Survey: Bang on a Can

Posted August 05, 2010 by Anonymous
Part 1.
Year Founded: 
1c. Organization's annual budget.: 
$750,001 - $1,000,000
1b. Primary activity[ies] of the organization.: 
Presenting Organization
Part 2.
2a. Mission Statement: 
Bang on a Can is dedicated to commissioning, performing, creating, presenting and recording contemporary music. With an ear for the bold and unconventional, Bang on a Can believes in exposing exciting new music as broadly and accessibly as possible. And through its Summer Institute, Bang on a Can hopes to bring this energy and passion for innovation to a younger generation of composers and players.
2b. Organization History / Organizational Overview. Index of important events in organization's history.: 
Bang on a Can is dedicated to commissioning, performing, creating, presenting and recording contemporary music. With an ear for the bold and unconventional, Bang on a Can believes in exposing exciting new music as broadly and accessibly as possible. And through its Summer Institute, Bang on a Can hopes to bring this energy and passion for innovation to a younger generation of composers and players. Our resident ensemble, the Bang on a Can All-Stars, performs a unique repertoire that reflects a multiplicity of musical genres and traditions. The core of our annual and bi-annual activities is our New York City season that includes: our Marathon, an acclaimed day-long festival of contemporary music introducing local audiences to the work of over 50 artists per Marathon (nearly 1,000 to date) from around the world; our annual People’s Commissioning Fund (PCF) Week featuring performances of new works by emerging and experimental composers commissioned for the All-Stars by hundreds of our supporters; our frequent concerts, which occur at BAM , Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall, Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Miller Theater, and/or Symphony Space; and free concerts at venues from the Cooper-Hewitt Museum to the “Celebrate Brooklyn” festival in Prospect Park. In addition to our New York City season, our annual program includes more than 30 performances at various festivals and music venues here and abroad. We regularly commission new work, release recordings and feature our performances on radio, television and web broadcasts. Each year, we collaborate with WNYC-FM on the production of broadcasts of our concerts on its pioneering show "New Sounds" (reaching more than 100,000 New Yorkers). We’ve presented our online festival of experimental music, the e-Festival, on our website at And we continue to expand our Summer Institute of Music at MASS MoCA, the first national residency program for gifted young composers and performers interested in experimental music. Our organization continues to grow, reaching out to new, previously untapped audiences around the world Each year, our performances and broadcasts are heard by approximately 150,000 New Yorkers and listeners in the tri-state area and an additional 100,000 people worldwide.
2c. Exhibition / Programming / Publishing History.: 
Everything that Bang on a Can has accomplished has come out of a single focused intention – to improve the world of new and experimental music. In 1987 and fresh out of graduate school, composers Michael Gordon, David Lang and Julia Wolfe were disappointed by the state of contemporary music. They began a series of informal conversations in which they tried to identify the obstacles standing in the way of creating a healthy musical community. They asked a lot of questions, some of which were: 1. Is it helpful to have music sorted by style or genre? Is there a better way to group musical ideas? 2. Why are more conservative works programmed than experimental works? 3. Why do music schools not teach experimental music, or encourage experimental thinking? 4. Why are unknown musicians treated worse than famous musicians? 5. What are the forces that discourage composers and musicians in different musical genres from knowing about each other? From working together? 6. Why is new music attracting a smaller audience than other forms & contemporary art forms? All the things that Bang on a Can does today – presenting, commissioning, performing & touring, educating – are still focused on removing the institutional obstacles we first noticed in 1987. Presenting - The Marathon-Festival Since 1987, The Marathon-Festival has served a special function in the music world – it presents such a wide range of styles, genres and musical attitudes that it demonstrates how many musical options are available right now, how many compelling and contradictory voices there are, how much innovation is happening, how much is possible. The Marathon-Festival promotes an optimistic vision of the world, and that optimism itself is one of the Marathon’s most significant contributions. 