Bang on a Can All-Stars, Glass & Riley at Edison

Three of the most esteemed names in contemporary music will come together for a once-in-a-lifetime concert when Bang on a Can All-Stars take the stage with special guests Philip Glass and Terry Riley at Edison Theatre.

The performance, presented by the Edison Theatre OVATIONS! Series, will begin at 8 p.m. May 2.

The program will feature three seminal works of the 1960s. Glass will join the All-Stars for performances of his spare yet deeply influential compositions Music in Fifths and Music in Similar Motion (both 1969). After intermission, Riley will take the stage for his classic In C (1964), a piece that helped launch the minimalist movement.

Bang on a Can All-Stars are among the nation’s premier performers of cutting-edge new music. Part jazz band, part rock band, part postmodern classical ensemble, the group features a unique instrumentation of clarinet, electric guitar, cello, bass, keyboards and percussion. The band comprises six of the finest players from New York’s Bang on a Can Festival, the renowned new music showcase begun in 1987.

The All-Stars first major collaboration came in 1989, and by 1991 their performances had become a regular highlight of the Bang on a Can Festival. In 1994, they released their first CD, Industry, followed by Cheating, Lying, Stealing in 1996.

Other recordings include Music for Airports (1998), Bang on a Can: Steve Reich (2000), Renegade Heaven (2001), Terry Riley “In C” (2001) and Bang on a Can Classic (2002).

In recent years, they also have become active commissioners of new works by emerging and established composers.

Glass has been at the forefront of American music for more than three decades. A graduate of the University of Chicago and the Juilliard School, he spent two years in the early 1960s studying with Nadia Boulanger in Paris, supporting himself by transcribing Ravi Shankar’s Indian music into Western notation.

By the mid-1970s, Glass had created a large repertoire of new music for his performing group, The Philip Glass Ensemble, and for the Mabou Mines Theater Company, which he co-founded.

In recent years, Glass has written music for opera, dance, theater, chamber ensemble, orchestra and film, including scores for Martin Scorsese’s Kundun, Peter Weir’s The Truman Show and Stephen Daldry’s The Hours.

In 2003, he premiered the opera The Sound of a Voice with David Henry Hwang; created the score to Errol Morris’ film The Fog of War; and released the CD Etudes for Piano Vol. I, No. 1-10. He is working on Orion, a work for ensemble and world musicians commissioned by the 2004 Athens Cultural Olympiad.

Riley, a native of California, studied under North Indian raga vocalist Pandit Pran Nath and has collaborated extensively with David Harrington, founder and leader of the Kronos Quartet, whom he met while teaching at Mills College in the 1970s.

Riley’s epic five-quartet cycle Salome Dances for Peace was selected as the best classical album of the year by USA Today and was nominated for a Grammy.

Riley has received countless commissions and has written for groups as diverse as the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, the Rova Saxophone Quartet, Array Music, Zeitgeist, the Steven Scott Bowed Piano Ensemble, The California E.A.R. unit, guitarist David Tanenbaum, The Assad Brothers, the Abel Steinberg-Winant Trio, pianist Werner Bartschi and the Amati Quartet.

Recently, The Sunday Times of London listed Riley as “one of the 1,000 makers of the 20th Century.”

Edison Theatre programs are supported by the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency, and the Regional Arts Commission, St. Louis.

Tickets — $28 for the general public; $23 for seniors, students and University faculty and staff; and $14 for WUSTL students and children under 12 — are available at the Edison Theatre Box Office and through all MetroTix outlets.

For more information, call 935-6543.

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