Bang on a Can All-Stars | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Bang on a Can All-Stars 

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In 1987 New York composers Michael Gordon, Julia Wolfe, and David Lang launched the Bang on a Can Festival to showcase the bounty of new music that was getting lost in the gap between uptown classical orthodoxy and downtown improvisation. It was a fertile idea that's since given birth to a record label (Cantaloupe Music), an annual summer workshop, regular year-round concert presentations, a house orchestra, and a more portable ensemble of festival regulars called the Bang on a Can All-Stars. This highly flexible sextet brings attention to underrecognized works in the new-music canon--past reappraisals have included compositions by Terry Riley, Steve Reich, and Louis Andriessen--and performs original pieces and commissions by artists from Don Byron to Thurston Moore. At the same time it sheds new light on nonclassical works by treating them to rigorous arrangements, such as clarinetist Evan Ziporyn's chart for "Arapua," by Brazilian metamusician Hermeto Pascoal. This piece will appear on today's program together with selections from Ziporyn's Balinese shadow-puppet opera, Shadow Bang, four dazzling transcriptions of Conlon Nancarrow's studies for player piano, and Music in Fifths, an early Philip Glass work featured on one of the new All-Stars recordings for Cantaloupe. Sunday 11/14, 5 PM, Claudia Cassidy Theater, Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, 312-744-6630. Free. All ages.

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