By Mitch Holt, Staff Writer
Nationally acclaimed percussion ensemble So Percussion will grace the stage at the Williams Performing Arts Center Recital Hall Friday, at 8 p.m. Feb. 24 as part of the Music Department’s Guest Artist Series.
Dr. Allen Teel, professor of percussion and world music in the Music Department, said So Percussion has established an outstanding reputation in its six-year existence as a percussion quartet that uses a wide variety of drums, cymbals, keyboard percussion instruments and custom-built instruments.
So Percussion began in New Haven, Conn., in 1999 and set the goal to “challenge and enable the creation of new music that combines musical, theatrical and artistic elements,” according to the ensemble’s biography on its Web site.
This site describes percussion as having a unique ability to thrill and captivate and possessing possibilities far beyond beats and rhythms. The ensemble seeks to convey these elements in its live show.
“There aren’t all that many percussion ensembles going for a full-time professional performing career,” Teel said. “But these guys are going for it.”
So has been reviewed by publications such as Billboard Magazine and the New York Times, and the group performs in clubs, art museums, theaters and concert halls throughout the world. The group also brings educational programs to universities, public schools and other locations around the U.S.
Allen Kozinn of the New York Times said in a Jan. 17, 2004, review of a live performance, “Fairly quickly, the ruckus gave way to rhythmic counterpoint: one couldn’t ask for more from a percussion group’s curtain raiser.
“The players in So Percussion were energetic and thorough in mining all these works for their visceral and structural thrills.”
The group will play several pieces in its performance on campus, including Steve Reich’s “Drumming,” a movement from one of the most important minimalist compositions of the 1960s and 1970s, Teel said.
“[So Percussion] has some great music in its repertoire,” he said. “The concert should be very stimulating and enjoyable.”