Xavier University Percussion Ensemble presents program of music, dance, video and performance art

The avant-garde program includes real-time computer animation | April 28, 2011

Xavier’s Percussion Ensemble is joining guest artists Brad Meyer and members of MamLuft&Co. Dance to perform a wide array of percussion pieces of the 20th and 21st centuries with special emphasis on other artistic disciplines.

The concert is being performed at the Gallagher Theater on campus on Saturday, April 30, at 8:30 p.m. The concert is free and open to the public.

The 15-member group, led by artistic director Brady Harrison, will perform using more than 150 instruments on stage, ranging from flower pots, a typewriter and aluminum cans to a grand piano, multiple drum sets and a five-octave marimba.

Computerized music will be followed by three percussion ensemble milestones. “In Praise of Johnny Appleseed” features a small battery of instruments specifically constructed for the piece, such as tuned metal pipes, large resonant boxes and mounted clock coil springs. Joining the group will be dancers from the Cincinnati-based MamLuft&Co. Dance with choreographer Susan Honer.

The most daring piece is “Straitjacket” by Mark Applebaum. This new work for percussion quartet and soloist features Brad Meyer, a Lexington percussionist. In one movement, the soloist supplies only a series of silent physical gestures, for which the quartet provides the sonic backdrop with an arsenal of sounds. In the final movement, all members draw on large pads of paper in rhythm, with the sound amplified through the use of contact microphones.

Ending the evening is a performance of Stacey Bowers’ “Pattern Study No. 2,” accompanied by a live digital visualizer projection that reacts in real time to the sounds that each performer produces.

The Xavier University Percussion Ensemble is a student group dedicated to performing works of diverse styles and composers.