Sō Percussion and The Bard College Conservatory of Music’s Percussion Program will present their Second Annual Spring Concert in the acoustically superb Sosnoff Theater, Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts on Friday, April 12 at 8 p.m.
Each year, members of Sō and Conservatory students and faculty perform a selection of recent masterworks, new music for percussion groups, and works by composers from the Bard community. About half of the works on the April program, including Paul Lansky’s modern masterpiece, Threads, were written for, or by, members of Sō Percussion. Threads is a 10-movement ‘cantata’ for percussion quartet,” says Sō’s Adam Sliwinski. “In it, Paul beautifully synthesizes his love for traditional classical tropes with the cleverly permutated rhythms and layered melodies of his pioneering career in computer music. Over the past eight years, Threads has become widely regarded as a masterpiece for percussion quartet, having received hundreds of performances around the world.”
The program will also include Double or Nothing by Wally Gunn, Toccata for Vibraphone and Marimba by Anders Koppel, Ambient Resonances by Peter Klatzow, Invocaciones by Roberto Sierra, Postludes for Bowed Vibraphone by Elliot Cole, Bard Double Music by Jason Treuting and Josh Quillen, and Music for Pieces of Wood by Steve Reich.
This annual concert is the centerpiece of Sō Percussion’s immersive chamber music course at Bard. Students work closely with the four members of the ensemble throughout the year to bring these exciting pieces to life. Student musicians appearing are Petra Elek, Amy Garapic, Chris Gunnell, and Zihan Yi.
Founded in 2011, Bard Percussion is the student percussion group of The Bard College Conservatory of Music. Its members study full time in Bard’s dual-degree program with program directors Sō Percussion, as well as with an impressive roster of auxiliary teachers and program advisers. The members of Bard Percussion study chamber music extensively with Sō Percussion, appearing on stage together and with the members of the group. They have the opportunity to study important 20th– and 21st-century works for percussion ensemble, and to work with various composers to create new music. For more information go to www.bard.edu/conservatory
For more than a decade, the musicians comprising Sō Percussion — Eric Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting — have redefined the modern percussion ensemble as a flexible, omnivorous entity, pushing its voice to the forefront of American musical culture. Praised by the New Yorker for their “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor, and bedlam,” their accomplishments now include 13 albums, tours throughout the United States and around the world, a dizzying array of collaborative projects, several ambitious educational programs, and a steady output of their own music.
The New York Times describes Sō Percussion’s performances as “mesmerizing,” “brilliant,” and “consistently impressive”; and the Village Voice writes, “This extraordinary ensemble of four young percussionists is creating a sensation in the music world … a New York City experimental powerhouse.”
Their music runs the gamut from percussion classics (Steve Reich, John Cage) to new commissions (David Lang, Steve Reich, Steve Mackey) to original music (Treuting’s Amid the Noise). Sō Percussion has performed this music at the Lincoln Center Festival, Carnegie Hall, Stanford Lively Arts, and many other venues. In addition, recent tours to Russia, Australia, Italy, Spain, Germany, and the Ukraine have brought them international acclaim. The members of Sō Percussion are founders and co-directors of the Sō Percussion Summer Institute, held each year on the campus of Princeton University.
The program features a wide array of contemporary works, all written by living composers. Tickets are $15; for more information call the Fisher Center box office at 845 – 758-7900 or go to fishercenter.bard.edu.
Featured image by Janette Beckman