18 years, nearly 1,000 pieces, more than 500 performers and nearly 200 composers later, the Bang on a Can Marathon-Festival is still the premiere concert of its kind, drawing thousands of concert-goers and tens of thousands of radio listeners to each event. We have enclosed a list of past programs so that you can see the vast artistic significance and scope of our Marathon-Festivals. Commissioning Bang on a Can spends a tremendous amount of energy searching for new music. We are constantly listening, constantly seeking, and constantly finding new things to present. For many years we have had an open call for proposals, which has resulted in thousands of hours of music sent to us, and has resulted in many performances and commissions. We also have various networks of official and semi-official advisors who report to us what they have heard. Significantly, we have developed two successful strategies to find new work – the first is to look at all the musical communities that are near ours and find out who is innovating within them. This has led us to work closely with composers from the avant-jazz community (Ornette Coleman, Cecil Taylor, Don Byron, Henry Threadgil, etc.), the experimental pop world (Brian Eno, members of Sonic Youth, Glenn Branca, etc.), innovators in world music (Kyaw Kyaw Naing from Burma, Hassan Hakmoun from Morocco, Ivo Papasov from Bulgaria, etc), the electronica world (Scanner, DJ Spooky, Nobukazu Takemura, etc.), and such unclassifiable performance artists as Meredith Monk and Christian Marclay. In the mid-1990’s we recognized that it was becoming harder to find commissioning money for young, emerging, or outsider composers. Composers just starting out, or experimenting in a new musical area, frequently lack the credentials that funding organizations look for when evaluating grants, and yet is was just these kinds of composers we felt we had a mandate to include. In order to raise money to make such inclusion possible, we created the People’s Commissioning Fund (PCF). The PCF radically reinvents the idea of arts patronage by pooling together more than a hundred individual contributions to create 3 or 4 new works each year to be performed in New York City, in a high profile world premiere. This fund gives Bang on a Can the freedom to invite interesting composers to join our world. Young jazzers like Matthew Shipp, young performance artists like Pamela Z, young blues artists like John King, young world music personalities like Sussan Deyhim, young rockers like Jim Thirlwell, young academicians like Keeril Maken - since 1997, PCF commissions have been offered to 20 innovative composers whose works generated press and recognition from presenters and audiences worldwide Not only do we ask the members of the PCF to fund these works, but we create special opportunities for the PCF members to meet informally the composers and the performers. The commission is meaningful to the composer but it is a powerful doorway to the music for the PCF members. Performing Bang on a Can formed the Bang on a Can All-Stars in 1992 to create an ideal, virtuosic, flexible and dynamic ensemble that could perform the diverse range of styles and genres that make up Bang on a Can’s mission. The Bang on a Can All-Stars are clearly a chamber group in the broadest sense. They are accomplished enough to have been named Musical America’s Ensemble of the Year for 2005, but the members’ passion for experimental music, and their facility with a wide range of styles, has allowed the group to perform an amazing range of work, from influential seldom-performed contemporary classics to collaborations with composers from across the spectrum of the music world. The Bang on a Can All-Stars are a six-member ensemble of virtuosic musicians: Robert Black, bass; David Cossin, percussion; Lisa Moore, piano; Mark Stewart, electric guitar; Wendy Sutter, cello; and Evan Ziporyn, clarinet. With each new composition and performance, these musicians extend themselves artistically, and through years of performing they have become a tight, cohesive unit dedicated to each other and to the music. The Bang on a Can All-Stars have worked closely with such luminaries as Louis Andreissen, Ornette Coleman, Philip Glass, Meredith Monk, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Brian Eno and Cecil Taylor, as well as with acclaimed composers of a younger generation, such as Don Byron, Scott Johnson, Phil Kline, Lois Vierk, and Evan Ziporyn. The Bang on a Can All-Stars’ current ’05/’06 touring plans include more than 30 concerts in a dozen countries. The All-Stars will be premiering, touring and recording new work by Martin Bresnick Don Byron, Iva Bittova and others. We will be represented through radio, television, and web broadcasts across the US and abroad. The group is also the core faculty at our Summer Institute of Music, the nation’s first professional development program for young composers and performers interested in experimental music. The All-Stars teach classes, perform pieces and provide one-on-one coaching for more than 30 instrumental, composition and conducting students. All-told, we estimate that a minimum of 100,000 listeners will hear the group in FY06. Recording From the very first Marathons, we have meticulously archived the one-of-a-kind performances that have marked our 18-year history. Because a large part of our mission is to bring this music to an ever-greater audience, we have sought to find the best partners to distribute and market the recordings of our work. We broadcast our concerts and recordings in America, on