For Immediate Release: February 26, 2019
Contact: Susan Strano, Marketing Director
sstrano@benningtonmuseum.org
802-447-1571 ext. 204

Image: Handmade instruments (drums)

Collage #3571 1/2: A Schonbeck Experience

Are you ready to build your own instrument and then join in the concert? Join us on Saturday, March 9 at 2:00 pm in the Ada Paresky Education Center and Paul Paresky Court of the Bennington Museum, when Nick Brooke (faculty, Bennington College) Webb Crawford (Bennington College graduate) and Mark Stewart (founding member of Bang on a Can All Stars) present an Instrument building workshop where you, the audience members, build the instruments, then use those instruments to participate in an improvisational performance conducted by Mark Stewart.

Maverick composer Gunnar Schonbeck (1919-2005) built 10-foot banjos, drums made out of airplane fuselages, and hundreds of triangular cellos, bell sets and oversized xylophones—now displayed in Mass MoCA’s No Experience Required exhibition. For over 25 years, Schonbeck taught at Bennington College, and over that time, he amassed the oversized instrumentarium in the attic of the College’s Commons, where he also conducted giant “collages”—spectacles that involved dance, song, and audience participations on his homebuilt creations. He died in 2005, and over the next decade his instruments made their way to Mass MoCA, where they are regularly played at the Bang on a Can Festival, by Glenn Kotche, as well as any visitor to the museum.

This Music at the Museum experience combines the spirit of Gunnar Schonbeck’s original collaborative productions with fun, hands-on instrument building. An instrument-building workshop at 2:00 pm is led by Webb Crawford and Nick Brooke. Both musicians will help audience members create the arsenal of wind, string, and mallet instruments. At 3:00 pm, join in the concert as Mark Stewart amasses these new instruments (plus a few others, borrowed from the Schonbeck Instrumentarium), in a communal jamboree, Collage #3571 ½: A Schonbeck Experience, reminiscent of Schonbeck’s collages. Any and all ages can participate, and are encouraged to—in this celebration of Schonbeck’s festive legacy! This concert is free and open to the public thanks to the support of Alison Nowak and Robert Cane. Reservations are not required for this performance.

Nick Brooke is a composer for multimedia, dance, and theater. He teaches at Bennington College, where he originally met Gunnar Schonbeck in the late 1980s. His works often involve building new acoustic or electronic instruments, such as a battery of hubcaps and gongs for NY Philharmonic percussionist Dan Druckman, or an entire miniaturized gamelan in a suitcase for percussion sextet Talujon. Brooke’s instrumental works have been performed by Bang on a Can All Stars, the Paul Dresher Ensemble, the Nash Ensemble of London, Orchestra 2001, Speculum Musicae, Sekar Anu, and New York’s Gamelan Son of Lion, among others, and performed across the United States and in Europe. They have been featured at the Lincoln Center Festival, the Ecstatic Music Festival, the Spoleto Festival, and the MATA Series. His work Tone Test received its premiere at Lincoln Center Festival in 2004. He is the recipient of Guggenheim Rockefeller Fellowship, and holds degrees from Oberlin and Princeton.

Webb Crawford is a guitarist with sixteen years’ experience. She has worked for three guitar techs/luthiers as a repair tech, and at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art with exhibit curator Mark Stewart, where she helped restore a collection of composer, professor, and instrument-builder Gunnar Schonbeck’s creations. Crawford received her BA in Composition from Bennington College in June, 2018, and studied with composers Kitty Brazelton, Nick Brooke, and Allen Shawn. She has taught both very small children, as well as slightly larger children through the Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls NYC’s Girls Rock! program for ages 8-18, as well as their Jumpstart program for children ages 5-7. Crawford currently works as a counselor at the Brooklyn Music School, and kicks it every so often with environmentally conscious instrument-building aficionados Bash the Trash!

Multi-instrumentalist, singer, song leader, composer and instrument designer Mark Stewart has been heard around the world performing old and new music. Since 1998 he has recorded, toured and been Musical Director with Paul Simon. A founding member of the Bang on a Can All Stars, the comic duo Polygraph Lounge with keyboard and theremin wizard Rob Schwimmer, Mark has also worked with Steve Reich, Sting, Anthony Braxton, Bob Dylan, Wynton Marsalis, Meredith Monk, Stevie Wonder, Phillip Glass, Iva Bittova, Bruce Springsteen, Terry Riley, Ornette Coleman, Don Byron, Joan Baez, Hugh Masakela, Paul McCartney, Cecil Taylor, Bill Frisell, Jimmy Cliff, the Everly Brothers, Steve Gadd, Fred Frith, Alison Krauss, David Krakauer, Bobby McFerrin, David Byrne, James Taylor, The Roches, Aaron Neville, Bette Midler, and Marc Ribot. He has worked extensively with composer Elliot Goldenthal on music for the films Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Tempest, Across the Universe, Titus, The Butcher Boy, The Good Thief, In Dreams and Heat, often playing instruments of his own design and construction. Stewart has designed instruments for Julie Taymor’s Midsummer Nights Dream and Theater For A New Audience’s production of King Lear. He is the inventor of the WhirlyCopter, a bicycle-powered Pythagorean choir of singing tubes and the Big Boing, a 24 ft. sonic banquet table Mbira that seats 30 children playing 490 found objects. Stewart is the Artistic Director of Rebecca Weller’s hootenanny/happening project Guitar Mash/Urban Campfire and is a Visiting Lecturer in musical instrument design at MIT. Mark is the curator at MASS MoCA of the immersive Gunnar Schonbeck exhibit of musical instruments. He lives in New York City making his living playing and writing popular music, semi-popular music and unpopular music, and designing instruments that everyone can play.

About the Museum
Bennington Museum is located at 75 Main Street (Route 9), Bennington, in The Shires of Vermont. The Museum is open 10 am to 5 pm Thursday through Tuesday, closed Wednesday through May. Open daily June through October (closed July 4.) It is wheelchair accessible. Regular admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors and students over 18. Admission is never charged for younger students, museum members, or to visit the museum shop. Visit the museum’s website www.benningtonmuseum.org or call 802-447-1571 for more information.

Bennington Museum is a member of ArtCountry, a consortium of notable art and performance destinations in the scenic northern Berkshires of Massachusetts and southern Green Mountains of Vermont, including The Clark Art Institute, Williams College Museum of Art , Williamstown Theatre Festival (20 minutes away); and MASS MoCA (25minutes away). Visit ArtCountry.org for more information on these five great cultural centers.

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