Sō Percussion Summer Institute

Sō Percussion Summer Institute 2020
SōSI 2020: A Vision for New Work
July 12-26, 2020
Princeton University


Covid-19 Update

March 18, 2020

SōSI 2020 is still on! We are waiting to see how things progress during this 8 week period of social distancing. Updates will be posted here and on our social media.

About SōSI

The Sō Percussion Summer Institute (SōSI) is an intensive two-week chamber music seminar for percussionists and composers. The four members of Sō Percussion serve as faculty in rehearsal, performance, and discussion of contemporary music, art, aesthetics, and the practical issues involved in a performing arts career.

SōSI takes place at Princeton University, in Princeton, New Jersey. For more information and application instructions please contact Shelby Blezinger-McCay, SōSI Program Coordinator, shelby@sopercussion.com

Applications for SōSI 2020 will go live on November 20th!

Highlights of SōSI 2020 – “A Vision for New Work”

The range of options available to creators in our immensely complex era is exhilarating, but also overwhelming. At SōSI 2020, tackle them together with friends and mentors who offer decades of experience in bringing new pieces of music to life. Whether your vision is to light up the stage with your performance skills, to collaborate on untested new ideas, or to bring your composition to life, SōSI is the place to do it in a mutually supportive and fun atmosphere.

Highlights of SōSI 2020

  • Premieres of new pieces from Princeton University PhD composers.
  • Masterclasses, lessons, and coachings with renowned composers and performers.
  • Performances around community businesses in Princeton.
  • More exciting details to be confirmed soon!

Guest Artists

Each Year, colleagues from all over the arts world join us a guest lecturers and clinicians. SōSI 2020 will be one of our most exciting ever! We are especially honored to have the entire NEXUS percussion ensemble joining us to talk about their 50(!) years of working together, the early days of Steve Reich and Musicians, and all of the many activities each of them has been engaged in throughout their careers.

In addition, we always feature members of the Princeton faculty in guest lectures at SōSI.

Confirmed Guests



We are offering the chance to audit seminars at SōSI for the second year! For either a daily, weekly, or full festival pass, auditors can observe rehearsals, attend lectures, and interact with our faculty and participants.

The program is $300 for the entire 2 weeks, $150 per week, or just $25 a day,  Contact Sō’s Operations Director, Shelby Blezinger McCay to learn more or to reserve a spot!

Composition at SōSI

This year at SōSI,  we will continue the student composer program, joined once again by composition director Andrea Mazzariello, in a new format that involves even more collaboration and co-creation between student composers and their colleagues in the performance program. The composition program is built around making two new percussion ensemble works, one for portable instruments, composed before the institute begins and performed in the first week, and another that we’ll develop, rehearse, and revise throughout the festival. Both pieces will be performed by students in the percussion program, with regular coaching by the members of Sō Percussion. Composition students will have lessons with Andrea Mazzariello, as well as with members of Sō Percussion and with guest faculty. Both undergraduate and graduate composers are welcome to apply.

Guests from Past Years

The past years of the Summer Institute have included masterclasses, talks, and performances with a great number of amazing artsists including Caroline Shaw, Paul Lansky, Steve Mackey, Dan Trueman, Steve Reich, Steve Schick, Angélica Negrón, Dan Deacon, Martin Schmidt (of Matmos), Juri Seo, Barbara White, Lukas Ligeti, Grey McMurray, Cenk Ergun, NEXUS, Joan Tower, Tristan Perich, Suzanne Farrin, Mark Dancigers, Dennis Desantis, and Sarah Kirkland Snider.

The Institute’s Mission

The emergence of the percussion group as a standard ensemble has been one of the most exciting developments in contemporary western music. Sō Percussion was formed to expand this important voice in the 21st century, taking a cue from groups in North America and Europe, as well as the pioneering composers who inspired them.

Since its inception in 1999, education has become an increasingly important part of Sō’s mission. Its members share a firm belief that inherent in an artist’s career is a responsibility to pass on practical advice and mentorship to young artists. The Sō Percussion Summer Institute seeks to fulfill this promise by providing a unique educational opportunity to percussionists and composers at one of the most critical stages of their development. The program offers a hands-on experience that brings the practical and theoretical together:

    • Commissioning/Creating new music
    • Fruitful collaboration with and among artists
    • The rehearsal and development process
    • Performance


2020 Application Instructions

Deadline for Online Submission is Feb 1, 2020 for all materials.

The following materials will be required for all applicants:

  • Completed 2020 Application Form (online)
  • Non-refundable $45 application fee (paid by credit card)
  • One letter of recommendation, preferably from a current or former teacher (emailed directly to Shelby Blezinger-McCay, shelby@sopercussion.com)
  • Current Resume (optional – uploaded as a PDF)

* Students must be at least 18 years old in order to be eligible to attend the Summer Institute.

Requirements for Percussionists

  • List of chamber works performed and works you would like to perform
  • Audition recordings (linked through the application)
  • Recording Requirements for Percussionists: 10-20 minutes of solo audio or video recordings that best demonstrate your abilities and interests as a player.