the BBC in England, on Dutch Radio and in Germany, and we have made them into webcasts as part of the programming of our own website. And we have a long history of releasing recordings on CD. In 1992 we entered into an arrangement with the record label CRI to release three CD’s of highlights from the Bang on a Can Marathons. The point of these CD’s was to make available first recordings of music by young and emerging composers. Bang on a Can- 1,2 and 3 represented our earliest attempt to bring the Marathon concert to a worldwide audience, and these albums received wonderful press and much attention within the growing Bang audience. While this series was being complied the Bang on a Can All-Stars were approached by Sony Classical to make a two CD series of their own. 1995’s Industry and 1996’s Cheating, Lying and Stealing proved that the All-Stars were capable of translating their energy and expertise to the recording studio. We have since bought back the masters to these records and re-released them oureselves as Bang on a Can – Classics. In 2001, we took the bold step of creating a label of our own, Cantaloupe Music, and we released five records that first year to overwhelming critical acclaim. Since it’s very first year, Cantaloupe has consistently landed its releases on the Best CDs of the Year lists in publications from the New York Times to Time Out and the Washington Post. The Cantaloupe catalog includes important works by Terry Riley (In C), Glenn Branca, Steve Reich, Julia Wolfe, Michael Gordon, David Lang, Toby Twining, Arnold Dreyblatt, Louis Andriessen, Frederic Rzewski, Evan Ziporyn, Phil Kline, Paul Lansky, Philip Glass, Nobukazu Takemura, Luke DuBois, Iva Bittova, Kyaw Kyaw Naing and dozens of other composers associated with our Marathon-Festivals. Teaching - The Bang on a Can Summer Institute and Festival at MASS MoCA Since the summer of 2002, Bang on a Can has hosted and run the Summer Institute at MASS MoCA, a three-week festival of learning and playing, with two different daily concerts, weekly special guests, and its own Summer Marathon. The marriage of this internationally respected art museum and our innovative approach to new music has been heavenly, and plans are now in place to ensure the Summer Institute has a long and healthy life. As with all of our activities, the goals of the Summer Institute mirror the goals of Bang on a Can. The Summer Institute is intended to create an environment that fosters experimentation and originality among the students and faculty. It teaches a wide range of important techniques, trends, history and skills that are necessary for the performance, appreciation and promotion of contemporary music. It creates a more cohesive spirit of collaboration between the worlds of contemporary music and contemporary art – collaboration both between the musicians and artists, and between music and art audiences. As our host, MASS MoCA provides Bang on a Can with housing, rehearsal and performance spaces, production support, as well as with regional marketing and publicity. In turn, we bring to MASS MoCA innovative music programming that features world-class performers and composers. We conduct an extensive national and international outreach to increase visibility for the program and attract new fellows for the school and new audiences for both of our organizations. The collaboration between Bang on a Can and MASS MoCA is a year-round project that includes extensive planning as well as thorough evaluation of the residence. The residency is an intense, visceral, hands-on immersion in contemporary music, whose participants get instruction and guidance from the great musicians they admire and who have influenced their work. Six days a week we perform concerts in the galleries at 1:00 and 4:30, drawing unlikely combinations of art-lovers and music-listeners to unique environments throughout the museum. From daily rehearsals to private coaching sessions; from performance and composition seminars to classes in the business realities of a life in music-making; from groups focusing on Balinese music to improvisation to Indian ragas and other international forms; the Institute creates an environment conducive to creative experimentation.
Part 3.
3a. Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals:: 
David Lang
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Michael Gordon
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Julia Wolfe
Additional Names and email addresses of Founders, Board Members, Directors or other key individuals: 
Adam Wolfensohn
3b. Could any of these individuals assist in providing an oral history of your organization?: 
Part 4.
4a. Is organization currently active?: 
4b. Year activity suspended if no longer active.: 
Organization Still Active
Part 5.
5a. Type of organization at its founding.: 
Non-Profit [IRS certified]
5b. Type of organization currently, or at the termination of activities.: 
Non-Profit [IRS certified]
Part 6.
6a. Does the organization have an archive?: 
6b. Are there any short or long-term threats to the organization?: 
None / Not Applicable
6c. Other threats to the organization:: 
Are there other threats to your organization? Please describe below.
Part 7.
