The IUP Percussion Ensemble (MUSC 127) meets five to six hours a week and performs at least one major concert a semester. It is dedicated to performing at a high standard a wide variety of literature chosen for its substance and pedagogical
value. Concert programs include pieces ranging from traditional to contemporary, novelty to transcriptions, and marimba ensembles to world music.
Guest conductors and soloists highlight various performances. The Percussion Ensemble also collaborates
regularly with the IUP Dance Theater for productions. In addition, the IUP Steel Band is frequently available for outreach and service situations.
While the IUP PE meets its expectations of showcasing the talent of its personnel, it also functions as an opportunity for intense learning. By design, parts are assigned to students in areas where they are proficient and deficient. Music is distributed
in a balanced fashion so older students and younger students have a relatively equal amount of responsibility on each concert and can perform side by side.
In an effort to showcase upperclassmen and graduate students, a new ensemble experience was initiated in 2005 called Intensity. This Percussion Chamber Ensemble is intended to be an extension of the IUP Percussion Ensemble, whose literature explores
contemporary chamber music centered around percussion, occasionally incorporating other instruments. Repertoire is performed earlier in the semester on a separate evening from the full Percussion Ensemble Concert due to the fact that smaller groups
of people with sometimes large setups are involved, making it less practical to program during the same event. By spring 2011, the concept developed to the point where freshman and sophomores are now included. Intensity is meant to be a premiere
group performing interesting and challenging percussion chamber music at a highly artistic level.
The Ensemble has performed frequently in public schools and at regional and national conventions, including the Music Educator’s National Conference; Pennsylvania Music Educators Association; College Band Directors National Association; National Dance
Association of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance; and
Percussive Arts Society conventions. These performances have included both the
PAS Pennsylvania State Chapter conferences and the Percussive Arts Society International Conventions such as the “New Literature of Percussion Ensemble”
session at PASIC 2007. Early recording projects include Whiplash and LaBamba (The O’Zone Percussion Group). More recently, the ensemble recorded selected pieces for the
HoneyRock Publishing Artistic Music Catalogue. The IUP PE commercially released its CD Opus Pocus on the Klavier label in 2010, which features original compositions, new arrangements, and fine solo and ensemble
performances by IUP students. A second CD project is currently underway.
Additional IUP Ensembles which utilize percussion include the Symphony Orchestra; Concert Bands, including the Wind Ensemble, Symphony Band, and Concert Band;
Marching Band; Brass Ensemble; Music Theater; two Jazz Bands; and Jazz Combos. Percussion students also participate in other jazz groups, chamber ensembles, and area orchestras,
and maintain private teaching studios.
Visit the IUP Percussion Program website
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