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Lighters, chairs and found
objects star in
Three original percussion compositions join musical works from Japan, Trinidad and Italy, and other countries, for the Purdue Percussion Theatre’s “Drummin’ ‘round the world” concert. It is set for 8 p.m. Saturday, April 30, in Elliott Hall of Music. Admission is free.
The annual concert of Purdue’s drumline and percussion ensembles is known for its unusual mix of pieces and Saturday’s event will be no exception. Two of the more unusual pieces are “Do You Have a Light?” a French piece executed with cigarette lighters, and John Cage’s “Living Room Music” which make uses of found items for percussion.
“Cage is the father of experimental percussion and this is actually a very serious piece,” says Pamela J. Nave, Purdue’s percussion specialist. His compositions spurred the development of groups now considered mainstream, like Stomp and Blue Man Group. For “Living Room,” student musicians are not allowed to bring things from home or make advance choices of items for instrumental use. They have to pick up something they found around Elliott Hall prior to the concert.
For the third year in a row, Kevin Tsai, a junior from Lisle, IL, will debut an original piece on the program. His newest work,” Paco’s Purple-Headed Jam Band is pensive. On Thursday. What?” is a drum piece performed against a background of electronic music that Tsai engineered and put on a CD.
Brian Leathers, a senior from Granger, IN, will introduce “Kaminari” patterned after traditional Japanese taiko drumming popularized and taken around the world by the Kodo Drummers. “It’s a powerful piece and very, very visual. Physically it hurts to play it because you use your whole body,” Nave says.
Keiko Abe will introduce “The Wave” which features a marimba solo. In the international flavor of the concert, the performance of that piece will be webcast to Taiwan so the parents of the soloist, Ching Chih Wu, can view it live.
The familiar strains of the William Tell Overture” by Rossini will be heard in a different interpretation. Four musicians will play it using chairs “You won’t hear any pitches but when you hear the rhythm you’ll know it’s William Tell,” Nave says.
The show opens with a “Rant and Rave!’ a piece designed for steel drums but transcribed for marimba. “It’s a really happy, energetic piece from Trinidad and Tobago,” Nave says. Among other works on the concert are Chris Brooks’ “Stick Schtick,” David England’s “In-Tension,” Jesse Monkman’s “Nocturnal Dance” and Jim Casella’s “Cyclone.”The Purdue Percussion Theater is part of Purdue Bands & Orchestras which offers more than 20 free concerts every season.
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