Requirements for Composers

  • Audio recordings and/or PDFs of scores (if applicable) for three recent works
  • A list of works written and/or a statement about your compositional process
  • Composers are only eligible to attend SōSI two times total. Composers who have attended once may reapply. Composers who have already attended twice are no longer eligible and should not re-apply.



Festival Directors and Founders – Sō Percussion

The four members of Sō Percussion are the primary faculty of the Sō Percussion Summer Institute.

Read more:

About So About the Members

Director of Composition – Andrea Mazzariello

Composer Andrea Mazzariello, founding director of the composition program, returns in 2018. Andrea has had works performed at the Summer Institute every year since the beginning: all four parts of his ‘Bot’ series have been played at SōSI. Here’s a video of Jason Treuting performing Andrea’s “Monobot” for solo drumset.

Composition Faculty Member – Sarah Kirkland Snider

This year, SōSI is delighted to welcome Sarah Kirkland Snider to the Composition Faculty!  Sarah has been a guest artist at the summer institute since the beginning. Here’s a video of The River from UNREMEMBERED, a song cycle in 13 parts for seven voices, chamber orchestra, and electronics, released September 4, 2015 on New Amsterdam Records.

Princeton Music Department

princeton1-mackey princeton2-trueman

Every year at SōSI we are joined by the amazing faculty and graduate students of the Princeton University Music Department, all of whom have written many works for percussion.  In past years we have been joined for masterclasses and coachings by Princeton composers Steve Mackey, Dan Trueman, Juri Seo, Barbara White, Dimitri Tymoczko, Paul Lansky, and Donnacha Dennehy.


SōSI 2020 Events

Most concerts will be live-streamed on our Facebook page.

To be announced…

All events are free and open to the public.

Princeton Venues:

Lee Music Room at the Lewis Arts Complex
The Forum
120 Alexander Street

McAlpin Rehearsal Room
Woolworth Music Building
Large room downstairs which you can see upon entering the buildling

Princeton Record Exchange
20 S Tulane Street

Albert Hinds Plaza
Outside the Princeton Public Library
Witherspoon and Spring Streets

Small World Coffee
14 Witherspoon Street


Each year, thanks to the generosity of our donors and sponsors, Sō Percussion awards partial scholarships through competitive application to attend the Sō Percussion Summer Institute.

For the 2020 Summer Institute, a number of partial scholarships (ranging from $125-$1300) will be available.



Donations to the Sō Percussion Summer Institute go directly to benefit the students of the program.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to our festival.

Donate to SōSI

For more information about giving, email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Special thanks to:

Each summer, The ASCAP Foundation provides fellowships for student composers to attend SōSI; we are very grateful for their support!

Princeton Music Department
David Oswald
Steve Mackey
Dan Trueman
Paul Lansky
Barbara White
Cameron Britt
Andrea Mazzariello
Martha Easton and Patrick Sullivan
Anonymous Family Foundation
Wolfy and Kayrock Screenprinting
Sarah Kirkland Snider
Emily Johnson
Ain Gordon
Talvin Wilks
Rinde Eckert
Susan Marshall
Mark DeChiazza
Jeff Snyder
Rebecca Lazier
Astrid Baumgardner
Neil Larivee
Princeton Composers
Yumi Tamashiro
Zildjian Cymbals
Pearl Drums/Adams Musical Instruments
Vic Firth Sticks and Mallets
Remo Drumheads
Estey Organ Company

Sō Percussion wishes to thank the following individuals for their generous support:

The Brookby Foundation, The Aaron Copland Fund, The American Music Project, The Amphion Foundation, The Ditson Fund, The Howard Gilman Foundation, The Thendara Foundation, The National Endowment for the Arts: Art Works, The New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, The Composers Guild of New Jersey, The ASCAP Foundation, New Music USA’s NYC New Music Impact Fund, made possible with funding from The Scherman Foundation’s Katharine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund, Sara Coffey and Dave Snyder, David Oswald, Russell Makowsky, John and Astrid Baumgardner, Stephen Myers, Hank McNeil, Larry and Cyndee Snider, Charles and Susan Snyder, John and Jackie Treuting, Mark Applebaum, William Armstrong, Yuki Asada, Dan Baldini, Elizabeth Beach, Nathaniel Beck, John H. Beck, Michael and Becky Bennett, Walter (Hudie) Broughton, Zac Brunell, Robyn and Paul Buxton, Kristin Cahill, William Cahn, Tyler Carpenter, Eileen Carr, Christina Carroll, Elliot Cole, Terry and Guadalupe De Vries, Matthew and Lara Dudack, Candace Dwan, Rachel Elson, Dorothea Endicott, Cenk Ergun, Widder Foundation, Stuart Gerber, Lisa Goldberg, David and Jennifer Gordon, Ain Gordon, Carolyn Graham, Marcy Gunnell, Inez and David Gutman, Jonathan Haas, Carol and Richard Haas, James Hanbury, James Heller, Lisa Iceman, Jonathan Kaledin, Ayano Kataoka, Will Keith, Christina Kershner, David Lang, Paul and Hannah Lansky, John A. Leppman, Martin Bresnick and Lisa Moore, Diana Loomer, Alex MacKay, Benjamin Maldonado, Richard and Jayne Marchioni, Edward G. Freitag Martha B. Haley Family Foundation, James McKenzie, Jacqueline Meyers, Josh Milstein, Jane Noyes, Tristan Perich, Roger Phillips, David M. Phipps, Sughra Raza, Michael and Marlene Rosen, Nicole Serratore, Andrew Siegel, Eve Sliwinski, Sarah Snider, Susan Sontag, Jane Stewart, Jonathan Szanto, Margaret Travers, David Weller, Mary J. Wensel, Roger Zahab.


