The Ecstatic Music Festival, the name of Merkin’s 10-week series dedicated to slipstream, genre-eschewing contemporary music by youngish composers, suggests a rave, but the Bang on a Can–inspired marathon concert that kicks it off today is hardly that. It opens with a rarely heard piece by African-American composer Julius Eastman (who died of AIDS in 1990) and closes some seven hours later with a collaboration between instrument hackers Buke and Gass and composer Missy Mazzoli’s Victoire quintet. In between, composer-pianist Timo Andres plays Charles Ives and his own “Everything Is an Onion”; cellist Ashley Bathgate rocks Mike Gordon’s seminal Industry; Gabriel Kahane (“Craigslistlieder”) performs pop-perfect art songs; violist Nadia Sirota plays Grizzly Bear collaborator Nico Muhly’s Keep in Touch; monster pianist Vicky Chow cranks up the electronics for Daniel Wohl’s Aorta; and more, more, more. If nothing else, the price—free—is bliss indeed.

Mon., Jan. 17, 2 p.m., 2011