Bang on a Can Announces
Third Bang on a Can Marathon Live Online!

Sunday, August 16, 2020 from 3-9pm ET

Six Hours of LIVE Music at

Note: An embed code for the Bang on a Can Marathon livestream will be available to press upon request, to allow for hosting the livestream on your site.

Brooklyn, NY — Bang on a Can will present its third Bang on a Can Marathon – Live Online – on Sunday, August 16, 2020 from 3-9pm ET. On its first two live online Marathons (May 3 and June 14) Bang on a Can has presented over 50 performances including 13 new commissions and dozens of composers and performers. Bang on a Can plans to continue these Marathons, streaming online at, until performances for live audiences can fully resume. 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:

On August 16, Bang on a Can returns with 6 hours of nonconformist, noncommercial, boundary-smashing music. We kick off at 3pm with the singular and extraordinary Wu Man, one of the world’s foremost Pipa players and close off with György Ligeti’s diabolical etude ‘The Devil’s Staircase’, performed by piano superstar Jeremy Denk. Don’t miss a rare solo performance by jazz legend Oliver Lake, 11 world premieres commissioned especially for the day, as well as music and performances by Leyla McCalla, Kaki King, Annea Lockwood, Craig Taborn, Missy Mazzoli, Tyondai Braxton and many more greats.

This is a free concert! But please consider purchasing a ticket! Doing so will help us to do more performances, pay more players, commission more composers, and share more music worldwide.


We continue to support the work to eradicate racism and to create equal justice for all. Bang on a Can is donating 10% of all tickets purchased to the Equal Justice Initiative in support of their “commitment to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment in the United States, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting the basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in American society.

An entire ecosystem of composers and performers still needs our attention, and our love, and our financial support! The Marathon will be free to stream and all Marathon performers and composers participating live are being compensated by Bang on a Can.

A core feature of the program will be 11 world premieres of newly commissioned works:

Annika Socolofsky New Work (world premiere) performed by Arlen Hlusko

Brad Lubman New Work (world premiere) performed by Lauren Radnofsky

Dobrinka Tabakova New Work (world premiere) performed by Vicky Chow

Fjóla Evans New Work (world premiere) performed by Kendall Williams

Jeffrey Brooks New Work (world premiere) performed by Mark Stewart

Nick Dunston New Work (world premiere) performed by Robert Black

Nicole Mitchell New Work (world premiere) performed by Ken Thomson

Rajna Swaminathan New Work (world premiere) performed by herself

Samson Young New Work (world premiere) performed by David Cossin

Shara Nova New Work (world premiere) performed by herself

Teddy Abrams New Work (world premiere) performed by himself


Bang on a Can Marathon August 16, 2020 featuring: 

Wu Man, György Ligeti, Annika Socolofsky, Brad Lubman, Dobrinka Tabakova, Fjóla Evans, Jeffrey Brooks, Nick Dunston, Nicole Mitchell, Rajna Swaminathan, Samson Young, Shara Nova, Teddy Abrams, Annea Lockwood, Craig Taborn, Kaki King, Jacob Cooper, Leyla McCalla, Marcos Balter, Missy Mazzoli, Oliver Lake, Paola Prestini, Phil Kline, Scott Wollschleger, Tyondai Braxton, Arlen Hlusko, Dan Tepfer, David Cossin, Jeffrey Zeigler, Jeremy Denk, Jodie Landau, Karl Larson, Ken Thomson, Kendall Williams, Lauren Radnofsky, Mark Stewart, Olivia De Prato, Rebekah Heller, Robert Black, Sarah Cahill, Theo Bleckmann, Vicky Chow

Marathon Program Info 

The Marathon starts at 3pm with Wu Man, one of the foremost pipa players in the world. The pipa is an ancient Chinese stringed instrument and Wu Man has used it as a bridge between musical cultures, frequently collaborating with such artists as the Kronos Quartet, Yo-Yo Ma, Henry Threadgill and Philip Glass.

The Marathon ends with György Ligeti, who was catapulted into the spotlight when Stanley Kubrick – famously and without permission – used his music in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ligeti went on to become a leading light of 20th century modernism, frequently building giant structures by paying close attention to music’s tiniest details. Ligeti’s diabolical etude The Devil’s Staircase will be performed by piano superstar Jeremy Denk. Towards the end of his life Ligeti dedicated himself to writing two books of some of the most exhilarating and difficult piano etudes ever. In this etude – miraculously – the notes always seem always to be going straight up.

Newly Commissioned Works:

Composer and singer Annika Socolofsky makes magical music exploring the seams between folk traditions and new music performance. Here she premieres a piece for cellist Arlen Hlusko.

Brad Lubman is well known to Bang on a Can audiences as the electric and precise conductor of Ensemble Signal and Steve Reich and Musicians (and of our own ‘90s phenomenon Spit Orchestra). He is also a skilled composer and a percussionist, and he premieres a work for cellist Lauren Radnofsky.

