Bang on a Can Marathon

Free Live Stream May 3

By: - Apr 24, 2020

 Bang on a Can announces the hourly schedule for its ALL LIVE Bang on a Can Marathon on Sunday, May 3, 2020 from 3pm-9pm ET. The Marathon will be streamed online at, featuring 26 LIVE performances from musicians' homes in NYC and around the country. The 2020 Bang on a Can Marathon will feature more than 40 participating artists, over two dozen solo performances, and four world premieres of newly commissioned works by Dai Wei, Shara Nova, Molly Joyce, and Ken Thomson. Guest composers will be online to introduce their works. The 6-hour live Marathon will be hosted by Bang on a Can Co-Founders and Artistic Directors Michael Gordon, David Lang, and Julia Wolfe, who say:

Bang on a Can means a lot of things to us.  It means live performance in front of enthusiastic audiences, which none of us can really have right now.  It means music-curious people rubbing elbows with each other, in packed concert halls, talking to each other about the role that music plays in their lives, which we can't have now either.  But it also means supporting a community of artists, commissioning new work from composers, providing live paid performance opportunities to amazing musicians, and introducing listeners worldwide to music that can change their lives.  Those are things we can do now!  And they are things we need now.  

We are all waiting for the world to heal, but until it does, we all have to do what we can.  We will start by hosting a LIVE Bang on a Can Marathon on Sunday, May 3. Six hours of uncompromisingly adventurous, searching music, with brand new works commissioned especially for the day, played by some of the most amazing performers on the planet.  Please join us!

The Marathon will be free to stream and all Marathon performers and commissioned composers are being compensated by Bang on a Can.

In tandem with the 2020 live online Marathon, Bang on a Can will launch its new digital archive, CANLAND on May 1. Since its founding in 1987, Bang on a Can has maintained an extensive archive of its recordings, videos, posters, program books, and more. Thirty-three years of collected music and associated ephemera are in the process of being digitized and archived online. Bang on a Can will make Canland publicly accessible in its entirety on May 1, 2020 at 12pm ET.

Bang on a Can 2020 Marathon Performance Schedule
Sunday, May 3, 2020 from 3pm-9pm ET

Set times are approximate

3:00     Meredith Monk                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

            Cassie Wieland’s Heart performed by Adam Holmes                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

            Robert Honstein’s Orison performed by Ashley Bathgate                                                                                                                                                                                                                               

            Vijay Iyer


4:00     Anna Clyne’s Rapture performed by Eileen Mack


            George Lewis’ Voyager


            Shara Nova – New Work (world premiere)


            Adam Cuthbért           


5:00     Shelley Washington’s Black Mary performed by Ken Thomson


            Martin Bresnick’s Ishi’s Song performed by Lisa Moore


            Ken Thomson – New Work (world premiere) performed by Robert Black


            Nathalie Joachim


            David T. Little’s Hellhound performed by Maya Beiser


6:00     Miya Masaoka’s music for ichi-ten-kin, or one string koto


            Meara O’Reilly


            Vinko Globokar’s Toucher performed by Steven Schick


            Zoë Keating


7:00     Moor Mother


            Philip Glass’ “Knee Play 2” from Einstein on the Beach performed by Tim Fain


            Mark Stewart’s To Whom it May Concern: Thank You


            Mary Halvorson


8:00     Molly Joyce – New Work (world premiere) performed by David Cossin


            Ian Chang


            Steve Reich’s Vermont Counterpoint performed by Claire Chase


            Dai Wei’s Songs for Shades of Crimson (world premiere) performed by Todd Reynolds


            John Adams’ China Gates performed by Vicky Chow                                                              


Marathon Program Info

Meredith Monk’s work crosses so many boundaries she has had to invent her own way of making it, her own way of teaching it, and her own way of training a generation of singers and performers in how to perform it with her. In this concert Meredith shows us the essential core of what she does, singing solo, just for us.

Composer Cassie Wieland often blends intimate and fragile sound with an exploration into human connection, interaction, and expression. Her new work Heart for solo hammered dulcimer will be performed by percussionist Adam Holmes

Composer Robert Honstein writes works of great beauty and has worked in close collaboration with many leading musicians and across disciplines. One of his most acclaimed collaborative projects, ASH, features Robert’s Orison, for solo cello and electronics performed by cellist Ashley Bathgate

Vijay Iyer's elegant, subtle improvisatory style has made him a dynamic crossroads between many musical worlds - between jazz and experimental classical, between notated and spontaneous composition, between his American and his Indian roots.

Anna Clyne is a composer who loves to mix her media. She is a master at splicing, processing, and re-assembling visual art, electronics, found text, and field recordings alongside instrumental writing of great delicacy and theatricality. One of these works is Rapture – for amplified clarinet with digital effects and tape – for clarinetist Eileen Mack

Legendary, composer, trombonist, scholar and teacher George Lewis takes us on a new excursion titled Voyage at Home for trombone and disklavier. 

