SOU Concerts June 6-June 11 at Oregon Center for the Arts on Campus
SOU Ensembles feature Steve Reich’s Drumming and Breathing Masterworks in final concerts
Monday, June 5, 2023 (Ashland, OR). The Southern Oregon University Percussion Ensemble and Chamber Choir will perform their last concerts of the academic year this week. Presented by the Oregon Center for the Arts at SOU, the SOU Percussion Ensemble concert is on Tuesday, June 6th and begins at 7:30pm and the SOU Chamber Choir will perform on Sunday, June 11th at 3:00pm – both concerts are at the Southern Oregon University Music Recital Hall at 450 S. Mountain Avenue in Ashland and offer free livestreams.
The concerts will both run about an hour in length and will feature student musicians, soloists, and guest artists from across the Rogue Valley.
The SOU Percussion Ensemble directed by Dr. Terry Longshore will perform Steve Reich’s most famous work Drumming on Tuesday, June 6th at 7:30pm. The entire concert will feature Reich’s work which will comprise the entire concert. The four parts will be played without pause and the instrumentation will include bongos, vocals, marimbas, glockenspiels, recorder, whistler, and more.
Drumming begins with two drummers and builds layer upon layer the basic rhythmic pattern of the entire piece from a single drumbeat. Reich masterfully layers rhythmic patterns that wrap the listener in a tapestry of sound. Subtle variations and shifts in the drumming patterns generate a sense of constant transformation as the piece unfolds. The resulting textures create an energy that is both primal and contemporary, leaving the audience enthralled by the sheer complexity and precision of the composition.
Drumming showcases Reich’s exceptional talent and his ability to push the boundaries of musical expression. This landmark composition will inspire the audience and highlights Reich’s innovative approach to music. Drumming explores the transformative power of rhythm and the boundless possibilities of musical exploration.
The SOU Chamber Choir directed by Dr. Jerron Jorgensen will perform their concert titled Breathing Masterworks on Sunday, June 11th at 3:00pm. The concert will feature the music of living composers and the world premiere of composer Bryan Jeffs’ Four Movements for Carl Sagan.
Jeffs’ composition is based on a quote from the 1980’s blockbuster science documentary Cosmos in which American astrophysicist and famed scientist Carl Sagan said, “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch you must first invent the Universe.” The piece divides the quote into four separate movements and explores each clause with a different musical idea. The quote’s meaning is to create something from nothing or something coming from a time before the world existed. “The students are excited to collaborate with their peers in the percussion program on this fun and exciting piece,” said Jorgensen.
“This will be the inaugural performance of a new initiative I founded last fall called CAVMI (Contemporary American Vocal Music Initiative). The goal of CAVMI is to promote and support works by living American composers in the areas of choir and opera. Breathing Masterworks will present 3 multi-movement works by living composers with accompaniment other than piano. The concert will include string quartet, string quintet, and the SOU Percussion Ensemble,” said Jorgensen.
Prior to the choir concert there will be a 30-minute pre-show talk with the composers and Jorgensen.
Special guests include the SOU Percussion Ensemble with Dr. Terry Longshore and Sophie Chin on vibraphone, Dean Kyle and Shannon Jackson on marimba and Jordon Wiersema on bass drum. String ensemble guests include Kathleen Strahm and Abigail Wilensky on violin, Michael Sorensen on viola, Michal Palzewicz on cello and David Miller on string bass will join the choir for two pieces – To the Hands and Five Hebrew Love Songs. Other soloists include Olivia McMains and Alisa Lopez, both SOU vocal students. Chuan Choy a current SOU Music Master’s student will accompany on piano.
Five Hebrew Love Songs by Eric Whitacre is another piece featured in the choir concert. This composition is a collection of songs originally written for one singer and violinist by Whitacre in 1996. The University of Miami commissioned him to arrange it for full chamber choir in 2002 accompanied by a string quintet. Whitacre wrote this wonderful diverse set of texts that were inspired from postcards sendt from Israel by Eric’s girlfriend (now wife) Hila Plittman. The romance can be felt in every measure as these vignettes capture snapshots across the spectrum of love – from young, budding love to a more mature, domestic love.
Doors open a half hour prior to the performances and tickets are available one hour prior to the performances at the OCA Box Office. Tickets are $10 for general seating/ $5 for seniors and are available online at https://sou.universitytickets.com.
Tickets can also be purchased in-person at the OCA Box Office Monday-Friday from Noon-6pm on the Southern Oregon University Campus, one hour prior to the performances, and over the phone by calling 541-552-6348.