A variety of contemporary works and special performances are on tap for the West Virginia University Percussion Ensemble fall concert Thursday, Oct. 18, at the Creative Arts Center on the Evansdale Campus.
The concert begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Lyell B. Clay Concert Theatre.
For nearly 30 years, this concert has been one of the highlights of the year at the University. The 2007 event will continue this tradition, as well as move into the cutting edge of 21st century performance genre, said director George Willis.
The program will includePalace of 9 Perfectionsby Eric Ewazen, a composition that combines many different percussion instruments to create a beautiful Asian sonority.
This work will showcase the sensitive melodic skills of many of the WVU percussionists. It will be conducted by Adam Osmianski, who is director of the WVU Marching Band Drumline as well as a graduate assistant in the jazz department.
Releaseby David Hollinden is considered the most exciting work on the fall concert program.
It is very energetic, combining many different drums, cymbals and other non-traditional percussion instruments,Willis said.This piece is very challenging from a rhythmic standpoint and will also challenge the audience in a unique way.
Matraby Akira Nishimura is a marimba concerto in the Japanese musical style and will be accompanied by percussionists playing instruments such as steel drums, tuned gongs and timpani.
Over the past few years the ensemble has featured one of its own players as a soloist, and this year David Newcomb will be the soloist onMatra.
Newcomb is currently a graduate assistant for the WVU Percussion Department. He holds an undergraduate degree in music performance from WVU and was a member of the Drumline.
In addition, Newcomb was the recipient of the prestigious 2006-2007 Presser Award as the most outstanding music student in College of Creative Arts. He has performed with all of the ensembles at WVU , as well as with the Wheeling Symphony Orchestra.
Adagio for Stringsby Samuel Barber has become one of the favorite pieces in the repertoire of symphony orchestra. The intensity and emotion that Barber created in this work are mostly unparalleled. The ensemble will perform its arrangement of this work that will include the entire studio.
The sound of nearly 20 percussionists playing marimba on this piece will be both memorable and breathtaking,Willis said.
Concerto for Percussion Ensembleby David Gillingham is a work for a large ensemble (13 players) and is one of the most challenging pieces recently played ensemble.
The large percussion ensemble is one of the most marvelous sounding ensembles in todays musical styles,Willis said.Concerto for Percussion Ensemblecan be compared to a one-movement work for symphony orchestra with excitingly contrasting sections.Lexby Michael Daugherty is written for amplified violin solo and percussion ensemble. It will feature Ellen-Maria Willis playing the violin solo.
Daughertys music often has American folk lore themes. This piece is named after Supermans arch nemesis Lex Luther.
Ellen-Maria Willis and the Percussion Department collaborated with the WVU Division of Art on this work to make it a very a visual and musical experience for audiences of all ages.
Tickets for the concert are available at the Mountainlair and Creative Arts Center Box Offices or by calling 304-293-SHOW.