Bang on a Can All-Stars
As part of its commissioning efforts amid the heights of the pandemic, Bang on a Can had composers write a series of solos for the individual members of the ensemble. Some of these composers had worked with Bang on a Can previously, and there were many for whom this was their first experience writing for the group.
Six of the pieces, one for each member of the ensemble and lasting roughly 10 minutes a piece, will be performed at Big Ears in a single concert. Several of the works performed are by artists taking part elsewhere in the festival. Pianist Vicky Chow performs Tomeka Reid’s Lamenting G.F., A.A., B.T., T.M.; percussionist David Cossin offers John Hollenbeck’s Persuasion; cellist Arlen Hlusko performs Leyla McCalla’s Meditation #1; bassist Robert Black tackles a work by composer / bassist Nick Dunston—who plays at Big Ears with Ches Smith’s We All Break— Fainting is Down, Whooshing Is Up. And then there are a pair of treats by composers worth getting to know better: guitarist Mark Stewart plays New Zealand-Ghanian composer Leila Adu’s Black-Crowned Night-Heron and clarinetist Ken Thomson performs Aeryn Jade Santillan’s disconnect.
Bang on a Can All-Stars
The Pandemic Solos
Tomeka Reid, Lamenting G.F., A.A., B.T., T.M.
played by Vicky Chow, piano
John Hollenbeck, Persuasion
played by David Cossin, percussion
Leyla McCalla, Meditation #1
played by Arlen Hlusko, cello
Nick Dunston, Fainting Is Down, Whooshing is Up
played Robert Black, double bass
Leila Adu, Black-Crowned Night-Heron
played by Mark Stewart, guitar
Aeryn Jade Santillan, disconnect.
played by Ken Thomson, bass clarinet
Andrew Cotton, sound engineer
Aeryn Santillan, disconnect. was commissioned by Bang on a Can with support from ASCAP Foundation
Leila Adu, Black-Crowned Night-Heron was commissioned by Bang on a Can with support from Raulee Marcus & Stephen Block and ASCAP Foundation
Leyla McCalla, Meditation #1, was commissioned by Bang on a Can commissioned with support from Anonymous Donors
Nick Dunston, Fainting Is Down, Whooshing is Up, was commissioned by Bang on a Can with support from the Howard Gilman Foundation
John Hollenbeck, Persuasion, was commissioned by Bang on a Can with support from Meredith Monk and Maria & Robert A. Skirnick
Tomeka Reid, Lamenting G.F., A.A., B.T., T.M., was commissioned by Bang on a Can with support from Raulee Marcus & Stephen Block and ASCAP Foundation
About the program:
As the COVID pandemic shut down live music in spring 2020, Bang on a Can quickly pivoted to a series of LIVE Online Marathons. And musicians responded with the extraordinary creativity we’ve come to expect; many came to this medium with streaming skills and experience, but many more had to reinvent their relationship to live music. So did we! The learning curve was steep, but we think the great solos that resulted will be a powerful memorial to this moment and time. And the pieces themselves will enter the repertoire for all time. Through our commissions of dozens of world premieres and nearly 150 online performances from May 3 onward, we kept live music in front of the fans and we engaged in dialogue with players and composers throughout. We’d like to share six of these “Pandemic Solos” written especially for members of the Bang on a Can All-Stars with you now!