The Operating System

Necessarily Sō : A Sō Percussion John Cage Celebration | American Mavericks Festival, 3.26.12

Sō Percussion

Sō Percussion Pop-Out Media Player ::

For your full multimedia pleasure, please click on this link to listen to selections from the Sō Percussion catalogue as you read! (oooooooooh, fancy!)

Who is Sō Percussion? And what are they doing with that cactus?
Well… what *aren’t* they doing.

No, seriously.

These Brooklyn-based percussive polymaths come to Carnegie Hall tonight as part of the outstanding, genre bending, boundary pushing “American Mavericks” series put on by Carnegie Hall (and a range of neighborhood partners). I love these guys SO much (the puns are impossible to avoid here!), and they are a perfect example of the type of collaborative, expectation defying, community fostering, teaching, sharing, mentoring, hard working creatives that Exit Strata strives to emulate, encourage, and promote!

Tonight’s program is a courageous, rare treat: a Celebration of John Cage’s work, entitled “We Are All Going in Different Directions,” (just the kind of rhizomatic thinking that makes me hot around the collar.)  Also gracing the stage will be the electronic mavens known as Matmos. Below, the setlist: (yowza)

  • CAGE Credo in US
  • SO PERCUSSION / MATMOS Needles
  • CAGE Imaginary Landscape #1
  • CAGE Quartet for Percussion from She is Asleep
  • CENK ERGÜN Use
  • DAN DEACON “Bottles” from Ghostbuster Cook: The Origin of the Riddler
  • DAN DEACON Take a Deep Breath
  • CAGE 18′ 12″, A Simultaneous Performance of Cage Works
    ·· Inlets (Improvisation II)
    ·· 0′ 00″ (4′ 32″ No. 2)
    ·· Duet for Cymbal
    ·· 45′ for a Speaker
  • JASON TREUTING 24 x 24 (NY Premiere)
  • CAGE Third Construction

A little bio (from their website):

So is: Eric Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting

Since 1999, So Percussion has been creating music that explores all the extremes of emotion and musical possibility.  Called an “experimental powerhouse” by the Village Voice, “astonishing and entrancing” by Billboard Magazine, and “brilliant” by the New York Times, the Brooklyn-based quartet’s innovative work with today’s most exciting composers and their own original music has quickly helped them forge a unique and diverse career.

Excitement about composers like John Cage, Steve Reich, and Iannis Xenakis  – as well as the sheer fun of playing together – inspired the members of So to begin performing together while students at the Yale School of Music. A blind call to David Lang, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and co-founder of New York’s Bang on a Can, yielded their first commissioned piece, the so-called laws of nature.  So’s recording of the so-called laws of nature became the cornerstone of their self-titled debut album on Cantaloupe Music (the record label from the founders of Bang on a Can).  In subsequent years, this relationship would blossom into a growing catalogue of exciting releases:  Steve Reich’s masterpieceDrumming; So member Jason Treuting’s amid the noise; Treasure State, a collaboration with the electronic duo Matmos; and Paul Lansky’s Threads. 

So’s ongoing body of original work has resulted in exciting new projects such as the site-specific Music For Trains in Southern Vermont and Imaginary City, a fully-staged sonic meditation on urban soundscapes commissioned by the Brooklyn Academy of Music for the Next Wave Festival 2009 in consortium with 5 other venues. So’s next theatrical project where (we) live is slated to premiere in Fall of 2012. 

So Percussion is increasingly involved in mentoring young artists.  Starting in the fall of 2011, its members will be Co-Directors of a new percussion department at the Bard College-Conservatory of Music.  This top-flight undergraduate program enrolls each student in a double-degree (Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts) course in the Conservatory and Bard College, and exposes them to both traditional western conservatory training and a variety of world traditions.  The summer of 2009 saw the creation of the annual So Percussion Summer Institute on the campus of Princeton University. The Institute is an intensive two-week chamber music seminar for college-age percussionists featuring the four members of So as faculty in rehearsal, performance, and discussion of contemporary music for students from around the world. 

So Percussion has performed their unusual and exciting music all over the United States, with concerts at the Lincoln Center Festival, Carnegie Hall, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Stanford Lively Arts, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and many others. In addition, recent tours to the United Kingdom, Russia, Australia, Italy, Germany, Spain, and the Ukraine have brought them international acclaim. 

With an audience comprised of “both kinds of blue hair… elderly matron here, arty punk there” (as the Boston Globe described it), So Percussion makes a rare and wonderful breed of music that both compels instantly and offers rewards for engaged listening.

So would like to thank Pearl/Adams Instruments, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth drumsticks, Remo drumheads, Black Swamp Accessories, and Estey organs for their sponsorship.

One Commment

  1. […] previously profiled So Percussion in celebration of another staggeringly adventurous evening at Carnegie Hall, back in March of […]

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.