Born in Bulgaria and living in England, composer Dobrinka Tabakova’s music is elegant and direct and has a deep emotional power. Here she premieres a new work for pianist Vicky Chow.

Icelandic / Canadian composer Fjóla Evans premieres a new piece for steel pan virtuoso Kendall Williams. Fjóla’s music is lush and meditative. Listening to it is like looking at a landscape – you have to change yourself to be able to see it change.

Jeffrey Brooks is no stranger to Bang on a Can – they commissioned and premiered his ecstatic and mesmerizing The Passion, and we recorded it just last year. As a fan of the electric guitar, his new piece is for double-neck electric guitar to be performed by Bang on a Can All-Star Mark Stewart. 

Composer and bassist Nick Dunston is an up and comer on the avant performance scene in New York, performing non-stop with a who’s who of downtown alternative performance royalty. Nick was a natural to write a new piece for All-Star bassist Robert Black.

Composer, post-jazz afro-futurist and flutist Nicole Mitchell knows how to keep us guessing. Gentle grooves and beautiful tunes? Wild, edgy, flowing textures? She does it all. As does All-Star clarinetist Ken Thomson, who will perform her new work.

Composer and percussionist Rajna Swaminathan is a virtuosa of the mrudangam – the double sided South Indian drum. She uses it here to add wild beats to the premiere of a new work for her to play and sing.

Composer, visual artist, and activist Samson Young is from Hong Kong. His attention to the sonic environments of music led him to create large-scale art installations, in which sound was one component, and which in turn led him to think about the larger social surroundings of the art and the sounds. He has written a new piece for All-Star percussionist David Cossin.

Avant songstress Shara Nova – aka My Brightest Diamond – sings a new song, commissioned especially for this marathon, for herself!

Teddy Abrams is a quadruple threat as a composer, conductor, pianist and clarinetist. As the widely acclaimed conductor of the Louisville Symphony and the Britt Orchestra, he is a tireless advocate for the power of music and one of his generation’s great musical personalities. We’ve asked Teddy to write a new piece for himself to play on clarinet? Or piano? Or maybe something else altogether.

The Marathon also includes:

80-years-young New Zealand-born composer Annea Lockwood has always lived at the forefront of musical experimentation. From her early pieces crafting instruments out of glass to lighting pianos on fire to taking a tape recorder down the length of the Hudson River, she has relentlessly searched for music in places where we don’t usually expect to find it. For this performance, Bay Area pianist Sarah Cahill performs Lockwood’s RCSC.

Composer, pianist, ECM Artist Craig Taborn is one of the giants of piano improvisation working today. Although he comes out of a jazz tradition he pushes relentlessly the ‘free’ in ‘free jazz’ – his improvisations have the freedom to change, at a moment’s notice, from jazzy melody to edgy minimalism to breathless propulsion and angular energy.

Composer / guitarist Kaki King plays her instrument like none other. Her performances are an explosion of percussive plucking and ambidextrous tapping, somehow managing to send melodies and counter-melodies and rhythms and counter-rhythms flying all over the instrument, at once.

Jacob Cooper meticulously sculpts his delicate, ambient soundscapes out of live and electronic sources. Then he writes soft melodies that float over them, for singers with buttery voices. Here, young phenom Jodie Landau sings the radio edit of his song Expiation from Cooper’s new album Terrain.

The music of composer, singer and multi-instrumentalist Leyla McCalla is a wild mix of many influences. In her songs you can hear her training in Western classical music, her Haitian background, her research into American and Creole roots music has led to a vibrant solo career as well as collaborations including the project Songs of our Native Daughters and her time as a member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops.

Iconoclastic Brazilian-American composer Marcos Balter brings his spirit of visceral invention to …and also a fountain, in which ultra-bassoonist Rebekah Heller sings, speaks, plays percussion and – of course – bassoon.

Missy Mazzoli is a composer, and pianist in New York. For the past few years she has been setting the opera world on fire, with her smart, dramatic and passionate music. She is also the founder / leader of the avant-ambient band Victoire. Tonight’s soloist, Olivia De Prato, will be performing the prayerful Vespers for Violin.

Oliver Lake is a jazz legend. Now almost 80 years old, he has been pushing the boundaries of experimental composition for many years now. A founder of the pioneering World Saxophone Quartet – (we still remember their amazing performance on the 1989 Bang on a Can Marathon!) – he has added his piercing, searching saxophone to projects with an awesome spectrum of musical collaborators.

Paola Prestini is one of New York’s most active musical citizens. As a composer she is known for her warm, intricate works but she is also active as a composer advocate, as an entrepreneur, and as a founder and artistic director of New York’s vital music venue National Sawdust. For this performance, Jeffrey Zeigler will play Paula’s sonically alluring From the Bones to the Fossils for solo cello and electronics.

