Bang on a Can's "Field Recordings"

by David Lang


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A major undertaking involving 9 composers, world renowned electric chamber group the Bang on a Can All-Stars, and multi-media accompaniment - “Field Recordings” will be an evening-length work of many parts, all conceptually linked by what I call a musical “ghost story.” Each composer is asked to use one or more “found sounds” that have special meaning or resonance, creating a single piece out of many voices.

All funds raised through this United State Artists fundraising campaign will go to artist fees for the composers, musicians and designers.

More on Field Recordings:

Rock and Roll's spark came from field recording pioneers the Lomaxes and the Seegers going in to the backwoods South, finding and recording roots music and bringing it to a larger public.  Modernism got a jolt when composers like Bartok and Kodaly went into the hills of central Europe, bringing out unpredictable rhythms and gritty harmonies which they used to challenge the status quo.  In the 60's, radical composers used recordings as building blocks for mind-blowing works of art. What would we learn from our world if today's genre-blurring composers were encouraged to go into the field, to find and record something new, and to have that recording challenge their own music?  This new “group commission,” written for the Bang on a Can All-Stars to play, asks a terrific range of composers to find out – with new music by myself and the following artists: Christian Marclay, Nick Zammuto of The Books, Mira Calix, Evan Ziporyn, Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, Tyondai Braxton, and Florent Ghys. Each of the composers' contributions will be between 4 and 8 minutes, creating an evening-length whole.

Wherever possible, the composers will be asked to contribute live to the performances (specifically at the premieres in the U.S. and London.) Given the use of recordings and samples, sound designer Andrew Cotton will be an integral part of the piece, as will the extraordinary conceptual set designer Jim Findlay. Rehearsals will take place in February-March 2012 including a workshop and preview performance at MIT as part of the Bang on a Can All-Stars season-long residency there. The world premiere will happen at the Barbican Centre in London, followed by a U.S. premiere at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall as part of a celebration of Bang on a Can's 25th Anniversary season. Support for the commissions themselves will come from Bang on a Can's People's Commissioning Fund, the Barbican Centre, and of!


We've assembled some great gifts to acknowledge your donation. And we look forward to seeing you at one of the shows. Thanks for your support! - David