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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Percussion Plus Project presents 'Lou Harrison - Truth-Seeker'

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The works of Lou Harrison -- who's been called "a genuine maverick" and "a composer on the vanguard of American music" will be the focus of a Sunday, Nov. 6, concert presented by The Percussion Plus Project.

Titled "Lou Harrison -- Truth-Seeker," the performance will mark the closing event of "ArtsFest 2011: Art and Truth?"

Free and open to all, it will begin at 3 p.m. and take place in Kresge Auditorium of the Green Center for the Performing Arts.

The program will highlight three of the composer's works: Concerto for the Violin with Percussion Orchestra, First Concerto for Flute and Percussion, and Concerto for Organ with Percussion Orchestra.

In addition to the members of The Percussion Plus Project, the concert with feature guest soloists Timothy Kantor (violin), Anne Reynolds (flute), and Carla Edwards (organ), as well as the DePauw Percussion Ensemble.

"The repertoire in the concert makes use of unusual percussion instruments -- some of which were made especially for these pieces," said Amy Lynn Barber, artistic director of The Percussion Plus Project and director of the DePauw Percussion Ensemble. "The instrumentation includes trash cans, automobile brake drums, metal pipes, tin cans, ceramic flower pots, wooden boxes, and a string bass played as a percussion instrument, as well as many Asian and other 'world' instruments like gongs, Chinese cymbals, wind chimes, and rasps.

"It is the unusual timbre of this collection of instruments that gives these pieces their very unique sound and 'flavor.''

Harrison grew up in the culturally diverse San Francisco Bay Area. He was influenced by a variety of musical styles, and held various jobs to support himself. In 1947, after living in New York, Harrison returned to California, where he became increasingly involved in the musical cultures of the Pacific Rim.

In the 1960s he traveled throughout Asia, composing for Asian instruments. Throughout his life he maintained an interest in dance, theatre, and the craft of instrument building, and was an accomplished puppeteer who wrote musical pieces for puppet theatre.

Harrison was outspoken about his political views and was an active environmentalist, constructing a straw bale house in the Mojave Desert.

Founded in 1993 in Prague by Professor Barber, The Percussion Plus Project is a unique contemporary chamber music ensemble, which focuses on an unusual repertoire that is little-known to general audiences.

Their programs consist of works for percussion -- ranging from one to many players -- and another solo instrument. No other ensemble devotes itself solely to this repertoire.

The ensemble maintained a successful concert series in Prague, Ljubljana, and Vienna before coming to DePauw University in 2002.

Chamber Singers Reveal 'Musical Masks'

This Friday, Nov. 4, the DePauw Chamber Singers will present their second concert of the DePauw University Schooll of Music's 127th season.

Led by Gregory Ristow, director of choirs, the program will begin at 7:30 p.m. Thompson Recital Hall of the Judson and Joyce Green Center for the Performing Arts. It is presented free of admission charge and is open to all.

Titled "Musical Masks," the concert will focus on the theme of this year's ArtsFest, "Art and Truth? The repertoire focuses on many truths -- of love, in nature and living life, and the honesty of pledges.

The performance will feature four highly varied works -- April is in my Mistress' Face by Thomas Morley, La Bomba by Mateo Flecha, Panteley the Healer by Sergei Rachmaninoff, and a six-movement work by William Bolcom titled The Mask.

Founded in 1884, the DePauw University School of Music is the nation's sixth-oldest private institution for post-secondary music instruction and the longest-running in Indiana.