World Premiere of Asphalt Orchestra Commission at Wesleyan University's Feet to the Fire Common Moment on September 2

World Premiere of Asphalt Orchestra Commission at Wesleyan University's Feet to the Fire Common Moment on September 2

Wesleyan University's Center for the Arts presents
World Premiere of Asphalt Orchestra Commission at

Feet to the Fire Common Moment

Photo/Video Opportunities at Environmental-Themed Celebration of Incoming Students on Friday September 2

Middletown, Conn., August 31, 2011— Wesleyan University will celebrate the incoming students in the Class of 2015 at the fourth annual Feet to the Fire Common Moment on Friday, September 2, 2011 from 7pm to 9:30pm on Andrus Field on the Wesleyan campus in Middletown (please see schedule below). The Common Moment will feature the world premiere of a new work by the Asphalt Orchestra entitled "Trading Futures", commissioned by the Center for the Arts, as well as a special performance by up to 800 Wesleyan students. The night will conclude with a performance of fire dancing by the Wesleyan student performance group Prometheus. The Common Moment will be preceded at Noon by a "flash concert" by the Asphalt Orchestra in downtown Middletown.

Following the premiere at Wesleyan, "Trading Futures" will be performed by Asphalt Orchestra on October 5 at Keene State College in New Hampshire, part of a New England tour. Past Feet to the Fire works have included exhibitions and performances by visiting artists including Marion Belanger's Landfill, Ann Carlson's Green Movement, Barbara Croall's Messages (Mijidwewinan), Cassie Meador's Drift, and Stan's Cafe's Of All the People in All the World, USA (The Rice Show); as well as works by faculty including Hari Krishnan's Liquid Shakti, Ronald Kuivila's The Weather, at Six, Alvin Lucier's Glacier, and Nicole Stanton and Gina Ulysse's Threshold Sites: Skin to Skin.

The media is invited to attend the Common Moment at Wesleyan (please note that the evening event is not open to the public). For more information and directions, please contact Press & Marketing Manager Andrew Chatfield at or (860) 685-2806.

Schedule of Events

Friday, September 2, 2011

Noon Flash concert by Asphalt Orchestra in downtown Middletown, starting at North End Farmers Market on Main Street (20 minutes)
7pm World premiere performance of commissioned work by Asphalt Orchestra on Andrus Field (30 minutes)
7:30pm Introductions by Center for the Arts Director Pamela Tatge and College of the Environment Director Barry Chernoff
8:20pm Performance by students and Asphalt Orchestra Andrus Field (20 minutes), follow by march to graph area
9pm Photo opportunity, followed by march to the base of Foss Hill
9:15pm Prometheus (student fire juggling group) performance accompanied by Asphalt Orchestra (15 minutes)

About Feet to the Fire
Launched in 2008, Feet to the Fire is a major undertaking on Wesleyan’s campus to examine critical environmental issues through multiple lenses, from science to art.  The program is dedicated to the proposition that a multidisciplinary examination that includes art will provide a more comprehensive and deeper understanding of these global issues. Feet to the Fire includes lectures, performances, co-taught teaching modules, and courses by the faculty, visiting artists and lecturers, student run fora, community eco-arts festivals, afterschool programs for children, and the First Year Matters program.

Each year, the campus adopts an environmental theme for its First Year Matters program, such as global climate change (2008), water (2009), or hunger (2010). The theme for 2011, Fueling the Future, is focused on issues related to energy. During orientation, first-year students engage in multidisciplinary discussions about the theme as well as participate in a Common Moment in which the arts are used to catalyze and embody understanding. The Common Moment helps demonstrate the exploration of the issues through music and movement.

As part of their experience, the students will be divided into four groups based on recycled materials (paper, metal, fabric and plastic), and be taught to play an instrument made from that recycled material, as well as a choreographed movement.

The Feet to the Fire initiative was launched with a leadership grant from Arts Presenters Creative Campus Innovations Program, a component of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, which was one of only eight grants given to challenge campus-based performing arts presenters to integrate their programs more organically within the academic environment. Feet to the Fire is made possible in part by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

For more information about Feet to the Fire, please visit

For more information about First Year Matters, please visit  

About Asphalt Orchestra
Asphalt Orchestra is a radical 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 (Justin Davidson, NY Magazine), Asphalt Orchestra unleashes innovative music from concert halls, rock clubs and jazz basements and takes it to the streets. With movement direction from internationally acclaimed choreographers Susan Marshall and Mark DeChiazza and costume design by Elizabeth Hope Clancy, the twelve member band brings together some of the most exciting rock, jazz and classical players in New York City: Jessica Schmitz (piccolo), Alex Hamlin, Peter Hess and Ken Thomson (saxophones), Shane Endsley and Stephanie Richards (trumpets), Jen Baker and Alan Ferber (trombones), Kenny Bentley (sousaphone), Sunny Jain, Nick Jenkins and Yuri Yamashita (percussion), who The New York Times have called “12 top-notch brass and percussion players.”

Asphalt Orchestra’s debut performances stretched five packed nights at the Lincoln Center Out of Doors Festival and one afternoon at Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station in August 2009.  Since then, they have traveled throughout the United State and abroad performing music by pop wizard Björk, 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, 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 August 2010 by Cantaloupe Music.  The group is co-directed by Ken Thomson and Jessica Schmitz.  For more information about Asphalt Orchestra, please visit