Phil Kline is a composer, guitarist, and installation artist. His holiday parade piece Unsilent Night, for wandering hordes of boombox players, is one of the music world’s longest running traditions, taking place every year in hundreds of cities around the globe. His work often has a political edge, and his frequent collaborator in his political works is tonight’s performer, vocalist Theo Bleckmann, who will be performing two new songs, The Best Words, accompanied on tape by violinist Todd Reynolds; and The Moral Lobe, accompanied live by pianist Dan TepferThe Best Words are “a setting of slurred words and garbled phrases uttered by our so-called President,” and The Moral Lobe features a “text taken from an Evangelical Christian lecture about the immorality of syncopation.”

Scott Wollschleger’s Tiny Oblivion, for solo piano, will be performed by Karl Larson. This quiet gem of a piece is a movement taken from Scott’s detailed, introspective and oddly moving evening length ensemble work American Dream.

Composer Tyondai Braxton can’t be pinned down into any one musical genre. Co-founder of the exalted math rock band Battles, he burst onto the written music scene with his psychedelic 2009 orchestra work Central Market – a wild blur of a piece, in which all genres of music overlap and coexist.

Arlen Hlusko is a brilliant cellist with a powerful sound and a deep commitment to community engagement through music. Folk-influenced composer and singer Annika Socolofsky brings her a brand new piece.

Dan Tepfer is a super-inquisitive and expressive pianist and composer deeply rooted in jazz and improvisation. He will accompany singer Theo Bleckmann on a new song The Moral Lobe, by Phil Kline.

Bang on a Can All-Star percussionist-drummer-producer David Cossin is a superstar specialist in new and experimental music. Composer/visual artist/activist Samson Young, from Hong Kong, offers him a new piece to premiere for this performance.

Cellist Jeffrey Zeigler is a powerfully independent performer with an extraordinary sound. Here he plays From the Bones to the Fossils for solo cello and electronics by Paola Prestini, from his 2018 album The Sound of Science.

Jeremy Denk is one of the world’s foremost pianists, and as a writer he is one of classical music’s most respected critical thinkers. His recording of the Ligeti Etudes on Nonesuch was on many best-of-the-year lists, including The New Yorker, NPR and the Washington Post. Here he performs György Ligeti’s diabolical etude The Devil’s Staircase. 

Jodie Landau is a composer-singer-percussionist and a member of the acclaimed LA-based music collective Wild Up. He’ll be singing the radio edit of Jacob Cooper’s song Expiation from Cooper’s new album Terrain.

Longtime collaborator with Bang on a Can, pianist Karl Larson is fiercely dedicated to commissioning and performing cutting-edge music as both a soloist and a founding member of his trio Bearthoven. Here he plays Tiny Oblivion, for solo piano by composer Scott Wollschleger.

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. He’ll play a new work by post-jazz afro-futurist Nicole Mitchell.

Visionary steel pan performer and composer Kendall Williams is passionately dedicated to showcasing the steel pan for the virtuous instrument it is. On the Marathon he’ll present the world premiere of a new work by Fjóla Evans. 

Supercellist Lauren Radnofsky is a long-time friend of Bang on a Can and a major contributor to the American music scene for over a decade as the founding Co-Artistic/Executive Director and cellist of Ensemble Signal. Here she premieres a brand new work by composer-conductor Brad Lubman.

Bang on a Can All-Star and musical wizard Mark Stewart is a virtuoso guitarist, singer, instrument inventor, who plucks, bows, beats, and breathes life into countless sound-making devices. Here he takes on a new commission for electric double-neck guitar by composer Jeffrey Brooks.

Ace violinist Olivia De Prato is a long-time friend of Bang on a Can and co-founder of Mivos Quartet. Also a member of the ensemble Victoire with composer Missy Mazzoli, here she will play a solo version of Mazzoli’s Vespers for Violin.

Rebekah Heller, ultra-bassoonist and core member of International Contemporary Ensemble, sings, speaks, plays percussion and – of course – bassoon, in a wild piece,…and also a fountain, by the iconoclastic Brazilian-American composer Marcos Balter.

Founding and current Bang on a Can All-Star bassist Robert Black tours the world constantly unearthing unheard-of music for the solo double bass. For this Marathon he’ll be performing a new work by composer and bassist Nick Dunston.

Pianist Sarah Cahill is a true new music warrior, having brought to life countless new works by dozens of composers through avid commissioning and an insatiable curiosity for new ideas. One such commission is Annea Lockwood’s RCSC, written for her in 2001, which she’ll perform here.

Singer and composer Theo Bleckmann makes music that is accessibly sophisticated, unsentimentally emotional, and seriously playful. For this broadcast he will debut two new songs by Phil Kline – The Best Words, with tape accompaniment by Todd Reynolds, violin; and The Moral Lobe, accompanied live by Dan Tepfer, piano.

Vicky Chow, powerhouse pianist of the Bang on a Can All-Stars, premieres a new piece by the Bulgarian composer Dobrinka Tabakova.

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. Bang on a Can has also recently launched its new digital archive, CANLAND, an extensive archive of its recordings, videos, posters, program books, and more. Thirty-three years of collected music and associated ephemera have been digitized and archived online and is publicly accessible in its entirety at For more information about Bang on a Can, please visit

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