Avant-songstress Shara Nova, lead singer and songwriter of My Brightest Diamond, has penned a brand new song for this occasion. 

Electronica composer Adam Cuthbért performs synthetic flora for trumpet and modular synth - an interactive score where the player chooses the pacing and direction by triggering various sound events in their own time.

Composer Shelley Washington writes think grooves and melodies, often for herself to perform on saxophone. For this concert, she’s handing off her piece, Black Mary, to Bang on a Can All-Star and reed-master Ken Thomson.

Martin Bresnick is one of America’s most thoughtful and elegant composers, and one of America's most influential teachers.  He has inspired generations of musicians to become original thinkers and artists and is also one of Bang on a Can's longest running musical friendships. Piano powerhouse Lisa Moore plays Ishi’s Song - Martin's reliquary for a song sung by Ishi, the last surviving member of a Native American tribe, who died without telling anyone what the words meant.

Bang on a Can All-Star and reed guru Ken Thomson is a passionate performer and also a composer increasingly known for his harmonic and rhythmic complexity and a punk-rock aesthetic. Here he’ll wear both hats, playing a high-energy work, Black Mary, by composer / sax player Shelley Washington and writing a brand new piece for bassist Robert Black

Flute virtuosa and composer Nathalie Joachim recently started including songs and stories of her Haitian roots into her performances and the combination is beautiful.

David T. Little is a composer widely known for bold dramatic political music theater and a drummer that writes and plays rock and blues-infused contemporary music. His work Hellhound for amplified cello, a homage to legendary bluesman Robert Johnson, will be performed by Maya Beiser

Miya Masaoka is part composer, part performer, part sound philosopher.  She also is a virtuosa of the koto, and has pushed this traditional Japanese instrument into new, non-traditional universes - she will play music from one of these new universes for us tonight on the ichi-ten-kin, or one string koto. 

Meara O'Reilly is a pattern maker. She starts with simple musical materials and then applies rigorous patterns to them, which makes them continually change their timing and their order and their context. The result is mesmerizing – it is the creation of a pure and audible logic.

Now in his mid 80s, Vinko Globokar began his career as the trombonist of choice for the 1960's European avant garde.  He became known, both as a player and a composer, for his innate dramatic flair, blurring the boundary between music and theater. His piece Toucher, performed here by the iconic percussionist Steven Schick, is both quirky and demanding with Steven narrating the story of Galileo Galilei, as depicted in Bertolt Brecht's play Life of Galileo while playing sounds to match each syllable. 

Cellist and composer Zoë Keating, with the use of computers and machines, constructs her compositions in front of us, in real time, while we watch. Musical snippets become captured by the technology and added to each other, in layers, transforming simple, straightforward fragments of solo cello lines into giant, orchestral forms. 

Moor Mother - poet Camae Ayewa – is a powerhouse.  Her intense music and delivery propel her words directly into you, making her meaning, her activism, her passion impossible to resist.

While it’s hard to separate Philip Glass’ monumental masterpiece Einstein on the Beach from its epic staging by Robert Wilson, the Glass Ensemble, with Tim Fain as the solo violinist, performed a groundbreaking concert version at Carnegie Hall in 2007. Ever since, Fain and Glass have teamed up on tour regularly, most notably for Knee Play 2 which we’ll get to hear Tim play live. Here.

Mark Stewart – not only the guitarist in the Bang on a Can All-Stars but also an instrument builder and a revolutionary sound installation artist – will build an instrument and install a revolutionary sound.

Mary Halvorson began her career as the most out avant garde jazz guitarist in town, but it is impossible to say where she is now.  She is a composer and improviser whose music switches with breathtaking rapidity from one thoughtful idea to the next.

Ever-inventive composer Molly Joyce writes music that is both commanding and calm. Here she is collaborating with Bang on a Can All-Star percussionist David Cossin on a newly commissioned work.

Ian Chang is a drummer – or is he?  Chang’s drums are also MIDI triggers, connected to samples and synths and even the stage lights – you never know which of his stick patterns will result in a simple drum beat and which will completely transform your environment.

Since the 1970s Steve Reich has been making music in layers, with live instruments playing against pre-recorded versions of themselves. Vermont Counterpoint for amplified flute and tape is one of these works from the early 1980s, dedicated to Betty Freeman who was an early supporter of Steve’s music and will be performed live by Claire Chase

John Adams is radically popular.  Beginning in the experimental underground, he expanded the horizons of the mainstream opera and orchestra worlds with such groundbreaking works as Nixon in China and Harmonielehre. Bang on a Can All-Star Vicky Chow leads our excursion through Adams’ scenic and meditative far-eastern-influenced work China Gates for solo piano. 

Percussionist Adam Holmes gets old-timey on the hammered dulcimer in a new work, Heart, by Cassie Wieland.

