NEXUS and So Percussion announce Drumming at 50

NEXUS and Sō Percussion are pleased to announce the public launch of DRUMMINGat50.com, a website examining the immense influence, innovative compositional and performing techniques, and history of Steve Reich’s seminal work for percussion, Drumming.

DRUMMINGat50.com contains a deep library of multimedia resources, including:

  • a new performance of the piece by NEXUS sand Sō Percussion, Beth Meyers, Yumi Tamashiro, Daisy Press, and Alex Sopp, filmed and produced by Four/Ten Media,
  • a new program note from Steve Reich, offering deeper insight into the influence of Ghanaian drumming traditions on his compositional development in that era,
  • conversations with musicians and musicologists who discuss the social and musical impacts of the piece,
  • a broad range of academic papers about the piece, including contributions by Dr. Louise Devenish, Adam Sliwinski, and Oliver Xu,
  • a brilliant examination of the performance practice and training required for the piece by Russell Hartenberger,
  • and much more!

DRUMMINGat50.com’s launch is timed to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Drumming, and to  echo the year of preparation that preceded the world premiere of the piece at the Museum of Modern Art in New York by Steve Reich and Musicians on December 3, 1971.

DRUMMINGat50.com is fully available to the public, and was designed and curated by Russell Hartenberger (of NEXUS, and an original performer in the world premiere of Drumming) and Ray Dillard, and built by Agile web designer Alex Kessaris.

 

Sō Percussion signs the New Music Equity Action pledge

Sō Percussion is proud to be a founding signatory to the New Music Equity Action Pledge. This commitment arises out of the work of a number of peer organizations who want to work actively against inequity, racism, and anti-Blackness in our field.

New Music Equity Action (NMEA) is a flexible assembly of composers, performers, and administrators in the US whose work creates new music. There is no fixed membership and participation in all group meetings and activities is open to anyone in the field. The group began meeting in June 2020 in order to prioritize in our work the values of anti-oppression, anti-racism, equity, and inclusion. We focus on dismantling the systemic oppression and marginalization of Black artists in our field within the larger goal of making classical music more responsive to and reflective of our contemporary world.

Nonesuch Records announces “Narrow Sea,” our new album of Caroline Shaw’s music out January 22nd

Caroline Shaw’s ‘Narrow Sea,’ Written for and Performed by Sō Percussion, Dawn Upshaw, and Gilbert Kalish, Due January 22 on Nonesuch Records

Nonesuch Records releases its second album from Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Caroline Shaw, Narrow Sea, on January 22, 2021. The title piece was written for Sō Percussion, Dawn Upshaw, and Gilbert Kalish in 2017; they perform it on this recording as well. Narrow Sea comprises five parts, each a new setting of a text from The Sacred Harp nineteenth century collection of shape-note hymns. A composition Shaw wrote for Sō Percussion in 2012, Taxidermy, also is on the album. A video for Part 2 of Narrow Sea can be seen below, and the album may be preordered from here.

Announcing the So Percussion Collaborative Workshop! January 2021

The So Percussion Collaborative Workshop 

  • January 8-16, 2021
  • Takes place online
  • Applications open October 15th
  • Free application, “pay what you can” tuition with suggested fee
  • Check out answers to FAQ’s hereLEARN MORE ON OUR PAGE HERE

The So Percussion Collaborative Workshop is a nine-day online festival for musicians from a wide range of musical practices. Based on our successful So Percussion Summer Institute (SoSI) which was held online in July of 2020, the Collaborative Workshop will feature music curated by So Percussion based on the practices of the admitted participants.

The Collaborative Workshop is for musicians at a student or professional level who want to work across disciplines and explore the creative side of music production. Where our summer institute emphasizes the tools and techniques of live performance, the Collaborative Workshop focuses on using technology to produce recordings and videos. Unlike our past festivals, the Collaborative Workshop is open to musicians beyond the realms of percussion and composition. We do not have a separate composition track. The So Percussion online course, originally built for SoSI 2020, will be updated, expanded, and included as part of participation in the workshop.

Thursday, September 17th – our second Brooklyn Bound!

Thursday, September 17, 2020
All performances will be live streamed on the Sō Percussion Facebook page, and on the Sō YouTube channel at 7:00pm (ET).

