Our favorite annual orgy of new and newer music for 22 years, the Bang on a Can Marathon kicks off the River to River Festival’s annual summer cornucopia of free live music with a nonstop 12-hour display of brilliant sonic fireworks. Highlights of this magnificent blend of high/low, inside/outside, domestic/international, and accessible/hermetic wonders include solo performances and new work by pianist Ryuichi Sakamoto and guitar Svengali Bill Frisell; the Smith quartet’s revival of Gavin Bryar’s minimalist masterpiece, The Sinking of the Titanic; world premieres of BOAC co-founder Julia Wolfe’s “massive” Thirst and David Lang’s For Love Is Strong; the U.S. debuts of the choral group Ars Nova Copenhagen and the Athelas Sinfonietta Copenhagen new-music ensemble; Phil Kline’s new Mass-inspired John the Revelator; and a marathon-ending set by Chicago’s rocking post-rock rockers, Tortoise. So bang on that.

Sun., May 31, noon, 2009