NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The Stephen F. Austin State University Percussion Ensemble will present world premieres of two works, including one composed by a freshman SFA percussion student, written specifically for SFA percussionists when the ensemble performs at 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 14, in Cole Concert Hall on the SFA campus.
Dr. Brad Meyer, director of percussion studies at SFA, and Dr. Jamie Vilseck, percussion adjunct faculty, direct the Percussion Ensemble, which opens the concert with the premiere of  “Plane of Existence” by Carson Chlup, freshman music education major from Mansfield. Written for the percussion studio’s 2022-23 freshman class, this work is a representation of the space between life and death and is intended to “give off an ethereal feeling, taking the listener beyond the different ‘Planes of Existence’ to hopefully experience what it would be like to travel to a realm beyond our comprehension,” Chlup writes.
“ImPULSE” for percussion quartet was written by Austin Franklin for an aleatoric set of non-pitched percussion instruments, chosen by the performers according to instructions written in the score. The piece is composed in two parts, held together by a somewhat constant quarter note pulse, according to Franklin.
Mark Applebaum’s “Straitjacket” was commissioned by the Banff Centre for the Roots and Rhizomes Percussion Residency. Privately subtitled “four restraint systems for solo percussion and percussion quartet,” “Straitjacket” intersects conceptually with formal techniques employed by the French literary group Oulip: the palindrome, the isopangram, the lipogram and the taquinoid, according to Applebaum. This performance features Ariana Ruiz, junior music education major from Angleton, as soloist.
Marc Mellits’ “Tapas” is in eight short movements all working together like a baroque suite. “The individual lines fit closely together much like the pieces of a puzzle, each instrument relying on each other to fill in the spaces,” Mellits writes.
Michael Holt, freshman music education major from Nacogdoches, is soloist on Paul Rennick’s “Slopes,” conceived by the composer while reflecting on a lecture given in Aspen, Colorado, by a physics professor from the University of Chicago on the topic of fractal geometry in nature and avalanche theory. “The musical material captures the characteristics of these subjects, with a falling direction and downward sloping motifs,” according to Rennick.
Written for the Percussion Ensemble this spring, Chad Floyd’s “Timberjax” draws inspiration from SFA’s mascot, the Lumberjack. As the title states, the “Timberjax” can be heard in the opening, as they aggressively work on clearing the timber (the marimba bars). “As other voices enter, it is apparent that other workers have arrived and are contributing to the task,” Floyd explains.
Concert tickets are $8 for adults, $6 for seniors and $3 for students and youth. To purchase tickets, call the SFA Fine Arts Box Office at (936) 468-6407 or visit For additional information, contact the SFA School of Music at (936) 468-4602.