Julia Wolfe

Forbidden Love

(co-commissioned by the LA Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall)

Jason Treuting

Amid the Noise

with guest artist Princeton University students

Event Info

Sō Percussion, Princeton University’s Edward T. Cone Artists-in-Residence, perform a FREE concert that features works by Pulitzer prize-winning composer Julia Wolfe and the ensemble's own Jason Treuting. Wolfe’s Forbidden Love, co-commissioned by the LA Philharmonic and Carnegie Hall, is written for the instruments of a string quartet to be performed percussively. Treuting’s Amid the Noise is a communal music-making project that will be presented alongside guest Princeton University student artists. Both works highlight the range of percussion instruments, and the genre-defying trajectory of music written for these instruments.

*Tickets (FREE) will be available one week prior to the concert (9/6/19) at 10AM and in person during box office hours at the Frist Campus Center and Lewis Arts complex box offices. Remaining tickets will be available one hour before the concert at the venue.*

About Julia Wolfe's Forbidden Love:

Every idea in classical music was once new. The string quartet, with its dazzling exchanges among the four parts, grew out of roots in the Baroque era to become an engine of experimentation in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. In the 20th and 21st, the percussion quartet harnessed these energies, providing composers with a new range of options and sonic possibilities. Now Julia Wolfe and Sō Percussion blend the two worlds together with her new String Quartet, written for percussion quartet. As Wolfe describes it: "this is the piece where I do everything that real string players won't let me do." The four members of Sō have long been adept at teasing new sounds out of objects from cacti to the inside of a piano, to simple planks of wood. With this new piece they approach the string instruments with fresh eyes and ears: what new sounds and textures might still be locked within these ancient instruments? Can players with no traditional skill playing string instruments find new musical purposes for them? By amplifying the traditional four instruments (two violins, viola, and cello)  with contact mics, Sō and Julia give the String Quartet a respectful but unorthodox treatment. Using implements such as chopsticks, coins, and pencils, and finding all kinds of unusual ways to hold them while tapping, bowing, plucking, and striking, the exciting universe of rhythm and texture inhabited by the percussion quartet finds its voice in the most iconic of classical ensembles. 

About Jason Treuting's Amid the Noise: 

Jason Treuting’s Amid the Noise began as a soundtrack, which morphed into an album and then into a flexible set of live music. Now it is a communal music-making project that can occur with a flexible number of musicians in almost any combination. Its musical ideas are abstract: drones, melodies, rhythms, textures, patterns. Like Terry Riley’s In C, this work maintains its identity and integrity even through wildly different realizations which allows the work to incorporate instruments beyond percussion. 

About the Artist:

With innovative multi-genre original productions, sensational interpretations of modern works, more than 20 albums, and an “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam,” (The New Yorker), Sō Percussion has redefined the scope and role of the modern percussion ensemble.

Their repertoire ranges from “classics” of the 20th century, by John Cage, Steve Reich, and Iannis Xenakis, et al, to commissioning and advocating works by contemporary composers such as David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Steve Mackey, and Caroline Shaw, to distinctively modern collaborations with artists who work outside the classical concert hall, including Shara Nova, the electronic duo Matmos, the choreographer Susan Marshall, Wilco’s Glenn Kotche, Bryce Dessner, and many others.

Sō Percussion also composes and performs their own works, ranging from standard concert pieces to immersive multi-genre programs – including From Out A Darker Sea, Imaginary City, Where (we) Live, and A Gun Show, which was presented in a multi-performance presentation as part of BAM’s 2016 Next Wave Festival. In these concert-length programs, Sō Percussion employs a distinctively 21st century synthesis of original music, artistic collaboration, theatrical production values and visual art, into a powerful exploration of their own unique and personal creative experiences.

In 18/19, Sō Percussion collaborates with a range of incredible artists, working to bring original work to audiences around the world. Sō tours a brand-new percussion quartet by the phenomenally talented composer/pianist Vijay Iyer; performs Caroline Shaw’s Narrow Sea with Dawn Upshaw and Gil Kalish at Ravinia; and returns to David Lang’s man made at the Chautauqua Festival. Looking forward, Sō premieres new percussion quartets by Angélica Negrón, Suzanne Farrin, and by Julia Wolfe (co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the LA Phil), performs at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC; at UC-Berkeley, Stanford Live, plays Steve Reich’s complete Drumming for the Celebrity Series of Boston – and much more.

Recent highlights include the New York premiere of David Lang’s man made with Louis Langrée and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra; performances of an acclaimed Trilogy portrait at the Lincoln Center Festival; Narrow Sea, a new work by Caroline Shaw with Dawn Upshaw and Gil Kalish, at the Kennedy Center, San Francisco Performances, UCLA, Penn State, Ravinia, and elsewhere; returns to Carnegie Hall with the JACK Quartet in a program of new works by Donnacha Dennehy and Dan Trueman; appearances at Bonnaroo, the Eaux Claires Festival, MassMoCA, and TED 2016; international tours to Poland and Ireland; man made with Gustavo Dudamel and the LA Phil; Bryce Dessner’s Music for Wood and Strings at the Barbican in London; and an original score for a live performance and broadcast of WNYC’s Radiolab with Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich at BAM.

Rooted in the belief that music is an essential facet of human life, a social bond, and an effective tool in creating agency and citizenship, Sō Percussion enthusiastically pursues a growing range of social and community outreach.  Examples include their Brooklyn Bound presentations of younger composers; commitments to purchasing offsets to compensate for carbon-heavy activities such as touring travel; and leading their SōSI students in an annual food-packing drive, yielding up to 35,000 meals, for the Crisis Center of Mercer County through the organization EndHungerNE.

This season, Sō Percussion celebrates its fifth year as the Edward T. Cone Ensemble-in-Residence at Princeton University. Through this residency, Sō presents an annual series of concerts, collaborates closely with University faculty and students, and offer performances throughout the community. They also run the annual Sō Percussion Summer Institute (SōSI, which marked its tenth anniversary in 2018), providing college-age composers and percussionists an immersive exposure to collaboration and project development.


Julia Wolfe - "Forbidden Love" for Sō Percussion

Jason Treuting's "Amid the Noise"