So Percussion Thinks Outside The Box To Keep The Music Going
The contemporary music ensemble, So Percussion, is used to thinking creatively, but even for them, this COVID-19 world is uncharted territory. How does a performance group keep making music for people? How do they stay involved with their community? How do they carry out their mission statement, which is to unite people and create social bonds through music? How do they stay afloat financially? These are questions that all arts organizations are asking right now.
So Percussion is a Brooklyn-based percussion quartet formed in 1999 that works to create, commission, and perform new works. They have recorded more than twenty albums and have appeared at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Walt Disney Hall, and the Barbican to name just a few. They have collaborated with composers such as Caroline Shaw, Julia Wolfe, David Lang, and Steven Mackey, as well as with Shara Nova, The National, and Bryce Dessner. So Percussion was scheduled to perform three sets at Big Ears Festival 2020, but almost immediately after the festival's cancellation, the organization had begun to think of ways to keep the music going and to continue engaging with the music community at large. They have several projects in place right now:
- Listening Project: So Percussion invites you to share your music! If you have a composition or performance that you'd like to share, send a short description of the project, a link, and any attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of So will listen and say hi!
- Happy Hour!: once a week, So will host virtual Happy Hour discussions centered around a variety of topics. Group size is limited to keep discussions more interactive, so sign-up (on their Facebook page) early!
- "Amid the Noise" or "June" Project: this is your chance to play (virtually) with So Percussion! More information here: https://sopercussion.com/the-june-project
- Instructional videos: several members from So Percussion have posted instructional/technique videos to their Facebook page.
- Additionally, So has hosted a virtual masterclass for NYU and several members have posted some performance videos on Facebook
There are a lot of unknowns right now surrounding live performance. No one really knows when it will be safe to gather in large numbers again and enjoy a concert. In the meantime, artists are presented with the challenge of how to keep creating and engaging with a virtual audience in this alien world. And all of us are challenged by the social isolation that is necessary to keep us safe. But perhaps in the meantime, creative solutions, such as the ones shared here by So Percussion, will help.
More information about So Percussion can be found on their website at https://sopercussion.com/
Or on any of their social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter), or on their Youtube channel!