Special Presentation: Todd Reynolds Mesmerizes at Bang on a Can

July 27, 2015

Todd Reynolds performs at the Bang on a Can Festival, 2015 MASS MoCA, North Adams, Mass.

Todd Reynolds performing at the Bang on a Can Festival at MASS MoCA, July 22nd 2015; photo by: William McGuire III.
Todd Reynolds performing at the Bang on a Can Festival at MASS MoCA, July 22nd 2015; photo by: William McGuire III.


Todd Reynolds, violinist, composer, educator, and technologist is a master of his craft and one of the founders of the hybrid-musician movement. His works combine genres from across the world with centuries of musical tradition and digital technology into a unique and well-refined style that he calls ‘present music.’ In a career filled with original works, multidisciplinary projects and collaborations with some of the most-respected names in music, Reynolds has already made great contributions to contemporary music and influenced countless new musicians, and he continues to innovate to this day.

At the Bang on a Can Festival, Reynolds performed on July 22nd in MASS MoCA’s tall gallery. Reynolds was mesmerizing as he played through original compositions and friends’ works, including a world premiere of Tom Nazziola’s “Over the Horizon,” and performances with Vicki Ray and Bang on a Can summer student-fellows. Through it all, Reynolds’ playing, delayed and amplified by his computer technology, reverberated through the gallery in thick, rich waves of sound that flowed smoothly around its corners. The acoustics of the space perfectly complimented his sound, making Reynolds seem as if he were not only in control of his instrument, but the entire room.

Reynolds has been a friend and partner of the celebrated performing arts organization Bang on a Can for over 25 years. Bang on a Can’s mission to create a music scene defined by innovation and diverse free expression aligns with his continued efforts to create and foster groundbreaking musical exploration; he says, “We look for people who are doing interesting things we haven’t heard yet. And that’s what my exploration in music is about. I’m always looking for composers who are doing something that I haven’t heard before: ideas that are new and fresh to me. And I, of course, look to explore that in my own music as well.”

"Outerborough," by Todd Reynolds (featuring eight composer/collaborators); 2011
“Outerborough,” by Todd Reynolds (featuring eight composer/collaborators); 2011

Outerborough,” Reynolds’ first solo album, was released in 2011 on Innova Recordings, and is clear evidence of Reynolds’ determination to explore new ideas and sounds. The first track he wrote for the album, “Outerborough,” was borne out of experimentation; he recalls, “One of the first things I did is I called my friend Bill Morrison and said, ‘Hey listen, I haven’t worked with film, and I’d love to. Do you have something on the cutting room floor that you can just give me, of some footage?’ And what he actually gave me was apiece he had made for the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and it was a silent piece.  So I used that, and I sat down with my computer, and I started sculpting out a tune.”  Outerborough is full of fresh, new sounds, but it should still feel familiar to Berkshire residents; all but two of its tracks were recorded and produced at home by Reynolds while living in North Adams.

The Bang on a Can Summer Festival continues at Mass MoCA through August 1st, culminating in a six-hour marathon of innovative and new contemporary music. For more information about the festival, including a performance schedule, visit bangonacan.org.  For more information on Todd Reynolds, visit his website, Facebook, or follow him on Twitter, @digifiddler.

Click here to see a video of highlights from the gallery recital and an interview with Todd Reynolds.

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