The independent percussion ensemble is an early 20th century musical phenomenon that was stimulated by the exploratory compositions of Edgard Varèse, Henry Cowell, Lou Harrison, Harry Partch, and, especially, John Cage. Composers such as Toru Takemitsu, Steve Reich, Michael Colgrass and Charles Wuorinen latched on to the new sonic possibilities that the percussion ensemble suggested and wrote important pieces. There was also an explosion in the growth of percussion ensembles on both the college campus and in the professional music world.

Frank Epstein, former Boston Symphony Orchestra percussionist, Chair of Brass and Percussion at NEC, and Director of the NEC Percussion Ensemble, has long been an ardent champion of new music. With the NEC Percussion Ensemble, he has commissioned and given first performances of many new works, helping building a 21st century repertory for that instrumental grouping. Percussion Ensemble concerts, then, are a rich and varied mix of styles, colors, and textures.

Tonight's concert once again features a new work for this most contemporary of instrumental ensembles: Wolfgang Rihm's Tutuguri VI.

With the subtitle “Music After Antonin Artaud”, Tutuguri VI is the final installment of Rihm’s Artaud cycle. Originally conceived as an individual work, the Tutuguri pieces can also be performed as a continuous 100-minute cycle bearing the subtitle “Poème dansé” for large orchestra, choir on tape and speaker. Tutuguri VI was premiered in 1981 by the Kolberg Percussion Ensemble with director Manfred Reichert. At thirty-five minutes in duration, the work is a mesmerizing palette of rhythmic and timbral combinations that creates a diverse and expressive landscape.

Date: April 6, 2014 - 8:00:PM
Price: Free
Location: NEC’s Jordan Hall

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