Fascinating music for the unusual but highly effective combination of two pianos with percussion instruments will be performed on Monday, March 30, at 7:30 p.m., in the Roland Hayes Concert Hall of UTC Fine Arts Center. On stage will be the Callithumpian Consort, featuring pianists Stephen Drury and Yukiko Tagaki, and percussionists Stuart Gerber and Scott Deal.
The program includes the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion by Béla Bartók, which was the first work to be composed for this instrumentation. Also included will be a new work created by American composer Christian Wolff for the same grouping.
Admission is free and the public is invited. This performance is sponsored by the Ruth S. Holmberg Professorship in American Music and the Department of Music at UTC.
The Callithumpian Consort has been called “…One of Boston’s most intrepid and accomplished new music ensembles…” by David Weininger of the Boston Globe. Founded by pianist Stephen Drury in the 1980s, the Calithumpian Consort is flexible in size and makeup. Its repertoire includes the classics of the last 100 years and new works in the avant-garde and experimental traditions. The group’s 2015 spring tour will see them performing throughout the Eastern US, with a final concert in Indianapolis. Each of the four current members are internationally known and acclaimed. In a very different configuration which included 5-string banjo, the Callithumpian Consort first performed in Chattanooga in April, 2005.
American composer Christian Wolff (b. 1934) was a primary force in a musical movement historically known as the New York School, consisting of composers who revolutionized music in the 20th century. Wolff helped to change the way musicians across a broad spectrum of genres think about composition and performance. Most profoundly, he has impacted how classical musicians interpret their own craft. Wolff has received awards and grants from the American Academy and National Institute of Arts and Letters, the Ford Foundation, DAAD Berlin, the Asian Cultural Council, the Fromm Foundation, among others. He was professor of classics and music at Dartmouth College from 1971 to 1999.
Composer Béla Bartók ((1881-1945), born and raised in Hungary, was a celebrated composer and pianist. During his relatively brief career as a teacher at the Royal Academy, his students included a few of the top musicians of the 20th Century, including conductors Fritz Reiner and Georg Solti, and pianists Lili Kraus and György Sándor. Along with his friend Zoltan Kodály, His Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion was composed in 1937, and premiered with Bartók and his wife at the pianos in 1938 in Basil, Switzerland, where it was received enthusiastically. It has since become one of Bartók’s most performed works.
Pianist and conductor Stephen Drury has performed throughout the world with a repertoire that stretches from Bach to Liszt to the music of today. He has appeared at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center, the Barbican Centre and Queen Elizabeth Hall in London, the Cité de la Musique in Paris, and the Leipzig Gewandhaus, and from Arkansas to Seoul. A champion of contemporary music, he has also performed contemporary works in remote corners of Pakistan, Greenland and Montana. Drury has performed or recorded several professional orchestras and has worked closely with many of the leading composers of our time.
Pianist Yukiko Takagi has performed with the orchestra of the Bologna Teatro Musicale, the John Zorn Ensemble, the Auros Group for New Music, Santa Cruz New Music Works, the Harvard Group for New Music and the Chameleon Arts Ensemble. She gives frequent duo-piano concerts with Stephen Drury. Her recording of Colin McPhee’s Balinese Ceremonial Dances was released by MusicMasters. At New England Conservatory, Takagi is a teacher and guest artist for NEC’s Summer Institute for Contemporary Piano Performance.
Lauded as having “consummate virtuosity” by The New York Times, percussionist Dr. Stuart Gerber has performed extensively throughout the US, Europe, Australia, and Mexico as a soloist an chamber musician. He is Associate Professor of Percussion at Georgia State University in Atlanta. As an active performer of new works, Stuart has been involved in a number of world-premiere performances. Gerber has been the faculty percussionist for the Stockhausen-Courses since 2005 and has recorded a number of pieces for the Stockhausen Complete Edition released by the Stockhausen-Verlag. In addition to his work with Stockhausen, Stuart has worked with many other notable composers.
Performer, composer and media artist Scott Deal engages new works of chamber music, computer interactivity, networked systems, electronics and percussion. His percussion performances have been described as “riveting” (Sequenza21), and executed with “phenomenal virtuosity” (Artsfuse). His recordings have been described as “soaring, shimmering explorations of resplendent mood and incredible scale”….”sublimely performed”, and his recent recording of Pulitzer Prize/Grammy Award-winning composer John Luther Adams’ Four Thousand Holes, was listed in New Yorker Magazine’s 2011 Top Ten Classical Picks.
He has performed at venues worldwide, including Musicacoustica Beijing, Almeida Opera London, Arena Stage Washington, Supercomputing Global, Zerospace, among others. He is the percussionist for the computer-acoustic trio Big Robot, who have performed to audiences worldwide. He is a Professor of Music and Director of the Donald Louis Tavel Arts and Technology Research Center at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.
Funding for the Calithumpian Tour is made possible with funding from the IUPUI Arts and Humanities Institute, the Donald Tavel Arts and Technology Research Center at IUPUI, the New England Conservatory, and Georgia State University.