Freely crossing the boundaries between classical, jazz, rock, world, and experimental music, pioneering ensemble Bang on a Can All-Stars will present three distinct programs at Big Ears featuring works by the group’s founding composers Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, who will serve as composers in residence during the festival weekend.
Field Recordings will be presented at the Bijou Theatre on Friday afternoon, featuring more than 30 commissioned works using archival audio, found sound, and video. Bang on a Can will perform music by Anna Clyne, Bryce Dessner, Florent Ghys, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Steve Reich, Todd Reynolds, Caroline Shaw, Julia Wolfe, and Nick Zammuto, along with a live score to films by Christian Marclay and Bill Morrison.
Saturday at The Mill and Mine, they will team up with groundbreaking Nashville choir SONUS for Julia Wolfe’s haunting, poignant, and relentlessly physical Anthracite Fields, an examination of the coal-mining industry so musically and socially provocative that it netted the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Music.
SONUS will also present an hour of a capella choral music performed by their 24-person choir.
They will conclude on Sunday with Bang on a Can: 30 Years, a concert at the Tennessee Theatre featuring the U.S. premiere of Big Space by Michael Gordon with orchestra and core works by David Lang and Julia Wolfe, plus music composed specifically for the ensemble by Steve Martland and Philip Glass. Expect everything from minimalism to rock and funk in this 30th birthday concert not to be missed.
Also appearing at the festival will be Rushes Ensemble, performing Bang on a Can primary composer and Big Ears alum Michael Gordon‘s 2012 work by the same name. Composed for seven bassoons, Rushes expands the boundaries of a single instrument’s repertoire into otherworldly spaces.
During the last quarter-century, no American ensemble has been more important to the health of new music than Bang on a Can. Secure GA, Premier, and Sonic Explorer Weekend and Daily Passes now to witness this vital collective at Big Ears next month in downtown Knoxville.