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 masterpiece Drumming; 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.