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So Percussion

Saturday, October 26, 3:00pm

“THE EVENING WAS AN EXHILARATING BLEND OF PRECISION AND ANARCHY, RIGOR AND BEDLAM…” – THE NEW YORKER

THROUGH A MIX OF CONSUMMATE SKILL AND QUIRKY CHARM, THIS MERCURIAL QUARTET HAS HELPED TO IGNITE AN EXPLOSIVE NEW ENTHUSIASM FOR PERCUSSION MUSIC OLD AND NEW. – THE NEW YORK TIMES (2012)

Prepare to be mesmerized by the innovative sounds of So Percussion. This ensemble pushes the boundaries of traditional percussion music, creating an immersive and dynamic performance that defies categorization.

“Marimbas and steel drums resonate like heavy raindrops, while other percussive rustles bring to mind the dry overlap of wind and cicadas whispering in the trees…Sō Percussion are most often serene, but some of their lightest touches are most dramatic.” – Pitchfork

“If percussionists are, as proclaimed elsewhere, the new princes of the realm of virtuosity, then these four wear the crown with panache.”  The Financial Times

“a marvelous program…crisply sensitive performances…This is a group that clearly inspires composers to push the limits of what’s possible.  San Francisco Chronicle

“The range of colors and voices that So Percussion coaxes from its menagerie is astonishing and entrancing.” -Billboard Magazine

“This group plays with an irresistible vitality.” -The Washington Post

“This ensemble has set the New York standard for percussion innovation.” – The New Yorker

“The reason for their success is simple: staggering ensemble virtuosity, which allows them to exhale the most complex scores like a single, multi-malleted organism.” – emusic.com 

PHOTO: ANJA SCHÜTZ

Sō is: Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting

For twenty years and counting, Sō Percussion has redefined chamber music for the 21st century through an “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam” (The New Yorker). They are celebrated by audiences and presenters for a dazzling range of work: for live performances in which “telepathic powers of communication” (The New York Times) bring to life the vibrant percussion repertoire; for an extravagant array of collaborations in classical music, pop, indie rock, contemporary dance, and theater; and for their work in education and community, creating opportunities and platforms for music and artists that explore the immense possibility of art in our time.

Their commitment to the creation and amplification of new work, and their extraordinary powers of perception and communication have made them a trusted partner for composers, allowing the writing of music that expands the style and capacity of brilliant voices of our time. Sō’s collaborative composition partners include Caroline Shaw, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Nathalie Joachim, Dan Trueman, Kendall K. Williams, Angélica Negrón, Shodekeh Talifero, Claire Rousay, Leilehua Lanzilotti, Bora Yoon, Olivier Tarpaga, Bobby Previte, Matmos, and many others.

In 23/24, Sō returns to Carnegie Hall for its biennial Zankel show, offering world premieres by composers Vijay Iyer, Angélica Negrón, and Olivier Tarpaga, as well as a sprawling performance of the latest flexible work by Sō’s Jason Treuting, Go Placidly with Haste. Other dates this season include Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa, Oklahoma Philharmonic (for David Lang’s man made, written for Sō, and featured in their latest recording with the Cincinnati Symphony and Louis Langrée); concerts with composer/performer Shodekeh Talifero at the Library of Congress; in Berlin with Caroline Shaw; performances in Burkina Faso with Olivier Tarpaga; and more.

Recent highlights have included performances at the Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Big Ears, Cal Performances, at the Palau de la Musica Catalana in Barcelona, at the Barbican in London, the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Penn Live Arts in Philadelphia, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and at The 92nd Street Y, New York.

Their Nonesuch recording, Narrow Sea, with Caroline Shaw, Dawn Upshaw, and Gilbert Kalish, won the 2022 Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. Other recent albums include the co-composed cycle with Caroline Shaw, Let the Soil Play its Simple PartA Record Of… on Brassland Music with Buke and Gase, and – on new imprint Sō Percussion Editions – an acclaimed version of Julius Eastman’s Stay On It,  plus Darian Donovan Thomas’s Individuate. This adds to a catalog of more than twenty-five albums featuring landmark recordings of works by David Lang, Steve Reich, Steven Mackey, and many more.

In Fall 2023, Sō Percussion began its tenth year as the Edward T. Cone performers-in-residence at Princeton University. Rooted in the belief that music is an elemental form of human communication, and galvanized by forces for social change, Sō enthusiastically pursues a range of social and community outreach through their nonprofit umbrella, including partnerships with local ensembles including Pan in Motion and Castle of Our Skins; their Sō Laboratories concert series; a studio residency program in Brooklyn; and the Sō Percussion Summer Institute, an intensive two-week chamber music seminar for percussionists and composers.