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Bang on a Can

Brooklyn, NY         

Bang on a Can is dedicated to making music new.  Since its first Marathon concert in 1987, Bang on a Can has been creating an international community dedicated to innovative music, wherever it is found.  With adventurous programs, it commissions, performs, presents, and records new works, develops new audiences, and educates the musicians of the future.  Bang on a Can is building a world in which powerful new musical ideas flow freely across all genres and borders.

It all started with the first Marathon back in 1987. Three young composers – Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe and David Lang – noticed that great “art” music was coming from all sorts of interesting new places.So they created the concert of their dreams…the come-as-you-are informal sampling of everything innovative, exciting and/or unusual – The Bang on a Can Marathon.

The ethos and energy of the Marathon proved unstoppable. In the coming years, we addressed the need to commission new work (People’s Commissioning Fund), create and nurture top-notch ensembles (Bang on a Can All-Stars, Asphalt Orchestra), record outstanding performances of pieces both new and under-heard (Cantaloupe Music), inspire the next generation (Summer Festival at MASS MoCA) and produce and present visionary new multi-media works on major stages. Recently, we honed a mobile-studio approach to bringing digital music-making to the streets, to the schools, and around the world through an educational recording approach we call Found Sound Nation (FSN). From this venture, we partnered with the State Department to create OneBeat, an international cultural exchange designed to bring creative, socially engaged musicians together from all corners of the globe.

Today, the very phrase “Bang on a Can” connotes a thorough and fearless vision of music without prejudice, and of contemporary composition as a vital and powerful part of the cultural landscape. Our performances, recordings, broadcasts and videos are heard and seen by millions annually.


1.   The Bang on a Can Marathon, our original and signature program, bringing dozens of composers and hundreds of musicians to the stage for a day-long informal FREE concert in NYC each year.

2.   The annual People’s Commissioning Fund (PCF) Week featuring performances of new works by mid-career composers commissioned for the BoaC All-Stars by hundreds of our supporters.

3.   Our frequent NYC concerts, from BAM to Lincoln Center to smaller, funky venues all over town.

4.   Our Touring schedule, which includes more than 30 from L.A. to Latvia, from Kansas to Kyrgystan.

5.   Regular Commissions, new Record Releases and featured Broadcasts.

6.   Our annual Summer Festival of Music at MASS MoCA, the first national residency program for gifted young composers and performers interested in experimental music.

7.   Our audacious marching project – Asphalt Orchestra –  a 12-person, virtuosic mobile ensemble.

8.   A new initiative blending music and technology in public schools and beyond, called Found Sound Nation. Its OneBeat intiative, in partnership with the Dept of State, is an experiment in cultural diplomacy, bringing 60+ musicians from far-flung corners of the globe for a monthlong residency and tour.

Bang on a Can plays a world premiere of a commissioned work of Steve Reich – 2×5

Performed here at the Barbican Centre in London in 2011.

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“Reeling” from FIELD RECORDINGS: by Julia Wolfe

One of twelve pieces conceived for an evening length montage of works by 12 or more composers around a theme of “found sounds.” Each work uses a recorded sound and/or image on which the piece is built.

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Mark Stewart and the Fellows of Banglewood – Summer Festival at MASS MoCA

The Orchestra of Original Instruments, as led by Bang on a Can All-Star, guitarist Mark Stewart.

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