Supercellist Ashley Bathgate is an ultra-dynamic performer with a magical sound. Here she plays Orison for solo cello and electronics by Robert Honstein, from her titanic recent commissioning and recording project ASH.

Eileen Mack is a new music warrior, clarinetist, and co-founder of Newspeak. Here she’ll play a work that was written for her - Anna Clyne’s elegant Rapture, for solo clarinet, pre-recorded materials, and live processing.

Violinist Todd Reynolds is a virtuoso – not just of the violin but of a host of electronic gear that he uses to expand the horizon of what a violinist can be. Because of this, Todd has become the violinist of choice for a generation of composers.  He will premiere a new work for violin and electronics by Dai Wei, commissioned for this very performance. 

Piano powerhouse and long-time Bang on a Can collaborator Lisa Moore plays Ishi’s Song - Martin Bresnick's reliquary for a song sung by Ishi, the last surviving member of a Native American tribe, who died without telling anyone what the words meant.

Founding and current Bang on a Can All-Star bassist Robert Black tours the world constantly creating unheard of music for the solo double bass. Matched here with bandmate/composer Ken Thomson, Robert premieres a brand new composition. 

Exceptional and incomparable cellist Maya Beiser has singularly reinvented solo cello performance through her virtuosity, eclectic repertoire (most of it commissioned by her or for her), her rock-star charisma, and her passion for new ideas. Here she plays Hellhound, David T. Little’s earth-shaking homage to legendary bluesman Robert Johnson.

Percussion legend Steven Schick plays, speaks, and sings Toucher - Vinko Globokar’s one person realization of Berthold Brecht’s play Life of Galileo.

Ace violinist Tim Fain has been on the forefront of numerous boundary busting virtual reality music projects. He is also widely recognized as a featured soloist in the Philip Glass Ensemble’s concert version of Glass’ legendary Einstein on the Beach, especially Knee Play 2, which he performs regularly in live duo format with Philip Glass and in this instance - solo.

Bang on a Can All-Star percussionist-drummer-producer David Cossin is a superstar specialist in new and experimental music. Composer Molly Joyce has brand new music for him to premiere. 

Claire Chase is many things – an amazing flutist, an entrepreneur, an organizer, an activist.  Steve Reich’s Vermont Counterpoint needs a player who can be many things – it is scored for solo flutist playing all different sizes of flute, along with 7 other pre-recorded versions of herself.

Originally from China, composer Dai Wei’s musical journey navigates in the spaces between east and west, classical and pop, electronic and acoustic, innovation and tradition. Her newly commissioned electro-acoustic work for violinist Todd Reynolds will be premiered here and now. 

Vicky Chow, pianist of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, has fast fingers.  And she needs them in John AdamsChina Gates.  John wrote this piece in 1977, one of his first to match process music with the technical abilities of the virtuosi of Western classical music, and it has been a repertory piece ever since.

About Bang on a Can: 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 new composers, performs, presents, and records new work, 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. Bang on a Can plays “a central role in fostering a new kind of audience that doesn’t concern itself with boundaries. If music is made with originality and integrity, these listeners will come.” (The New York Times)

Bang on a Can has grown from a one-day New York-based Marathon concert (on Mother’s Day in 1987 in a SoHo art gallery) to a multi-faceted performing arts organization with a broad range of year-round international activities. “When we started Bang on a Can, we never imagined that our 12-hour marathon festival of mostly unknown music would morph into a giant international organization dedicated to the support of experimental music, wherever we would find it,” write Bang on a Can Co-Founders Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe. “But it has, and we are so gratified to be still hard at work, all these years later. The reason is really clear to us – we started this organization because we believed that making new music is a utopian act – that people needed to hear this music and they needed to hear it presented in the most persuasive way, with the best players, with the best programs, for the best listeners, in the best context. Our commitment to changing the environment for this music has kept us busy and growing, and we are not done yet.”

In addition to its festivals LOUD Weekend at MASS MoCA and LONG PLAY, current projects include The People's Commissioning Fund, a membership program to commission emerging composers; the Bang on a Can All-Stars, who tour to major festivals and concert venues around the world every year; recording projects; the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at MASS MoCA, a professional development program for young composers and performers led by today’s pioneers of experimental music; Asphalt Orchestra, Bang on a Can’s extreme street band that offers mobile performances re-contextualizing unusual music; Found Sound Nation, a new technology-based musical outreach program now partnering with the State Department of the United States of America to create OneBeat, a revolutionary, post-political residency program that uses music to bridge the gulf between young American musicians and young musicians from developing countries; cross-disciplinary collaborations and projects with DJs, visual artists, choreographers, filmmakers and more. Each new program has evolved to answer specific challenges faced by today’s musicians, composers and audiences, in order to make innovative music widely accessible and wildly received. Bang on a Can’s inventive and aggressive approach to programming and presentation has created a large and vibrant international audience made up of people of all ages who are rediscovering the value of contemporary music. For more information about Bang on a Can, please visit