Bang on a Can kick off their 30th anniversary year

Bang on a Can kick off their 30th anniversary year with a massive People’s Commissioning Fund (PCF) concert in New York next week (9 January, 7.30pm-9.30pm, Merkin Concert Hall), as part of Ecstatic Music Festival taking place at Kauffman Music Center.

The event is a radical partnership between artists and audiences to commission works from adventurous composers.

Created in 1997, PCF was launched as a pre-social media, crowdsourcing art creation platform by Bang on a Can co-founders David Lang, Michael Gordon, and Julia Wolfe (pictured above).

Money for PCF is pulled together via contributions from hundreds of individuals, with donations ranging from just USD5 to USD5,000 (€4.70- €4,715).

A whopping 50 new pieces have been created through PCF, supported by USD300,000 of fundraising. Many pieces have gone on to become part of the group’s permanent repertoire.

Anna Thorvaldsdottir © Saga Sigurdardottir
Anna Thorvaldsdottir © Saga Sigurdardottir

Composers to get the 2017 Bang on a Can PCF treatment are Iceland’s Anna Thorvaldsdottir (pictured) with Fields; Mexican-born composer Juan Felipe Waller’s Hybrid Ambiguities; and American composer Nico Muhly’s Comfortable Cruising Altitude.

Felipe Waller’s Hybrid Ambiguities makes use of a field recording of the echoing sounds of a microtonal harp; Muhly’s Comfortable Cruising Altitude uses found audio from a calm overnight transatlantic flight; Thorvaldsdottir uses large sonic structures that reveal the presence of a vast variety of sustained sound materials, landscapes and nature.

Their new works will be included in Field Recordings, Bang on a Can’s growing multimedia project. Field Recordings asks composers to go into the landscape of recorded sound itself, to find something old or record something new. Composers then respond with their own music, in dialogue with what has been discovered.