FSU’s Department of Music to Present Percussion Ensemble
Frostburg State University’s Percussion Ensemble will present its second spring concert on Thursday, April 25, at 7:30 p.m. in the Pealer Recital Hall of FSU's Woodward D. Pealer Performing Arts Center. The recital is free and open to the public.
Directed by Dr. Mackenzie LaMont, the concert will feature Carlos Chávez’s “Toccata,” John Cage’s “Living Room Music,” Lou Harrison’s “Canticle No. 1,” Alan Hovhannes’ “October Mountain,” Tetsuya Takeno’s “Marimba Quartet No. 1 – Samsara” and Terry Riley’s iconic “In C.”
Percussion Ensemble students include Ryan Barber, Blaine Becker, Deandre Cook, Anthony Fasci, Christopher Hess, Hannah Howard, Cheyenne Jeffries, Kamonte Johnson, Nathan Kopit, Preston Leshinskie, Hanna Livingston, Reiss Mikula and Garrett Spence. They are joined by guests Andrew McEwen and Dr. Karen Lau of FSU’s Department of Music.
Chávez was a Mexican conductor and composer whose music combines elements of traditional folk songs and modern compositional techniques. His music is unmistakably Mexican in its melodic patterns and rhythmic inflections. “Toccata” for percussion instruments (1942) is scored for 11 types of percussion instruments, some of them indigenous, played by six performers.
One of the most influential 20th century composers, Cage pioneered a body of music that he described as “the contemporary transition from keyboard-influenced music to the all-sound music of the future.” Beginning in the mid-1930s, he was a pioneer whose pieces for percussion ensemble liberated the genre from its two most clichéd roles – its supportive role in the orchestra and its role in popular music as rhythmical backdrop. “Living Room Music” (1940), was among the first of its kind in the West.
Harrison was an influential percussion composer and innovator. His career has included work as a composer, performer, teacher, musical theorist, ethnomusicologist, conductor, instrument maker, poet, calligrapher, critic, polemicist, dancer, puppeteer and playwright. From 1939-41 came a great outpouring of pieces, many of which have become standard works in the percussion ensemble repertoire, including “Bomba” (1939), “Canticle No. 1” (1940),” and ‘Labyrinth” (1941).
Hovhaness, one of the most intrepid of musical explorers in 20th-century classical music, wrote “October Mountain” in 1942. Since Hovhaness titled much of his music after places he visited, the name of the campground as well as the scenery of October Mountain State Forest may have stuck with him while he composed this piece. His music typically contains elements from Eastern cultures, such as the use of the gong and tam-tam in this piece, as well as the compositional techniques contained in the music of India and Armenia.
Takeno’s “Marimba Quartet No. 1 – Samsara” features a steady and simple catchy pattern that departs from that symmetry, gradually transforming into complex polyrhythmic ensembles. It ends dramatically, frantically reprising materials from previous sections. It represents the philosophy that music is comprised of organized sounds in the context of time, and that compositions should bear listening multiple times, which requires a balance among artistry, experimentation and appeal.
Riley launched the Minimalist movement with his revolutionary classic “In C” in 1964. This seminal work provided a new concept in musical form based on interlocking repetitive patterns. Its impacted the course of 20th-century music, and its influence can be heard in the works of prominent composers such as Steve Reich, Philip Glass and John Adams and in the music of rock groups such as The Who, The Soft Machine, Tangerine Dream, Curved Air and many others.
For more information, contact the Department of Music at 301-687-4109.
Thursday, April 25 at 7:30pm to 9:00pm
Pealer Recital Hall, PAC
101 Braddock Road, Frostburg, MD, Frostburg
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