Bang on a Can Marathon




Asphalt Orchestra performs at the Philadelphia Bang on a Can Marathon, presented by FringeArts in 2010. Photo by JJ Tiziou.

FringeArts partnered with Bang on a Can to present Philadelphia's first Bang on a Can Marathon at its 2010 festival. The marathon, which has visited cities ranging from New York City (its home base and city of inception back in 1987) to London, Amsterdam, and Hamburg, and was first devised by Bang on a Can founders David Lang, Julia Wolfe, and Michael Gordon in the early 1980s, as a platform for composers who were not strictly defined by genre or style. The 12-hour concert, an exploration of contemporary American compositional currents, featured internationally prominent ensembles along with leaders in the Philadelphia experimental and world music communities: the Asphalt Orchestra, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, Don Byron (clarinet), Uri Caine (piano) with Bedrock, Kyaw Kyaw Naing (Burmese percussion), Normal Love, So Percussion, Spoken Hand Percussion Orchestra, Sun Ra Arkestra, and The Crossing. The Philadelphia Inquirer lauded the results of the daylong performance, writing, "If anything was clear at the end, it was that Bang on a Can wants to be in Philadelphia. The marathon simply wasn't a New York import, but a collaboration that consciously embraced locally based groups."