Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA's Percussion Ensemble to present program of varied works

March 30, 2017 - Robbie Goodrich
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Percussion Ensemble at Stephen F. Austin State University will perform a concert of diverse and intriguing works at 6 p.m. Monday, April 10, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

The program will feature new and standard compositions for small chamber groups and large ensemble by Daniel Levitan, Rudiger Pawassar, Steven Snowden, Nigel Westlake and Edgard Varèse, according to Dr. Brad Meyer, director of percussion studies in the SFA School of Music.

The Manhattan Marimba Quartet commissioned Levitan's "Marimba Quartet." This two-movement composition is contemporarily creative, yet accessible to the interpretation of conventional notation, explains Jim Lambert in Percussive Notes magazine. Two groups of marimba quartets will play both movements, which utilize thick, jazz chords as well as dense, full harmonies between players, Meyer said.

Pawassar's "Scuplture 3" was originally written as a quartet titled "Sculpture in Wood," and this arrangement is for marimba trio. The piece is almost a classical sounding work, but resembles many harmonic structures found in '70s and '80s jazz. The composer comments that when writing this work, it resembled to him the making of a wood sculpture in which, in drafts, many parts were cut off, added again, shifted and intertwined with one another.

Each movement in Snowden's "A Man With a Gun Lives Here" is based on symbols within a "hobo code" used by the brotherhood of nomadic freight train riders and traveling workers to keep themselves safe, fed and in work. Just like resourceful hobos, the piece makes use of limited resources, Meyer explained. All activity is centered on a single bass drum. Other items utilized include steel plates, rubber balls and a paper bag containing three pounds of loose buckshot.

The program also includes Westlake's "Omphalo Centric Lecture," the composer's most performed work, and Varèse's iconic and seminal work for percussion ensemble, "Ionization," the title of which is derived from the ionization of molecules, as electrons are dispersed through the process of atomic change. "Ionization" is one of the first pieces written for percussion ensemble and has become a standard of the repertoire.

Tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. For tickets or more information, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or (888) 240-ARTS or visit http://www.finearts.sfasu.edu/.