Concert Celebrates 50 Years of Percussion Education at IUP

Posted on 9/13/2016 9:11:10 AM

This year marks the 50th year of percussion education at IUP. It was fall 1966 when Gary Olmstead (professor emeritus) started teaching as IUP’s first director of Percussion Studies. The first of this year’s concerts to recognize and celebrate this landmark will be the IUP Percussion Chamber Ensemble concert “Intensity” on Tuesday, September 20, 2016, starting at 8:00 p.m. in Gorell Recital Hall. Admission is free. The director is Michael Kingan, current professor of Percussion.

Percussion EnsembleThe first piece of the “Intensity” program, a transcription of a movement from Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 by Bach, happens to have been the first piece performed on the first-ever IUP Percussion Ensemble concert of November 14, 1966.

Following this piece, senior music major Taylor Gephart will be featured on the xylophone ragtime piece “Charleston Capers” by George Hamilton Green. She’ll be accompanied by a marimba band.

Two pieces on the concert use only drums and percussion sounds (no melodic keyboard instruments). The first is a quartet called “Parallax” by James Romig, and the other is a duo by Gene Koshinski titled “Dance of the Drums.” This piece actually incorporates a conch shell into its instrumentation.

The concert will feature two minimalistic pieces. One is called “Les Mouton de Panurge” by Frederic Rzewski for three mallet instruments. The other is Terry Riley’s “In C,” which uses a mix of over 20 instrumentalists from the percussion, woodwind, brass, and string studios of the Music Department. It’s a full-scale departmental collaboration.

Minimalism can be defined as an avant-garde movement in music characterized by the repetition of very short phrases that change gradually, producing a hypnotic effect.

While both of these pieces fit this description, they are vastly different and will be very interesting to experience in a live setting.

Introductory remarks about “In C” will be delivered by John Levey, assistant professor of Music Theory and coordinator of the Theory and Composition area.