So is: Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting
For twenty years and counting, So Percussion has redefined chamber music for the 21st century through an “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam” (The New Yorker). They are celebrated by audiences and presenters for a dazzling range of work: for live performances in which “telepathic powers of communication” (The New York Times) bring to life the vibrant percussion repertoire; for an extravagant array of collaborations in classical music, pop, indie rock, contemporary dance, and theater; and for their work in education and community, creating opportunities and platforms for music and artists that explore the immense possibility of art in our time.
So Percussion is in its eighth year as Edward T. Cone performers-in-residence at Princeton University. In addition to teaching chamber music, presenting concerts for the Princeton community, and collaborating with composers on new works, this year the members of So are working with Director of African Music Ensemble Olivier Tarpaga to design and teach a new course on rhythm. This course is offered as part of the undergraduate curriculum, exposing students to rhythmic practices from West African, Caribbean, European, South American, and North American traditions.
Since its first performance as a student ensemble in 1999, So Percussion has appeared at many of the most prestigious concert halls and festivals around the world, including Carnegie Hall, the Paris Philharmonie, the Barbican Centre, BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music), Walt Disney Hall with the Los Angeles Philharmonic and Gustavo Dudamel, the Lincoln Center Festival, at the international TED conference, and throughout Europe, Australia, and South America. In 2020, So conducted an Amid the Noise residency at the University of Trinidad and Tobago, and performed in the finals of Panorama with the Caribbean Airlines Skiffle Steel Orchestra. So has been featured on WNYC’s Radiolab with Jad Abumrad, NPR’s Weekend Edition, NPR Music’s Tiny Desk Concert, New Sounds with John Schaefer, and elsewhere.
Rooted in the belief that music is an elemental form of human communication, and galvanized by forces for social change in recent years, So Percussion enthusiastically pursues a growing range of social and community outreach through their nonprofit organization. Their Brooklyn Bound concert series, now in its seventh year, provides a platform for a growing community of artists. The So Percussion Summer Institute, which just completed its thirteenth year, is an intensive two-week chamber music seminar for percussionists and composers. SoSI features community performances, new work development, guest artist workshops, and an annual food-packing drive, yielding 25,000 meals per year for the Crisis Center of Mercer County through the organization End Hunger NE. So Percussion has also devoted itself to a range of programs that advance goals and projects in Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility. These efforts include a studio residency program in Brooklyn, partnerships with other local music organizations – such as Pan in Motion – the donation of proceeds from album sales to Black-led organizations – including Castle of Our Skins – fiscal sponsorship, and inclusive programming.
This ensemble has set the New York standard for percussion innovation.
— The New Yorker
Mission So Percussion
So Percussion is a percussion-based music organization that creates and presents new collaborative works to adventurous and curious audiences and educational initiatives to engaged students, while providing meaningful service to its communities, in order to exemplify the power of music to unite people and forge deep social bonds.
To create a new model of egalitarian artistic collaboration that respects history, champions innovation and curiosity, and creates an essential social bond through service to our audiences and our communities.
DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION AND ACCESSIBILITY
So Percussion, Inc. is examining how our organization can further our work within Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA), and advance antiracist efforts. We are programming a diverse range of voices, commissioning flexible new works, and re-imagining educational programs. We are also convening and participating in advisory groups to learn more about how we can have a positive impact on our community, industry, and art form.
Check out So Percussion's website for more information about the initiatives the organization is currently pursuing.