Stephen F. Austin State University

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SFA's Percussion Ensemble to perform works by Reich, Mellits, De Mey

October 26, 2017 - Robbie Goodrich
NACOGDOCHES, Texas - The Stephen F. Austin State University College of Fine Arts and School of Music will present the SFA Percussion Ensemble in concert at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 4, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.

Under the direction of Dr. Brad Meyer, director of percussion studies at SFA, the ensemble will perform works by Thierry De Mey, Steve Reich, Marc Mellits, John Psathas, Owen Clayton Condon and Matt Moore.

The concert will also feature the premiere performance of "Aqua Vitae" by Stephen Gorbos. SFA's Phi Boota Roota percussion fraternity was part of the consortium that funded the new work.

The Percussion Ensemble will perform De Mey's "Musique de Table," which is visual as well as aural.

"The piece must be seen as well as heard," De Mey said. "The piece has the structure of a baroque suite." (The inspiration is an 18th century form called "Tafelmusik," originally played to entertain guests while they sat at a table eating). "It's a serious piece, yet it has humor built into it."

The program also includes "Six Marimbas" by Reich; "Kyoto" by Psathas; "Fractalia" by Condon; "Critical Mass" by Moore; and "Gravity" by Mellits.

Commissioned by international consortium percussion groups from around the globe, "Gravity" was written for a combination of marimbas and vibraphones, and the mixture of sound that these different materials make provide a spring board for the musical lines to intersect, bounce, and play off each other, always getting faster, always "falling from the sky," according to Mellits.

"While writing 'Gravity,' I found myself thinking about how musical notes and lines can become attracted to each other and follow one another," he wrote in describing the piece. "With a musical gravitational force, the lines follow each other, then bounce back and forth together. The overall rhythm and tempo also shifts in a 'gravitational' way. The music continually gets faster and faster, always picking up speed as it falls, spiraling into a new tempo at each musical shift in texture."

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 visit www.finearts.sfasu.edu.