We are delighted to be premiering a new piece by Michael Gordon, a special commission from Kilkenny Arts Festival which he has written especially for us with funding from the Arts Council of Ireland. Michael Gordon is one of the most exciting composers in the United States, and has been for quite some time now. Along with his colleagues David Lang and Julia Wolfe (also his wife) he founded the now infamous Bang On A Can collective in New York City in the late 1980s. Their annual marathons are now something of a legend, and with the passing years they have diversified into setting up a number of ensembles (Bang On A Can All-Stars, Asphalt Orchestra) along with a well-regarded summer school in Massachusetts.
Gordon first made his name as a composer with a number of pieces that literally bubbled over with polyrhythmic energy, often involving quite irrational complex rhythms but presented in a way that had an irrepressible allure. Chief among these works is his ebullient Yo Shakespeare (written for the English group Icebreaker). This piece opened up his music to a wider audience in Europe. He has since written a lot of his larger pieces especially for European ensembles, including the very impressive Decasia (2001) for Basel Sinfonietta and more recently the trance-like Timber (2009) for The Percussion Group of the Hague. In 2003 he made a new version of his Van Gogh Opera especially for a Crash Ensemble performance in Dublin, and we are now thrilled that he is adding to his catalogue with a brand new work.