So Percussion & Bobby Previte: Pocket Concertos
Merkin Hall, 7:30PM, Monday, March 28, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011 - 03:15 PM
Composer Bobby Previte, whose ensembles "speak in visionary tongues" (The New Yorker), premieres TERMINALS, Part 1: DEPARTURES – a set of five concertos for the enthralling and innovative quartet So Percussion and star soloists. The solo improvisers include Zeena Parkins, harp; John Medeski, keyboards; DJ Olive, turntables; vocalist Jen Shyu; and Bobby Previte himself on drums. Having been fascinated by the architecture of airports since a young age, Previte's work is a musical interpretation and graphic representation of their structure and form.
This concert will conclude the Ecstatic Music Festival and will be webcast live on our sister station WQXR's web service, Q2. Bonus live introductions and interviews with host John Schaefer will be taped from the stage for later broadcast on New Sounds.
Brought up playing soul and rock music in the old bars, clubs, and bordellos of Niagara Falls, NY, he later studied formally at the University of Buffalo, which boasted musicians John Cage, Lucas Foss, Morton Feldman, and Jan Williams. He then ran head on into Miles Davis, Edgard Varese, Charles Mingus, Terry Reilly, Abstract Expressionism, Igor Stravinsky, Frank Lloyd Wright, George Balanchine and William Faulkner. That was that.
For twenty-five years he has remained a leader, widely hailed for his electrifying drumming and his stunning, unclassifiable compositions. Previte leads more bands than he probably should, and has added the electronic drums to his ever widening arsenal.
He has played an astonishing range of genres and venues, from the Palace Burlesque House in Buffalo, NY to country music at Gloriaâs Corral Club in the Kentucky backwoods (complete with, yes, a real corral surrounding the bandstand) to Carnegie Hall, and has presented his music at the major festivals around the world, from Europe to Russia, Japan to South America, and back.
is Eric Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, Jason Treuting Since coming together at the Yale School of Music, So Percussion has been creating music that is at turns raucous and touching, barbarous and heartfelt. Realizing that percussion instruments can communicate all the extremes of emotion and musical possibility, it has not been an easy music to define. Called “astonishing and entrancing” by Billboard Magazine, “brilliant” by the New York Times, the Brooklyn based quartet’s innovative work has quickly helped them forge a unique and diverse career. Their music runs the gamut from percussion classics (Steve Reich’s Drumming), to new commissions (David Lang’s the so-called laws of nature), to original music (group member Jason Treuting’s Amid the Noise).
So Percussion has performed this music all over the United States, with concerts at the Lincoln Center Festival, Carnegie Hall, Stanford Lively Arts, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and many others. In addition, recent tours to Russia, Australia, Italy, Spain, Germany, and the Ukraine have brought them international acclaim. So would like to thank Pearl/Adams Instruments, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth drumsticks, Remo drumheads, and Estey organs for their sponsorship.
John Medeski may be best known as one-third of Medeski Martin & Wood, but his full body of work goes far beyond that ground-breaking trio. Hard to believe that at the age of nine, John nearly gave up the piano, thinking that the instrument was too 'girly' and looking to devote more time to other artistic mediums and a growing social life. Fortunately, John's parents convinced him to stick with the piano just a bit longer. By his early teen years, John enrolled in the prestigious Pinecrest School, a private institution where he began an intense study of classical music and theory while simultaneously studying jazz piano harmony. Of course, it is that very juxtaposition of classical discipline and jazz improvisation which informs Medeski's music to this very day. As of late, John can be found performing solo piano recitals, where he explores classical music, lounge songs, and jazz standards in intimate concert venues such as the Chicago Symphony Center and New York City's Merkin Hall, in addition to select dates in Mexico City and Guadalajara. A familiar face in New York's 'downtown' scene, John has performed alongside New York-based musicians such as saxophonist/composer John Zorn, guitarist Marc Ribot, Lounge Lizard John Lurie, and slide trombonist Steve Bernstein. There are musicians from Morocco and Peru who Medeski has played with, and hopes to play music alongside again. And there is a dream of one day putting together and scoring music for a big band.