HPRIZM aka HIGH PRIEST
Beth Meyers
Iarla Ó Lionáird
Sō Percussion

HPRIZM aka HIGH PRIEST

HPRIZM aka HIGH PRIEST (Music Producer) Professionally known as -Hprizm is an American Avant-Garde Artist, Composer, New Media artist and Performer whose work spans performance art, pop music and multimedia projects. Formally trained as a visual artist, Prizm, later developed from the axis of poetry, hip hop and the experimental arts community of the Lower East Side in the Early Nineties. Noted for evoking images of “Sun Ra and Africa Bambatta at once…” (Jesse Sewer XL8R Magazine) Austin is the founding member of the critically acclaimed Hip Hop collective, the Antipop Consortium and cited figure in the Afrofuturist canon. With a career that spans the last 20 years, Prizm has shared the stages with a wide array of artists ranging from The Roots, Radiohead and, MFDoom to Matthew Shipp, Vijay Iyer and Steve Lehman. As a composer his pieces have been presented in The Whitney (NYC) The Guggenheim, PS1/Moma The Walker Museum, The New Museum, Cal Arts as well as the Mazzoli Gallery (ITALY) As the Creative Director of PRIZMLABS his recent client base includes
Kehinde Wiley, Simone Leigh, Moor Mother, Ursula Rucker, The Barnes Center (Philadelphia) Bahamadia, & The Banff Center, Meredith Monk, The Sō Percussion Ensemble, Loris Greaud, Snorks (feat. David Lynch and Charlotte Rampling) amongst others.

Read more about HPRIZM!

Beth Meyers

Beth is a true performer of the 21st century. A day’s work might find her writing original music for her indie-neo-folk band Damsel with bandmate Monica Mugan; playing viola in the Princeton Symphony Orchestra; writing string arrangements for a Regina Spektor appearance on late night TV; performing and writing with her partner, Jason Treuting; singing the music of Steve Reich with So Percussion; recording strings alongside such artists as Björk, The National, and Sufjan Stevens; performing contemporary avant-garde chamber music with ensembles like Alarm Will Sound; or playing in the pit of the Broadway musical, Wicked.

Her passion for singing has also led her to specialize in straight-tone, rhythmic singing, and the music of Steve Reich. Beth’s vocals can be heard on “The Desert Music” with Alarm Will Sound (Cantaloupe Records 2002) as well as a more recent live album of “Drumming” with So Percussion at Le Poisson Rouge (Dog W/A Bone 2016).

Read more about Beth!

Iarla Ó Lionáird

Iarla Ó Lionáird has carved a long and unique career in music both internationally and in Ireland. From his iconic early recording of the vision song “Aisling Gheal” as a young boy to his ground breaking recordings with Dublin’s Crash Ensemble and New York’s Alarm will Sound, he has shown a breadth of artistic ambition that sets him apart in the Irish Music fraternity. Preferring not be categorized, his performances and recorded output follows an ambitious arc that challenges musical identity. But there’s no doubt he is one of our most distinctive voices. Distinctive voices are always a welcome arrival, regardless of the orbits they choose, and Iarla Ó Lionáird’s is one that ventures far beyond the boundaries of any one genre: a defiantly unclassifiable sound.

A twice Grammy nominated artist, Ó Lionáird has worked with a stellar cast of composers internationally including Donnacha Dennehy, Dan Trueman, Nico Muhly, Gavin Bryars and David Lang and he has performed and recorded with such luminaries as Peter Gabriel, Nick Cave, Robert Plant and Sinead O’Connor. His unique singing style has carried him to stages and concert halls all over the world, from New York’s Carnegie Hall to the Sydney Opera House and beyond. His voice has graced the silver screen also, with film credits extending from “The Gangs of New York” to “Hotel Rwanda” and most recently as featured vocalist in the film “Calvary” starring Brendan Gleeson and featured singer in the film “Brooklyn” starring Saoirse Ronan. He is the vocalist with the critically acclaimed Irish /American band “The Gloaming.”

Read more about Iarla!

Sō Percussion

Sō Percussion’s performance will include select movements from Jason Treuting’s Go Placidly with Haste.

Read more about Sō Percussion!
$10 suggested donation.

Announcing SōSI 2020 Online

SōSI 2020 Online – a new educational program

July 12-26, 2020

Announcing SōSI 2020 Online, a new summer course from Sō Percussion! In place of our 12th annual Sō Percussion Summer Institute on the campus of Princeton University, and in light of the current situation we are all in with the Covid-19 national emergency, we are designing a new virtual SōSI with two main tracks. Although SōSI is normally limited to percussionists and composers, SōSI Online is available to musicians of any instrument or creative discipline in music.

Register Here

Please email Shelby@sopercussion.com with questions and inquiries.  

1) Collaborative SōSI – an interactive festival of online collaboration with other participants and Sō Percussion. Open space is limited.

  • Tuition – $500

Details about the program:

  • Held during the same 2 weeks of July that SōSI was scheduled for: July 12-26, 2020.
  • Creative laboratory to make and perform new works through online collaboration, with direct mentorship from Sō Percussion.
  • Guest lectures, talks, and listening sessions with Princeton faculty, Sō Percussion, and other amazing guests (TBD).
  • Public live-streamed performances on Sō Percussion’s social media channels.

Requirements:

  • Availability during the two week festival July 12-26.
  • Access to a computer, laptop, ipad, or cell phone for recording purposes.
  • Access to reliable internet.

2) SōSI Online Course (automatically included with Collaborative SoSI).

