So Percussion: Music for Trains
2008 Lab Artists: So Percussion
So Percussion is: Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, Jason Treuting, and Eric Beach. So 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.
In the spring and summer of 2008, Vermont Performance Lab partnered with the Brattleboro Museum & Art Center, Rockingham Arts and Museum Project and the Brattleboro Music Center to support and produce a new site-specific work by So Percussion in Brattleboro and Bellows Falls, Vermont. The residency culminated in two evenings of live performance on the train and in the train depots in Music for Trains. It was a unique partnership that crossed town lines to combine resources, support artists, reach new audiences and serve various communities.