So Percussion: A Gun Show

2015 + 2016 Lab Artists: Sō Percussion

So Percussion 2015Sō Percussion is a quartet of Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting, dedicated to the limitless possibilities of creative music-making. Formed at the Yale School of Music in 1999 and based in Brooklyn since 2004, Sō has cultivated a unique repertoire that focuses on contemporary American music – beginning with John Cage and exploring the rich diversity of today's musical culture. They have collaborated closely with many composers including Steve Reich, David Lang, Paul Lansky, Steve Mackey, Fred Frith, Dan Trueman, and Martin Bresnick.

In 2008, VPL produced Music for Trains, a magical evening of original music and film by Sō and Jenise Treuting with performances on the train and in the depots of Brattleboro and Bellows Falls. In 2012, the quartet returned to VPL with guitarist Grey McMurray and director Ain Gordon where they involved three local master artists in the research, development and recording of where (we) live.

In November 2015, VPL brought Sō Percussion back to Vermont for the first of a two-part residency to research and develop A Gun Show, an evening-length work about our relationship to guns. Deeply impacted by the December 2012 shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, Sō began to investigate the history of American gun manufacturing and the impetus for the “right to bear arms.” The hunting and gun culture of rural Vermont provided a rich environment for their research inquiry. Members of Sō went hunting and interviewed local hunters, sportsmen, and law enforcement officers.

In September 2016, members of Sō returned to Vermont with director Ain Gordon and collaborating artist Emily Johnson for a production residency to prepare A Gun Show for national touring and to present two preview performances. Vermont audiences also had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion with the artists on art-making and social practice at the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center during the visual art exhibit “Armed America.”

View So Percussion's 2008 Music for Trains residency and 2012 where (we) live residency.


2012 + 2008 Lab artists

So Percussion – where (we) live


michelle-holzapfelBack in 2008 Vermont Performance Lab partnered with the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Rockingham Arts and Museum Project and the Brattleboro Music Center to support produce a new site-specific work by the group So Percussion in Brattleboro and Bellows Falls, Vermont. The residency took place over the spring and summer 2008 and culminated in two evenings of live performance on the train and in the train depots in Music for Trains on August 8 & 9, 2008. It was a unique partnership that crossed town lines to combine resources, support artists, reach new audiences and serve various communities.

Steve-ProcterVermont Performance Lab is pleased to invite the So guys back to Vermont to support the development of where (we) live in May 2012. The two-week residency will enable the quartet to work in the recording studio of Guilford Sound and to work with collaborators and local artists. So will ask local artists to improvise, dance, make video or whatever else they can think of, both fitting into So's artistsic world and adjusting to fit theirs.  VPL will host three work-in-progress showings that will feature a different local guest artist each night.  Audiences can get a preview of this work that is destined for the Walker Arts Center and the Brooklyn Academy of Music's Next Wave Festival in the fall 2012.  


2012 + 2008 Lab ArtistS

So Percussion

So is: Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, Jason Treuting, and Eric Beach

So Percussion is a percussion ensemble known for their innovative work with new music masters including Steve Reich, David Lang and Evan Ziporyn of Bang on a Can and Fred Frith among others. They perform a unique repertoire that ranges from edgy to ancient.

Called "astonishing and entrancing" by Billboard, "brilliant" by the New York Times, the discovery is perfectly appropriate. So Percussion was created to give fresh voice to what co-founder Jason Treuting calls "funky contemporary music." Following two acclaimed albums of rigorous music by modern master Steve Reich and even-more-modern masters David Lang and Evan Ziporyn, as well as ongoing collaborations with electronic gurus Matmos, the 20-something quartet has discovered a bold new voice: their own.

"If you're sick of the sounds you've got, you go and find more," declares Sliwinski of the group's sonic philosophy. "There's always something to hit or rub or whatever." It is an approach they have taken with them to countless educational programs and has inspired them to commission dozens of composers to write for this most eclectic of instrumental groups. With the list spanning from such notables as David Lang and Paul Lansky to emerging talents Cenk Ergun, Dennis DeSantis and Suzanne Farrin, this unique repertoire has been heard at Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, and The Knitting Factory in New York, the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, the Yerba Buena Center in San Francisco, and Montreal’s Le National, to name a few. In fact, So is one of the only outfits that can play at a major concert hall and with indie's hippest artists within 24 hours.

With an audience comprised of "both kinds of blue hair... elderly matron here, arty punk there" (as the Boston Globe described it), So Percussion makes a rare and wonderful breed of music that both compels instantly and offers vast rewards for engaged listening. Edgy (at least in the sense that little other music sounds like this) and ancient (in that people have been hitting objects for eons), perhaps it doesn’t need to be called anything at all.

Since 2006, VPL has hosted over 80 residencies