Forbidden Love, Note to Self & When the Sun Hits Just Right
Brooklyn’s Sō Percussion is contemporary classical music’s leading percussion ensemble by many measures: its virtuosity, its searching sensibility, and its shining profile, which includes work with pop artists such as The National and Dirty Projectors as well as with Steve Reich and Caroline Shaw, with whom they will perform Let the Soil Play Its Simple Part elsewhere in the festival. But perhaps above all, they are known for the incredible range of music they can play with four members—Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, Jason Treuting, and Eric Cha-Beach—and a changeable palette of pitched percussion, drumkits, and piano.
This program, a varied showcase of the shifting realms beyond post-minimalism, includes “Forbidden Love,” a thrillingly cacophonous piece by Bang on a Can cofounder and Pulitzer-winning composer Julia Wolfe, which posits the percussion ensemble as an electronic string quartet. “Note to Self,” a new commission from the Haitian American composer, vocalist, and flutist Nathalie Joachim (of Flutronix and Fanm d’Ayiti renown), is fresh off its world premiere at Carnegie Hall. And “When the Sun Hits Just Right” is the world premiere of an octet for Sō and Kronos Quartet by Angélica Negrón, whose scintillating electro-tropical sounds feature in several Big Ears shows this year.
With albums on Nonesuch, Cantaloupe, Brassland, and New Amsterdam and the robust commissioning practice that this program exemplifies, Sō Percussion are our most faithful stewards of the percussion repertoire—not as a tomb for the classics, but as a living, growing metropolis of rhythmic and harmonic perspectives and possibilities.