On June 19 Bang on a Can returns with its incomparable 13-hour FREE super-mix of ear-bending music featuring over 150 astounding musicians and composers from throughout the world, co-presented by the River to River Festival® and arts>World Financial Center!

Be at World Financial Center’s Winter Garden at 11AM (sharp!) for the outdoor kick-off on the plaza featuring the renegade street band Asphalt Orchestra performing music by STEW/Heidi Rodewald and Yoko Ono (and later on music by David Byrne/Annie Clark,Goran BregovicBjörk, Frank Zappa and more).

11am OUTSIDE Asphalt Orchestra performing

Opus 81 by Yoko Ono

Carlton by STEW/ Heidi Rodewald
Queens College Percussion Ensemble with Matthew Welch, bagpipes; Amanda Accardi piano; Michael Lipsey, conductor performing The Self and the Other by Matthew Welch
Flutist Alejandro Escuer performing Códigos secretos *** by Gabriela Ortiz

Moving inside the Winter Garden, 2011’s Marathon will gather significant premieres alongside landmark legendary works: among the many highlights of the day are the explosive Bang on a Can All-Stars teaming up live with Philip Glass to perform the early 70s classic Music in Similar Motion as well as works by a whole new generation including Bryce Dessner of The National and Boston’s Christine Southworth; a rare performance by New York’s legendary Glenn Branca of his massive hour-long work Ascension: The Sequel; the NY premiere of Fausto Romitelli’s theatrical An Index of Metalsperformed by Talea Ensemble (set to top their celebrated premiere of Romitelli’s Professor Bad Trip on last year’s Marathon); the US premiere of the ever inventive Brit Richard Ayres’ Three Small Pieces for String Quartet performed by the ferocious JACK Quartet; Philadelphia’s Prism Saxophone Quartet playingXenakis’ crazy-hard Xas alongside works by young composers Kati Agócs with her meditative Hymn andRoshanne Etezady’s sparkling Keen; the US premiere of Poul Ruders’ brand new Songs and Rhapsodiesperformed by Athelas Wind Ensemble with accordionistFrode Andersen; effervescent composer-singer Toby Twining Music marking its return to New York with a new band of singers and the release of his CD Eurydice; the incomparable and outer-planetary Sun Ra Arkestra; the fearless Signal performing Julia Wolfe’s blistering string orchestra work Cruel Sister also just out on CD; a full set of US premieres by Milan’s unparalleled chamber bandSentieri Selvaggi including music by Carlo BoccadoroFilippo Del CornoMichael Nyman and more; Evan Ziporyn’s beautifully buzzing clarinet quartet HiveYoung People’s Chorus of NYC teaming up with cellist Maya Beiser on Michael Harrison’s meditative Hijaz and then with JACK Quartet for Michael Gordon’s ExaltedDavid Lang’s hard-rocking electric guitar duet Warmth; bagpiper/composer Matthew Welch performing withQueens College Percussion EnsembleAnthony Gatto’s new work for a battery of 19 drummers!; featured virtuosic solo performances by Timo Andres,Alejandro Escuer playing Gabriela OrtizTodd Reynolds, and MORE!

See the full Marathon schedule here!


Asphalt Orchestra premiere new commissions by Yoko Ono, David Byrne & Annie Clark [Lincoln Center, NY, Aug 4-8. FREE]

Asphalt Orchestra on Broadway in a Lincoln Center Out of Doors concert on Wednesday night that began at Alice Tully Hall and included a solo from the reflecting pool.


Not Your Ordinary Marching Band

by Vivien Schweitzer, New York Times, Aug 6th 2010

A casual observer at Lincoln Center on Wednesday evening might have wondered what on earth was going on when a large, eclectic crowd made a frenzied dash across 65th Street, following a ragtag band of musicians who had careened across the road like deranged pied pipers.

The moblike scene occurred during a performance by the rambunctious Asphalt Orchestra, an avant-garde 12-piece marching band presented here by Lincoln Center Out of Doors.

This quirky ensemble, the brainchild of Bang on a Can, marches to an iconoclastic beat, eschewing typical brass-band fare for funky arrangements and inventive new works.

The event began in a comparatively sedate fashion, with the audience seated on the steps in front of Alice Tully Hall, as the ensemble entered from 65th Street and paraded up and down the triangular staircase on the corner of the plaza. The musicians stopped in front of the hall for their first work, “Carlton,” by Stew and Heidi Rodewald. Listeners stayed seated despite the toe-tapping rhythms and ear-catching tunes. At a few points the band shouted out the letters of the song title.

There was an element of performance art throughout the approximately 30-minute show. The musicians played with virtuosic flair while twisting, turning and executing moves choreographed by Susan Marshall and Mark DeChiazza, no easy feat when dealing with complex metric shifts and carrying bulky percussion and brass instruments as large as a sousaphone.

The performance art aspect seemed particularly vivid during the premiere of Yoko Ono’s “Opus 81,” when the trumpeter Stephanie Richards, dressed in shorts and boots, stood alone in Lincoln Center Plaza’s reflecting pool playing a mournful solo. Her colleagues gathered at the edges of the pool, their insistent motifs underpinning Ms. Richards’s elegiac solo.

The action shifted to the grove of trees nearby for the premiere of “Two Ships,” by David Byrne and Annie Clark (who is known as St. Vincent), and Ms. Richards’s arrangement of the sultry “Wild About My Daddy,” by the Laneville-Johnson Union Brass Band.