After 10 amazing years of SōSI, we have quite a roster of alumni, many of whom have gone on to form their own groups and pursue unique musical interests.  Some of them sent along websites where you can learn more about everything they are doing.

TIGUE: alumni of SōSI 2009


We offer the chance to audit seminars at SōSI. For either a daily, weekly, or full festival pass, auditors can observe rehearsals, attend lectures, and interact with our faculty and participants.

The program is $300 for the entire 2 weeks, $150 per week, or just $30 a day,  Contact Sō’s Shelby Blezinger-McCay to learn more or to reserve a spot!

As an idea of what we offer, check out last year’s daily schedule of events and talks:

Sunday, 7/14
7:00pm Sō Percussion Opening Concert (McAlpin)

Monday, 7/15
12:00pm Juri Seo Composer Talk (McAlpin)
5:00pm Steve Mackey Composer Talk (McAlpin)
7:30pm Adam Sliwinski Talk (McAlpin)

Tuesday, 7/16
12:00pm Kaoru Watanabe Composer Talk (McAlpin)
5:00pm Paul Lansky Composer Talk (McAlpin)
7:00pm Friends of SōSI Concert (McAlpin)

Wednesday, 7/17
12:00pm Dan Trueman Composer Talk (McAlpin)
5:00pm Ain Gordon Talk (McAlpin)
7:00pm David Degge and Christina Altamura (McAlpin)

Thursday, 7/18
12:00PM Sarah Kirkland Snider Talk (McAlpin)
5:00pm Arone Dyer Talk (McAlpin)
7:00pm SōSI at Small World Coffee (14 Witherspoon St)
SōSI percussionists premiere new works by SōSI composers
9:00pm David Degge Talk (McAlpin)
Friday, 7/19
12:00pm Dmitri Tymoczko composer talk (McAlpin)
2:00pm SōSI at the Princeton Record Exchange (20 South Tulane Street)
5:00pm Richard Preston with Joshua Quillen talk (McAlpin)
7:30pm SōSI Composer Listening Session #1 (McAlpin)

Saturday, 7/20
6:00pm Princeton Composer Concert (Taplin Auditorium, Fine Hall)

Sunday, 7/21
10:00am-3:00pm Meal packing for End Hunger NE (McAlpin)

Monday, 7/22
12:00pm Keith Aleo of Zildjian guest talk (McAlpin)
5:00pm Andrea Mazzariello talk (McAlpin)
7:00pm Jason Treuting talk (McAlpin)
8:30pm Composer Listening Session #2 (McAlpin)

Tuesday, 7/23
11:00pm Astrid Baumgardner talk (McAlpin)
5:00pm SōSI Art Walk Concert
7:00pm SōSI at the Princeton Public Library
8:30pm Josh Quillen talk (McAlpin)

Wednesday, 7/24
5:00pm Ji Hye Jung performer talk (McAlpin)
7:00pm In C in the Forum (Lewis Arts Complex)
8:30pm SōSI composer listening session #3 (McAlpin)

Thursday, 7/25
12:00pm Suzanne Farrin talk (McAlpin)
5:00pm Eric Cha-Beach talk (McAlpin)
7:00pm Sō Masterclass #1 (McAlpin)

Friday, 7/26
12:00pm Dan Deacon Guest Talk (Taplin Auditorium, Fine Hall)
7:00pm Student Composer Concert (Lee Music Room, Lewis Center for the Arts)

Saturday, 7/27
6:00pm Summer Institute Closing Concert (Taplin Auditorium, Fine Hall)


2020 Sō Percussion Summer Institute
Participation Fee – $2,600

$250 down payment due March 15

$2,350 remainder due May 1

Participation Fee covers: Tuition, Housing, and Lunch/Dinner Meals.
Scholarships available by application!

Off-Campus Housing Tuition: $1,850

Pay by Mail:

Mail a check or money order to:

Sō Percussion
Attn: Summer Institute
20 Grand Ave. #205
Brooklyn, NY 11205


Each year, an amazing team of interns helps us keep this extremely complicated festival going!  Interns have usually been SōSI alumni who come and help us organize gear, produce concerts, and keep the ship running.

The bulk of our interns’ duties fall within logistics for a festival which hosts dozens of world premieres by 40-50 percussionists each summer. They receive free room and board during the festival, and frequently participate in performances themselves.

FIll out THIS FORM to request more information! ALL POSITIONS FILLED FOR 2020 PLEASE APPLY NEXT YEAR! Contact shelby@sopercussion.com for any questions.

(Left to right: Lindsay Vasko, Evan Miller, Andrea Tafelski)