Zeena Parkins, multi-instrumentalist, composer, improvisor, well-known as a pioneer of the electric harp, has also extended the language of the acoustic harp with the inventive use of unusual playing techniques, preparations, and layers of digital and analog processing. Zeena makes use of anything within reach as a possible tool with which she can enhance the sonic capabilities of her harps. She accurately describes her harp as a "sound machine of limitless capacity" and has used, household objects and hardware store finds, including: alligator clips, nails, rubber erasers, rubber tubing, felt, bows, metal candy lids, oversized metal bolts, hair clips, glass jars, discarded strings, as well as more conventional: leslie cabinets, guitar pedals, and numerous other digital processing hardware and assorted and varied software.
Ms. Parkins has appeared on over 70 CD's and in hundreds of concerts in both large and small spaces all over the world. A lightning bolt of a performer, Zeena is a sought after collaborator, performing with Jim O'Rourke, Nels Cline, Lee Renaldo, Kaffe Matthews (Weightless Animals), Thurston Moore, and Pauline Oliveros, among others, and has been involved in countless projects, involving everyone from Bjork to John Zorn.
DJ Olive Gregor Asch moved to Brooklyn in 1990 and co-founded Lalalandia Entertainment Research Corporation. Lalalandia made many of the most memorable Brooklyn warehouse after hours environments of the 90's. It was during this time that Asch started making music as Dj Olive. Multipolyomni and We(TM) are two notable projects he created . We(TM)'s '97 release "as is" can be considered a classic. Multipolyomni's episodes from their opera "Quark Soup" are considered influential to the forming of the early Williamsburg art scene. In 2000 he started two record labels: Phonomena Audio Arts & Multiples and The Agriculture. Dj Olive's first solo CD, "Bodega", is a Brooklyn favorite which he followed up with the much loved "Live in Tasmania". On an all together different note, Room40 from Brisbane, Australia released Dj Olive's "Triage", "Buoy" & "Sleep" CD's, 60-min voyages of beat-less warmth Olive calls "sleeping pills". He has also been working on a concept he calls "The Vinyl Score" since 1995, which are palettes of sound pressed on vinyl and then played with 'rules' by turntablalists. He has continued building installations, making sound art and participated in many exhibitions including: The Whitney Biennial 2008; Treble, Brooklyn Sculpture Center 2004; City Sonics, Mons 2004; Venice Biennale 2003; The Whitney Biennial 2002; Bit Streams, The Whitney Museum of American Art 2001; Art at the Anchorage, Brooklyn 1996.
Jen Shyu Born in Illinois from Taiwanese and East Timorese parents, Jen Shyu is a soloist and bandleader now based in NY, and has established herself as a pioneering and original voice in the improvisational, experimental jazz, and creative music and multidisciplinary worlds. Shyu has worked with innovators such as Anthony Braxton, Mark Dresser, Dave Burrell, and currently records and tours with saxophonist/composer Steve Coleman and Five Elements since appearing on his latest albums Harvesting Semblances and Affinities (Pi Recordings 2010) and Lucidarium and Weaving Symbolics (Label Bleu 2005 & 2006). Jen has also worked closely with actress/performance artist Soomi Kim on her award-winning piece Lee/gendary inspired by Bruce Lee, where Jen composed for and performed with Soomi at the the Beckett Theatre as part of the first National Asian American Theatre Festival. Aside from locally at venues such as Brooklyn Academy of Music and Lincoln Center and internationally throughout Europe, Asia, and Africa, Jen was a MacDowell Colony National Endowment for the Arts Fellow in 2008-2009 and has been awarded fellowships from the Asian Cultural Council, Jerome Foundation, the Bronx Council on the Arts, and special commissions from Roulette Space & the Jazz Gallery, for which she collaborated with choreographer/dancer Satoshi Haga. She has done extensive music research in Cuba, Brazil, Taiwan, China, and most recently, East Timor.