  • Tuition – $250

Details about the program:

  • Online course designed by Sō Percussion covering a vast terrain of interests in percussion, chamber music, new music, and experimental music.
  • Runs July 12-26, 2020, concurrently with Collaborative program.
  • Learn at your own pace and get what you want out of it.
  • Exclusive library of pre-recorded content: videos, writing, lectures, exercises. Examples include:
    •       Chamber Music 101: The fundamentals of playing together in an ensemble. Includes cueing, part preparation, rehearsal techniques, performance tips.
    •      A deep dive into the percussion ensemble repertoire: focusing on pieces such as Steve Reich’s “Drumming,” John Cage’s “Third Construction,” and David Lang’s “The so-called laws of nature.”
    •      Courses designed by the individual members of Sō Percussion, covering topics such as steel drum performance in contemporary music, coordination on drumset, the history and practice of 20th and 21st century experimental music, and integrating technology with new music.

The June Project

“Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.”

Max Ehrmann, Desiderata

During this period of isolation, So Percussion has embarked on a new project re-interpreting music from our third album Amid the Noise, with music by founding member Jason Treuting. Amid the Noise is designed to be modular and flexible, with many different possible versions.

Now also available: “September.”

As part of this project, inspired by our colleague Doug Perkins, we would like to invite YOU to participate. We are making the one-page scores to “June” and now also “September” available for free. Make your own version, perhaps on Youtube, and post it, tagging us @sopercussion on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, or email us a link at so@sopercussion.com.

Submissions playlist! Click on the upper right-hand corner of the video to browse through the projects people have submitted so far.

Check out the instructional videos below, as well as the original version of “June” with video by Jenise Treuting.

All of Jason’s music is available for purchase on our website in the shop, including both volumes of Amid the Noise. Have fun!

The Score

Download Jason Treuting’s “June” HERE

Download Jason Treuting’s “September” HERE


The Original Videos

Our recording of Amid the Noise in 2006 featured Jenise Treuting’s portrait-like videos with Jason’s music. Here are “June” and “September.”


Instructions for making your own “June”


Instructions for making your own “September”

Covid-19 Impact

Last updated: March 18, 2020

The current crisis surrounding the Covid-19 pandemic has affected Sō Percussion as it has many artists and small businesses. The peak of our touring season, which represents the bulk of our revenue, was just commencing when the imperative for social distancing caused venues to cancel.

To date, the following events have been cancelled or postponed:

  • March 20th – Rutgers University
  • March 26th-29th – Big Ears Festival, Knoxville
  • April 3rd+4th – Cincinnati Symphony
  • April 7th – Dallas Symphony
  • April 18th – Annenberg Center, Philadelphia
  • April 28th – So Percussion Annual Benefit

The members, board, and staff of So Percussion are in constant communication to formulate plans for the near and medium-term. This situation is fluctuating hour-to-hour, and we will continually reassess our financial and programming strategies.

Currently, we are planning to proceed with all programs from July onward, including the Sō Percussion Summer Institute at Princeton University.

During the period of social distancing, we are initiating a number of service programs online, including mentoring session by the members of Sō Percussion for young artists, short videos about percussion for families with children at home, and an ongoing outreach project where we solicit submissions from composers and performers to highlight what they are working on.

“Grammy nominators, take note…” The NYTimes covers So Percussion with Caroline Shaw

On Thursday, February 6th, we debuted four new songs from our forthcoming album with Caroline Shaw entitled “Let the soil play its simple part.” The New York Times covered this all-Shaw portrait concert, which also included that fantastic Attacca Quartet and Shaw’s song cycle Narrow Sea:

An album of these is in the works, and perhaps it’s time to start rolling out the singles. The four songs heard on Thursday are radio-ready: infectious and inviting, but by no means facile. One, “Lay All Your Love On Me,” seems like a laugh-out-loud tribute to Abba: four lines delivered with childlike simplicity — a straightforward vocal melody accompanied by a vibraphone — that, repeated and evolving, blossom into a chorale of surprising beauty.

“Let the soil play its simple part” is planned for release this year. Grammy nominators, take note.

We will be performing “Let the soil play its simple part” on Saturday, February 15th with a FREE concert at Princeton, and also at the Big Ears Festival at the end of March.

Sō Percussion Welcomes Nathalie Joachim as Inaugural Andrew W. Siegel Fellow

photo credit: Josué Azor

So Percussion is thrilled to announce Brooklyn born Haitian-American flutist, composer, and vocalist Nathalie Joachim as the ensemble’s inaugural Andrew W. Siegel Composition Fellow. A two-year appointment, the Fellowship honors an emerging composer whose work demonstrates extraordinary promise, and who will receive support and collaborative development in the creation of a new work, culminating in a premiere and subsequent touring of the piece by Sō Percussion. Nathalie and Sō will work together throughout the next season, exploring and developing a sonic language and then workshopping this new project together. The resulting composition will premiere at Princeton University in September 2021, and Sō will continue to tour and document the work in the 21/22 season, and beyond.

Click here to learn more about the Andrew W. Siegel Fellowship. To read the full press release, click here.