The Crossing to perform Bang on a Can composer Michael Gordon’s “Anonymous Man” at EMPAC

Troy, NY — On Thursday, March 22, at 7:30PM, Grammy Award-winning choir The Crossing will perform composer and Bang on a Can founder Michael Gordon’s new choral work Anonymous Man at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Commissioned by the 24-voice choral group, the hour-long piece expands on Gordon’s architectural approach to composition, layering minimalistic swirls of vocal sounds on top of one another to create a hypnotic group incantation. A meditation on community, history, and a connection to place, Anonymous Man is a memoir of Gordon’s nearly three decades living in Lower Manhattan.

“When I moved into my loft on Desbrosses,” Gordon says, “the streets were empty, since few people lived there. But both then and now, there were the homeless. Over time the neighborhood changed from an industrial warehouse district to a residential area. Anonymous Man is a memoir about my block. The piece is built around my memories of moving in, meeting my future wife for the first time there, and conversations I have had with two homeless men who made their home on the loading dock across the street.”

In the time that Gordon lived on Debrosses, he has become one of the most celebrated living American composers, blending “the fury of punk rock, the nervous brilliance of free jazz, and the intransigence of classical modernism,” in the words of New Yorker critic Alex Ross. He is co-founder and co-artistic director of New York’s legendary music collective Bang on a Can.

Donald Nally, conductor of The Crossing, says Anonymous Man “has an intimacy that invites us to contemplate connections—those that are purposeful and those that happen by coincidence of time and place.” Formed in Philadelphia in 2005 to commission and perform contemporary choral music, The Crossing won the 2018 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance for their recording of Gavin Bryars’ The Fifth Century.

In addition to performing the new work, Michael Gordon and The Crossing are in residence at EMPAC to record Anonymous Man for future release.

For more information, please visit

The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is where the arts, sciences, and technology interact with and influence each other by using the same facilities and technologies, and by breathing the same air. EMPAC hosts artists and researchers to produce and present new work in a building designed with sophisticated architectural and technical infrastructure. Four exceptional venues and studios enable audiences, artists, and researchers to inquire, experiment, develop, and experience the ever-changing relationship between ourselves, technology, and the worlds we create around us. EMPAC is an icon of the New Polytechnic, a new paradigm for cross-disciplinary research and learning at Rensselaer, the nation’s oldest technological research university.

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