The Eastman Percussion Ensemble will represent the Eastman School of Music in the prestigious Conservatory Project at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, April 28, at 6 p.m.
The program will open with Edgar Varese’s groundbreaking work Ionization, the first concert hall composition for percussion ensemble in western music. Other works include Origins/Glades by Henrik Strindberg, Sculpture in Wood by Rüdiger Pawassar, Village Burial with Fire by James Wood, and Michael Burritt’s Rounders. The ensemble will give a free local concert previewing its program on Tuesday, April 26, at 8 p.m. in Eastman East Wing rehearsal hall (Room 415).
Under the direction of Michael Burritt, Professor of Percussion, the Percussion Ensemble is comprised of undergraduate juniors, seniors, and graduate percussion majors. Its repertoire ranges from contemporary genres to world music and improvisation.
The ensemble presents numerous concerts on and off-campus each year and has appeared with renowned percussionists Bob Becker and Steve Schick, Swedish vibraphonist and composer Answers Åstrand, and Argentinean composer Alejandro Viñao. In 2011, the ensemble performed at the New York City Day of Percussion, and in 2009, the Ensemble performed the opening concert at the Paris Conservatory International Percussion Festival.
Michael Burritt, who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees as well as the Performers Certificate at the Eastman School, is one of the world’s leading percussion soloists, having performed on four continents and in nearly 40 states. He has been a soloist with the Dallas Wind Symphony, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Amores Percussion Group in Spain, the Ju Percussion Group of Taiwan, and other ensembles. He has released three recordings and is also active as a composer. Before joining the Eastman faculty in 2008, Burritt was professor of percussion at Northwestern University.
The Eastman School was one of eight founding participants of the Kennedy Center Conservatory Project when it was launched in 2004, and student musicians have represented the school in front of Washington, D.C., audiences every year since then. The Conservatory Project is a semi-annual event, designed to present the best young musical artists in classical, jazz, musical theater, opera and more from our nation’s leading undergraduate and graduate conservatories, colleges and universities in performance at the Kennedy Center.
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