7a. How important is to the organization to preserve the organization’s historical material. From 1 – Very Important to 5 – Not Important.: 
1. Very Important
7b. Has planning for the preservation and documentation of archive begun?: 
7c. Does the organization know how and where to seek expertise and assistance?: 
7d. Does the organization have specific concerns regarding starting an archive working with its historic materials?: 
Lack of Staff
Part 8.
8a. Is the organization's archives in the collection of another institution or promised to one?: 
8a. Location: 
IF YES to 8: University (Name)
8b. Archival materials are also located at:: 
Where are these locations?: 
Where are these locations? [I.E. Home / Office of Private Individual(s) (i.e. Former Board, Staff, Funders, etc)]
Part 9.
9. Does the organization maintain archives for any other organization.: 
IF YES to 9: 10a. Please describe:
Part 10a.
10a. Is the archive accessible to scholars, curators or researchers?: 
Part 10d.
10d. Would you allow access in the future?: 
Part 10e.
10e. Under what circumstances would access to archives be allowed.: 
Demonstrated need and a reference
Part 11.
The following questions address the historical materials (type, quantity and storage) of the organization. 11a. Paper Files and Documents: 
Artist Files
Exhibition or Production Files
By-laws / Incorporation Documents
Other Paper Files
11b. Artwork and Documentation: 
Audiotapes [Any Format]
Other Audio Recordings (i.e. records, etc.)
CDs / DVDs [Pre-Recorded or CD-R / CD-RW / DVD-R / etc.]
Other Digital Materials
11c. Press and Promotional Materials: 
Announcements, Mailing Cards, etc.
Newspaper / Magazine / Media Clippings
Posters / Flyers
Other Press or Promotional Materials:
11d. Printed Publications: 
Checklists / Performance Programs / Price Lists
Programs of Events
Other Printed Publications
Part 12.
12. What years does the materials cover?: 
Part 13.
13a. How is the material stored?: 
Banker Boxes
File Cabinets
13b. Are some or all of these storage units “archival”?: 
Part 14.
14a. Estimated Number of Boxes or Milk-Crate Sized Storage Units: 
51 - 60
14b. Estimated Number of Archive Drawers: 
91 - 100
14c. Estimated Number of Archive Notebooks: 
14d. Estimated the total Linear Feet. ["Linear Feet" is standard measure of the quantity of archival materials on the basis of shelf space occupied or the length of drawers in vertical files or the thickness of horizontally filed materials. For example, a: 
I don’t know
Part 15.
15. Is the historical materials - or archives - inventoried or catalogued in any way, either formally or otherwise?: 
Part 16.
16a. Is there a key, index or finding aid to the materials inventoried?: 
16b. Paper-based:: 
Not Applicable
16c. Electronic Based:: 
Not Applicable
Part 16 / Electronic Files & Archival Management
16f. Does the organization have a back-up program, or back-up schedule, for its electronic records and perform monitoring of its removable media (i.e. floppies, ZIP disks, CD-ROMs, DVDs, portable hard drives, etc.)?: 
16g. Who is responsible for working with the archival material?: 
General Staff
Part 17.
17. How are new materials processed?: 
No System
Part 18.
18. What, if any, conservation methods are in place for both physical materials and electronic data?: 
None or Limited
Part 19.
19. What type of climate-controls are present in the area[s] in which the archives are stored?: 
Standard office heating / air conditioning / humidity controls running during office hours
Part 20.
20a. What are the goals for the historical materials for the next year?: 
Get started!
20b. What are the biggest challenges to reaching these short-term goals?: 
20c. What goals are in place for the historical materials for the next three to five years?: 
Don’t Know Yet
20d. What are the biggest challenges to reaching these long term goals?: 
Money and Initiative
20e. Are there any additional goals for the organizations historic materials?: 
A documentary?
Part 21.
21. Estimated cost to achieve these archival goals for the next year.: 
$70,001 - $80,000
Part 22.
22. Estimated cost to achieve these archival goals for the next five years.: 
$150,001 - $200,000
Part 24.
24. What archival issues could / should visual arts organizations address collectively in the next three to five years? Ranked from 1 (highest priority) to 5 (lowest priority).24a. Shared standards / protocols for digitization: 
Promote professional standards / protocols for digitization
Part 25.
25a. Is the organization a member of, or in contact with, any organizations concerned with archival issues?: 
Bang on a Can
Who executed this survey.: 
Tim Thomas
Is this survey complete and all appropriate questions answered?: