“An iconoclastic 12 piece marching band… part parade spectacle, part halftime show and part cutting-edge contemporary music concert. The playing was coolly brilliant and infectious. And what a scene!”
— Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times
Asphalt Orchestra is a radical new street band that brings ambitious processional music to the mobile masses. Created by the founders of the “relentlessly inventive” new music presenter Bang on a Can (New York Magazine), Asphalt Orchestra unleashes innovative music from concert halls, rock clubs and jazz basements and takes it to the streets and beyond. The band brings together some of the most exciting rock, jazz and classical players in New York City who The New York Times called “12 top-notch brass and percussion players.”
Asphalt Orchestra has two lives: as an outdoor guerrilla musical force choreographed by Susan Marshall and Mark DeChiazza, and as Unpack the Elephant, the indoor experience, directed by Mark DeChiazza and Andrew Robinson. Elizabeth Hope Clancy is the group’s wardrobe stylist.
Asphalt Orchestra’s debut performances stretched 10 packed nights at Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival in New York over the summers of 2009 and 2010. Since then they have performed throughout the US East Coast and Canada, at London’s Barbican Centre, at the TED Women conference in Washington D.C., New York’s Alice Tully Hall and Metropolitan Museum of Art, and more. Their repertoire ranges from music by pop wizard Björk, to jazz legend Charles Mingus, rock progressive Frank Zappa, Brazilian iconoclast songwriter Tom Zé, Zimbabwean provocateur Thomas Mapfumo, Swedish metal band Meshuggah, and new pieces written for the band by David Byrne and Annie Clark (St. Vincent), Yoko Ono, Tatsuya Yoshida (Ruins), Goran Bregovic, Tyondai Braxton (Battles), and Stew and Heidi Rodewald (Broadway and Spike Lee’s Passing Strange).
Featured on the cover of The Philadelphia Inquirer as “not your mother’s marching band,” Asphalt Orchestra has also been praised in Newsweek, The Economist, New York Magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Onion, and Time Out New York, as well as interviewed and showcased on WNYC’s “Soundcheck,” Philadelphia Weekly, PBS SundayArts, and Time Out New York’s “The Volume.”
Asphalt Orchestra’s debut album was released in 2010 by Cantaloupe Music. The group is managed by Ken Thomson.