Some members of the large, appreciative crowd that followed the Asphalt players as they moved through the plaza swayed to the irresistible beats in the lively arrangement of Thomas Mapfumo’s “Ngoma Yekwedu,” by Alex Hamlin, the band’s soprano saxophonist.

The musicians snaked over to the fountain for their final piece, an arrangement by Peter Hess (the group’s tenor saxophonist) of Frank Zappa’s “Zomby Woof.” Patrons waiting for a Mostly Mozart concert to begin at Avery Fisher Hall leaned over the balcony to enjoy a vigorous rendition of the arrangement, with slapstick musical touches, rapidly shifting time signatures and wailing trumpet solos that echoed through the plaza.

The Asphalt Orchestra will give additional free performances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights at various locations at Lincoln Center; lincolncenter.org.

The Asphalt Orchestra is an iconoclastic 12-piece marching band conceived by Bang on a Can who perform ambitious processional music from every corner of the world. Their selections have the ability to coax funk from the funereal and turn a halftime show into a marvel of sophistication.

They return to the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival on August 4th-8th for five jam packed nights of performances featuring new commissions by Yoko OnoDavid Byrne, and Annie Clark (St. Vincent).

Also on the bill is the world premiere of the Paul Taylor-Asphalt Orchestra collaboration of “3 Epitaphs” performed live with Taylor 2 dance company.

Jessica Schmitz: Piccolo, Co-Director
Alex Hamlin: Soprano Saxophone
Ken Thomson: Alto Saxophone, Co-Director
Ben Wendel: Tenor Saxophone
Shane Endsley: Trumpet
Stephanie Richards: Trumpet
Alan Ferber: Trombone
Jen Baker: Trombone
Ken Bentley: Sousaphone
Sunny Jain: Snare Drum
Nick Jenkins: Bass Drum
Yuri Yamashita: Quad Toms

Movement by Susan Marshall and Mark DeChiazza.
Uniforms by Elizabeth Hope Clancy.
Commissioned by Lincoln Center for Lincoln Center Out of Doors.


Broadway Plaza
Wednesday, August 4, 2010 at 7:00pm. FREE.

Hearst Plaza
Thursday, August 5, 2010 at 7:00pm. FREE.

Josie Robertson Plaza
Friday, August 6, 2010 at 7:00pm. FREE.

Hearst Plaza
Saturday, August 7, 2010 at 6:00pm. FREE.

Broadway Plaza
Sunday, August 8, 2010 at 6:00pm. FREE.


Lincoln Center
(212) 721-6500

Asphalt Orchestra

“An iconoclastic 12 piece marching band… part parade spectacle, part halftime show and part cutting-edge contemporary music concert. The playing was coolly brilliant and infectious. And what a scene!”
— Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

Asphalt Orchestra is a radical new street band that brings ambitious processional music to the mobile masses.  Created by the founders of the “relentlessly inventive” new music presenter Bang on a Can (Justin Davidson, NY Magazine), Asphalt Orchestra unleashes innovative music from concert halls, rock clubs and jazz basements and takes it to the streets.

With movement direction from internationally acclaimed choreographer Susan Marshall and costume design by Elizabeth Hope Clancy, the 12-member band brings together some of the most exciting rock, jazz and classical players in New York City: Jessica Schmitz (piccolo), Alex Hamlin, Peter Hess and Ken Thomson (saxophones), Shane Endsley and Stephanie Richards (trumpets), Jen Baker and Alan Ferber (trombones), Kenny Bentley (sousaphone), Sunny Jain, Nick Jenkins and Yuri Yamashita (percussion), who The New York Times have called “12 top-notch brass and percussion players.”

Asphalt Orchestra’s debut performances stretched 5 packed nights at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival and one afternoon at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station in August 2009.  The group premiered new commissions by Tyondai Braxton of Battles, Stew and Heidi Rodewald of The Negro Problem andPassing Strange, and celebrated Balkan musician-composer Goran Bregovic; and arrangements of music by Björk, jazz legend Charles Mingus, Swedish metal pioneers Meshuggah, and eminent American experimental composers Conlon Nancarrow and Frank Zappa.

Featured on the cover of The Philadelphia Inquirer as “not your mother’s marching band,” Asphalt Orchestra has also been praised in The EconomistNew York MagazineThe New York TimesThe Onion, and Time Out New York, as well as interviewed and showcased on WNYC’s “Soundcheck,”Philadelphia Weekly, PBS SundayArts, and Time Out New York’s “The Volume.”

Asphalt Orchestra is a creation of Bang on a Can with founding support from The Rockefeller Foundation’s New York Cultural Innovation Fund and Lincoln Center for Lincoln Center Out of Doors.


Philadelphia Inquirer

“Not your mother’s marching band.”

August 8, 2009 – by David Patrick Stearns – full article


The Economist

“I’ve seen some street bands, but never one as good as the Asphalt Orchestra.”

August 13, 2009 – by Colin Baker – full article



“An iconoclastic 12 piece marching band… part parade spectacle, part halftime show and part cutting-edge contemporary music concert. The playing was coolly brilliant and infectious. And what a scene!”

August 8, 2009 – by Anthony Tommasini – full article


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Photo Credit: © Stephanie Berger