So Percussion: A Gun Show
2015 + 2016 Lab Artists: Sō Percussion
Sō 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.”