This past Saturday night, on a whim, my wife, daughters and I attended a performance by the Yale Percussion Group under the artistic direction of Robert Van Sice. (More here.) We only knew about the concert because my daughter’s composition teacher suggested it as way for her students to earn extra credit and as a topic for their quarterly concert reviews. We had no idea what to expect. I attended one percussion recital during my one year as music performance major but that was it for expectations.
The group is comprised of artists from around the world who have come for graduate study under Mr. van Sice. The members of the current iteration of the Yale Percussion Group are: Candy Chiu, Leonardo Gorosito, Denis Petrunin, Michael Zell, John Corkhill and Ian Rosenbaum. Flutist Daria Nikolenko played L’histoire de tango but I’m not sure if she is a formal member of the group.
The performance was nothing short of extraordinary. Beginning with the precision and humor of Musique de Tables (played on an amplified table) and ending with the whimsical theater of Dressur performed with what appeared to be numerous homemade and found objects, the evening was two hours of surprise, joy, and celebration of musical expression. A performance of Musique de Tables from the 2009 Percussive Arts Society’s International Convention can be seen here.
Musique de Tables (1987) by Thierry De Mey
L’histoire du tango (ca. 1985) by Astor Piazzolla
Rogosanti (1986) by James Wood
Third Construction (1941) by John Cage
Dressur (1976/77) by Mauricio Kagel
Upcoming events can be found at: http://music.yale.edu