled her to work with a variety of leading composers and musicians, including John Adams, Louis Andriessen, Bryce Dessner (The National), Philip Glass, Michael Gordon, Glenn Kotche (Wilco), David Longstreth (Dirty Projectors), David Lang, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Lee Ranaldo (Sonic Youth), Julia Wolfe, and Evan Ziporyn. Chow has performed across Canada, the US, China, and Europe, and in the past year has toured with the Bang on a Can All-Stars to Australia, Hong Kong, London, and Portugal, collaborated with Kronos Quartet, and performed with New Music Detroit and eighth blackbird. Upcoming tours include performances in Poland, Germany, Scotland, and France. Her first solo piano album-of music composed by Ryan Francis-has been released on the Tzadik label. She has also recorded for the Cantaloupe and altzVoz labels. In addition to performing, Chow produces and curates Contagious Sounds, a new-music series that focuses on adventurous contemporary artists and composers at the Gershwin Hotel in New York City. Originally from Vancouver, Chow studied at The Juilliard School with Yoheved Kaplinsky and Julian Martin before continuing studies at Manhattan School of Music with Christopher Oldfather. She lives in New York City.

    David Cossin

    David Cossin was born and raised in Queens, New York, 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, Philip Glass, Yo-Yo Ma, Meredith Monk, Tan Dun, Cecil Taylor, Talujon Percussion Quartet, and Real Quiet. Numerous theater projects include collaborations with Blue Man Group, Mabou Mines, and director Peter Sellars. Cossin was featured as the percussion soloist in Tan Dun's Grammy- and Oscar-winning score to Ang Lee's film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Most recently, Cossin is happy to have performed with Sting on his latest world tour, Symphonicity. Cossin has performed as a soloist with orchestras throughout the world, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, São Paulo State Symphony, Sydney Symphony, Gothenburg Symphony, Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, and Singapore Symphony Orchestra. Cossin's sonic installations have been presented in New York, Italy, and Germany. He is also an active composer and has invented several new instruments, which expand the limits of traditional percussion. He 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.

    Derek Johnson

    Derek Johnson is a composer, electric guitarist, and educator active in the world of contemporary concert music and beyond. Born and raised at the majestic base of the Rocky Mountains in Boulder, Colorado, Johnson began his college training as an electric guitarist at Columbia College Chicago and completed graduate degrees in composition at Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music. He is a founding member of the virtuoso chamber ensemble BASILICA and a regular performer with the post-rock improvisation collective goodhands team. Deeply engaged in the emerging position of the electric guitar in concert music, Johnson is active as both a soloist and chamber musician, presenting the rich and steadily growing canon of works written specifically for the electric guitar. His compositions have been performed throughout the US and Canada by leading soloists and ensembles, including the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's MusicNOW and Montreal's Nouvel Ensemble Moderne. He has served as a faculty member in the music department of Columbia College Chicago, as an associate instructor of composition at Indiana University, and as chamber music faculty at the Bang on a Can Summer Institute. He is currently an assistant professor of music theory and composition at the Ball State University School of Music, and is the director of the BSU Electric Guitar Quartet. Johnson is an avid transcriber and is currently working in collaboration with the innovative Swedish band Meshuggah on a series of transcription books that encompass the band's complete discography.

    Evan Ziporyn

    Evan Ziporyn makes music at the crossroads between genres and cultures, East and West. He studied at Eastman School of Music; Yale University; and University of California, Berkeley. A chance hearing of gamelan music led him to Bali in 1981; he returned there on a Fulbright in 1987, and has since sojourned there repeatedly to study, perform, and collaborate. Also in 1987, Ziporyn performed a clarinet solo at the first Bang on a Can Marathon in New York. He co-founded the All-Stars in 1992, and his involvement with Bang on a Can continues to this day. Ziporyn joined the Massachusetts Institute of Technology faculty in 1990 and is currently the Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor. He founded Gamelan Galak Tika at MIT in 1993, beginning a series of groundbreaking compositions for gamelan and Western instruments. These include three evening-length works, 2001's ShadowBang, 2004's Oedipus Rex, and 2009's A House in Bali-an opera that joins Western singers with Balinese traditional performers, and the All-Stars with a full gamelan. As a clarinetist, Ziporyn recorded the definitive version of Steve Reich's multi-clarinet New York Counterpoint in 1996, and shared in the Reich Ensemble's Best Chamber Music Performance Grammy in 1998. In 2001, his solo CD, This Is Not a Clarinet, made recommendation lists across the country. His compositions have been commissioned by Yo-Yo Ma's Silk Road Project, Kronos Quartet, American Composers Orchestra, Maya Beiser, So Percussion, Wu Man, Orkest de Volharding, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. He received the 2007 USA Artists Walker Award and the 2004 American Academy of Arts and Letters Goddard Lieberson Fellowship.

    More Info


David Longstreth's Instructional Video 
Bang On A Can
Big Beautiful Dark and Scary
Andriessen Hout
Bang on a Can All-Stars 

About the Program

This concert marks the start of our 25th anniversary season. Bang on a Can, founded in 1987, was an attempt by three then-young composers to see if new, challenging, experimental music could play a bigger role in the world. Could we break down the barriers that kept different kinds of music apart? Could we get together the greatest performers of our day to play it all? Could we build a larger audience, one that would listen passionately to this music, better able to hear its newness, its freshness? Could we help new generations of younger musicians write it, perform it, live it?

This concert reminds us of all the things that charge us up about what we do.  

First, of course, it’s the Bang on a Can All-Stars—an ensemble we formed in 1992 so that music between categories would have great performers who could handle all the challenges.  You can see what challenges the group was built for just by looking at the line-up: part rock band, part electric chamber ensemble. The players themselves have lifetimes of experiences with other kinds of music and musicians, and together they have worked closely with artists spread across a vast spectrum of the musical universe, including Steve Reich, Ornette Coleman, Meredith Monk, Owen Pallett, Philip Glass, Brian Eno, Trio Mediaeval, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and many others.

Then there is the range of music on the program—the New York premiere of a work by one of our mentors (Dutch composer Louis Andriessen), who remains a creative inspiration for us; works by two Bang on a Can co-founders (Michael Gordon and David Lang); and works by three younger composers from very different walks of musical life. Kate Moore is an Australian composer living in Holland; Lukas Ligeti is the founder of the innovative West African–based band Burkina Electric; David Longstreth is known primarily as the force behind the indie rock sensation Dirty Projectors. What makes us particularly proud of these last three is how their music got here: Kate and David we first met when they were composition fellows at the annual Bang on a Can Summer Festival at MASS MoCA, and all three of their works were commissioned for us by the People’s Commissioning Fund, our very own commissioning body that pools contributions from our audience members each year to pay for the creation of new work.

But the most important thing about this concert is you. All of us—composers and performers—involved with this show do what we do because we have something powerful that we feel driven to share. We are on fire about having something new to say, something we need to show. You are the person we need to show it to. Thanks so much for letting us.  
Program Notes