Marching to the beat of many different drummers

Posted on Wednesday, September 9, 2015

10974152_1544890832447728_2248701853058489271_oInaugural percussion symposium to convene researchers and professionals working in the ever-changing field of contemporary percussion

The Schulich School of Music of will present the inaugural edition of Transplanted Roots: Percussion Research Symposium between Sept. 17 – 19. The symposium will feature daytime talks, lecture-recitals as well as four concerts.

The Akros Percussion Collective

The Akros Percussion Collective

The opening concert (Thursday, Sept. 17) features Montreal talents as well as the Canadian premiere of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Musik im Bauch performed by the Akros Percussion Collective. Stockhausen’s surreal work, centred around the giant birdman, Miron, is a theatrical tour de force for six percussionists.

Acting as automatons, the three principal players first perform on glockenspiels and crotales and then slowly begin to interact with Miron, whipping him with switches before cutting him open to discover his “music in the belly.” As one of only a handful of American ensembles to program the work — and the only one to perform it with the full two-octaves of chromatic bell plates and original, specially designed music boxes — Akros delivers a performance devoutly faithful to the intentions of the composer.

Aiyun Huang of the McGill Percussion Ensemble

Aiyun Huang of the McGill Percussion Ensemble

The opening concert also features Edgard Varese’s landmark work Ionisation performed by the McGill Percussion Ensemble led by Aiyun Huang, Pierre Bèluse’s arrangement of Claude Vivier’s Pulau Dewata as well as the music of Evelin Ramon featuring Blair Mackay and the music of Nicole Lizée featuring Ben Reimer.

The finale of the Friday night concert features French percussionist, composer and director Roland Auzet’s epic percussion theater piece A Travers Max. Max is a musician, percussionist and clown. Poetry is born out of the strange manipulation that plays on the exchange, magic, illusion,and the relationship between an orchestra and his hands as the strength of despair.

Soloist Vanessa Tomlinson

Soloist Vanessa Tomlinson

Max is a strange and wild trainer of musical objects. He inserts his opinions through human sounds evoking strange mood. The tension arises from the friction between this voluntary body and the resistance of things — facing this “big animal that is an orchestra” as set prejudices of the crowd, and even the crowd itself in the form of opinion. This relationship takes the jousting and choreography, confrontation and dialogue with the orchestra at the scene and other surprises.

The first half of the concert features three soloists including Vanessa Tomlinson from Australia, David Schotzko from Toronto and Fernando Rocha from Brazil.

The Saturday afternoon concert is free, beginning at 2 p.m. The program features four short acts including Spanish percussionist Luis Tabuenca’s Self Portrait, Jordan Curcuruto’s program on Speaking Percussion, Payton MacDonald’s Super Marimba and Eric Derr’s drum set solos teasing and remixing music samplings.

Spanish percussionist Luis Tabuenca

Spanish percussionist Luis Tabuenca

On Saturday evening concert goers will be treated to a mix of new and old works. The opening act is Mauricio Kagel’s Dressur featuring Dressage performing in a circus set built entirely from wood. The musicians mimic the lives of circus animals through chores, humour and musical interactions.

The second half features international soloists of three generations: Garrett Mendelow, Terry Longshore, and Steven Schick. International competition prize winner Mendelow presents American composer Matthew Burtner’s Ecotones. Longshore presents David Bithell’s Penumbra featuring percussion, shadows and electronic sound. Steven Schick will close the concert with an inspirational performance of Lei Liang’s Trans.

During the daytime, highlights include keynotes speeches by Russell Hartenberger (Nexus and University of Toronto) on Friday at 4:30 p.m., and Steven Schick (University of California, San Diego) on Saturday at the same time. Daytime events require registration as conference participants. Evening events are open to the general public. Tickets are $18 for general admission and $12 for students and seniors. The Saturday afternoon concert is free. For more event information, please visit or the Facebook page. Contact Aiyun Huang for more information. 

Box Office

Business hours: Mon – Fri. from noon to 6 p.m.
One hour before the concert at the concert location.
Phone: 514-398-4547

Thursday, Sept. 17, at 7:30 p.m., Pollack Hall

McGill Percussion Ensemble (Aiyun Huang, conductor), Ben Reimer, Blair Mackay, Akros Percussion Collective
Tickets: $18 regular/ $12 students and seniors
Free for registered symposium participants

Friday, Sept. 18, at 7:30 p.m., Pollack Hall

Fernando Rocha, David Schotzko, Vanessa Tomlinson, Roland Auzet (Guillaume Bourgogne, conductor)
Tickets: $18 regular/ $12 students and seniors
Free for Registered Symposium Participants

Saturday, Sept. 19, at 2 p.m., Tanna Schulich Hall

Luis Tabuenca, Jordan Curcuruto, Payton MacDonald, Eric Derr
Free admission

Saturday, Sept. 19, 2015 at 7:30 p.m., Pollack Hall

Dressage, Terry Longshore & David Bithell, Garrett Mendelow, Steven Schick
Tickets: $18 regular/ $12 students and seniors
Free for registered symposium participants




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