The New Music Bassoon Commissioning Fund is a joint commissioning project. It started as a result of my deep interest in American new music as well as my passion for a more expansive contemporary bassoon repertoire. Although there have been a small number of consortium commissions for bassoonists in the past, it is my hope that this project will provide a new angle to our contemporary repertoire. The purpose of this website is to provide as much information as possible about the current commission. I will regularly update this site during the process so that all participants are kept up to date. Please feel free to contact me with questions or suggestions about this project.


Rushes (2012) by Michael Gordon
for seven bassoons



Michael Gordon (b. 1956) was raised in an Eastern European community on the outskirts of Managua, moving to Miami when he was eight. Gordon's compositions demonstrate a deep exploration into the possibilities and nature of rhythm and what happens when rhythms are piled on top of each other, creating a glorious confusion. John Adams, who has conducted Gordon's works with the London Sinfonietta and the Ensemble Modern Orchestra, calls these raw and complicated sounds "irrational rhythms." Michael Gordon's interest in adding dimensionality to the concert experience has led to frequent collaborations with other artists. In 'Decasia', a multimedia orchestral work with films by Bill Morrison and spectacle by Ridge Theater, the audience stands in the middle of a three-tiered, triangular structure surrounded by 55 musicians and large projection scrims. 'Decasia' was recently featured at the Los Angeles Philharmonic's Minimalist Jukebox Festival. His work 'Gotham' explores the rich imagery of New York City with large sonic textures and Morrison's stunning film employing vintage footage.

Gordon's other orchestral works include 'Rewriting Beethoven's Seventh Symphony' - a radical reworking of the original, commissioned by the 2006 Beethoven Festival in Bonn and premiered by Jonathon Nott and the Bamberger Symphony; and 'Sunshine of your Love' - a sonic onslaught for over 100 instruments divided into four microtonally tuned groups - that toured to 7 European capitals in 1999. His interest in the mysterious line between dissonance and consonance has lead him to create works that distort traditional classical instruments with electronic effects and guitar pedals, including 'Potassium' for Kronos and 'Industry' for cellist Maya Beiser. Also for Kronos, 'The Sad Park' uses as its subject the voices of child witnesses to 9-11 and is part of their program Awakening.

Works for music theater and opera include 'What To Wear' - his recent collaboration with director Richard Foreman, which recently premiered at the RedCat Theater in Los Angeles. Other works include 'Aquanetta', about the 1940s B-Movie starlet, for Oper Aachen; 'Lost Objects', an Oratorio for Baroque Orchestra in collaboration with David Lang, Julia Wolfe and director Francois Girard, which was seen at the 2004 Next Wave Festival at BAM; and 'Van Gogh', vocal settings from the letters of Vincent Van Gogh, recorded by Alarm Will Sound, soon to be released on Cantaloupe Music.

Other recordings include 'Light is Calling' (Nonesuch) which was named one of the top CDs of 2004 by the New York Times, 'Weather' (Nonesuch) an hour long work for strings performed by Ensemble Resonanz, and 'Trance' (Cantaloupe) for the dynamic British group Icebreaker.

Gordon's music has been used by a wide spectrum of dance companies including the Royal Ballet, the Stuttgart Ballet, Wayne McGregor/Random Dance Company, and Emio Greco/PC.

Recent projects include a new work for the Los Angeles Philharmonic (January 12 - 13, 2008); 'Lighting at our feet', a music/theater work in collaboration with Ridge Theater based on the words of Emily Dickinson (BAM Next Wave December 9 - 13, 2008); and 'popopera', a collaboration with the Dutch based dance troup Emio Greco/PC. Gordon is co-founder of the internationally acclaimed music collective Bang on a Can.

For more information including CDs from Michael Gordon please visit Cantaloupe Music.