Bang on a Can

color hoto of brick building with street sign in front reading Desbrosses Street
publicity photo / Courtesy of Cantaloupe Music

The story of Desbrosses Street, in Lower Manhattan, is a story of a warehouse district turned into apartments, of people taking up residence in the once abandoned area and forming a neighborhood, of neighbors who live in homes and neighbors who live on the street.

As a 20-something, composer Michael Gordon moved into an abandoned factory on Desbrosses Street in 1981. He has now chronicled decades of his neighborhood’s growth and change, his life and times with friends and conversations with two of his homeless neighbors in Anonymous Man, recently released in a recording by the Philadelphia-based professional choir The Crossing, conducted by Donald Nally.

color photo of the members of Bearthoven sitting on a couch
Jaime Boddorff / Courtesy of Bearthoven

Judging by their instruments – piano, bass and drums – you might think they’re a standard jazz trio. But there’s nothing standard about the contemporary music trio Bearthoven.

Based in Brooklyn, Bearthoven has been making a name during the last seven years as an impassioned catalyst for the creation of new music. The trio returns to Columbus this month to give the world premiere of Mixed Tulips by Michael Gordon, composer and co-founder of the Brooklyn-based new music collective Bang on a Can and the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.

Ten 20th-Century Composers to Check Out - David Lang

Feb 11, 2016
pulitzer.org

Being a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer puts you in a rarified place in the world of music. Samuel Barber and Gian-Carlo Menotti each won two, as did Elliott Carter and Walter Piston. In Jazz, Ornette Coleman and Wynton Marsalis each picked up a Pulitzer. There have been a total of 67 awarded. When you look at the sheer volume of music written since 1943, having one of these on your resume is an amazing feat.

Composition by Committee

Jan 21, 2016
Stephen Taylor

  "That place looks like it was built by a committee."

"A camel is a horse designed by a committee."

"This committee has decided we need to hire a consultant."

"If you want something done right, do it yourself."

While most composers tend to work alone, there seems to be a growing trend of composing consortiums. Orchestras regularly for consortiums to COMMISSION works, but to have a GROUP try to compose a piece of music seems about as likely as getting consensus at a political debate.