Inventive Percussion Without a Drum in Sight

"Sō Percussion, a Brooklyn-based quartet founded in 2001, has become one of the most virtuosic and imaginatively theatrical of these groups. It is also an ensemble that enjoys confounding expectations, as it did on Saturday evening, when it presented 'The Quartet Reimagined' at Chapin Hall, the ornate auditorium of Williams College’s music school."

Allan Kozinn, Wall Street Journal
Drums Along 7th Avenue: Wolfe premiere highlights Sō Percussion’s century survey

Held in Zankel Hall, this terrific evening was not only a demonstration of some of the pinnacles of percussion music, but also a model of how to program a concert. Beginning with Ionisation, from the early 1930s, Sō played music as recent as this year, and divided up eras and styles into meaty slabs.... This was a stunning experience, and one felt that in an already marvelous career, with Forbidden Love Julia Wolfe has given us one of her most extraordinary works."

George Grella, New York Classical Review
LA Phil's Noon to Midnight Was a Marathon Treasure Hunt

"The musicians huddled over the instruments like doctors, pulling and stitching the moaning strings in unison to enact the moody grandeur of Julia Wolfe's Forbidden Love."

LA Weekly
The Most Elaborate “Noon to Midnight” Yet at Disney Hall

"From New York City, Sō Percussion unveiled Julia Wolfe’s new Forbidden Love in which the four instruments in a string quartet are subjected to battering and stroking actions that ultimately result in a jangling, satisfying industrial groove."

Richard S. Ginell, San Francisco Classical Voice
So Percussion mixes music with visuals during vibrant Berkeley visit

"This is a group that clearly inspires composers to push the limits of what’s possible, and the four performers — Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski and Jason Treuting — just as obviously relish challenges both rhythmic and theatrical.... What So Percussion has, at least to some extent, is a house style, one built on roiling, atmospheric textures punctuated at times with offbeat interjections."

Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
Sō Percussion brings out the ritual and reverence of Reich’s “Drumming”

"Sō Percussion has enjoyed a long association with the work, having recorded it in 2005 on the Cantaloupe label. Their feeling for its spellbinding style and linear structure has only grown deeper since then. Thursday’s performance was epic at nearly 80 minutes, the percussionists hammering out Reich’s ever-changing rhythmic shapes with conviction and a clear sense of the musical form."

Aaron Keebaugh, Boston Classical Review
Sō Percussion Phases Reich

"With exhilarating precision, the Brooklyn-based group gives sensational interpretations of modern classics.... It was refreshing to hear musicians who are not only capable of meeting the technical demand required of the music but also being able to do so with a deep understanding and gusto."

Jonas Kublickas, Boston Musical Intelligencer
Folk songs, refracted: Soprano and percussion revisit Americana

"In my many years of reviewing music, I had somehow failed to see the potential of the instrumental combination of voice, piano, and percussion quartet until a lovely Terrace Theater recital on Thursday night for the Fortas Chamber Music Concerts demonstrated its merits. The voice was Dawn Upshaw’s, the pianist was Gil Kalish, and the quartet was the redoubtable So Percussion, which certainly helped to sell a program of ear-friendly new work."

Anne Midgette, Washington Post
Elegiac tribute to Britain's coal miners

"... a haunting and often deeply moving requiem for an industry and its people....

"... the collage of powerful dialogue and often bleakly beautiful, mesmeric music emphasises the sense of loss and the sacrifices of those who built the nation. One emerges with a deeper respect for all who spent – and even gave – their lives bringing us the black stuff."

Dave Simpson, Guardian
Dawn Upshaw sings expertly with piano and percussion

"Upshaw’s singing was nimbly tailored to these different worlds, bringing fluidity and grace to Shaw’s music and an explosive vitality to Crumb’s. Kalish and the members of So Percussion — Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski and Jason Treuting — matched her step for step, in performances of expertly shaped commitment."

Joshua Kosman, San Francisco Chronicle
Encouraging Signs of Freshness at the Mostly Mozart Festival

"Then in early August, So Percussion, a quartet of brilliant percussionists, joined the orchestra for the premiere of a new arrangement of David Lang’s “man made,” a percussion concerto.... Afterward, So Percussion reassembled at the Kaplan Penthouse for one of the popular “A Little Night Music” concerts, presenting an engrossing and entertaining program of wildly inventive pieces by John Cage, Caroline Shaw and Viet Cuong."

Anthony Tommasini, New York Times

"The accomplished musicians of So Percussion are exceptionally inventive in using ordinary objects as instruments, as they demonstrated recently in a performance of David Lang’s 'man made,' a vibrant concerto for percussion, with the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra."

Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
Members of So Percussion at Lincoln Center, from left: Adam Sliwinski, Josh Quillen, Eric Cha-Beach and Jason Treuting.
Wine Bottles, Twigs and Trash Cans Join the Mostly Mozart Orchestra

"At the start, the members of So Percussion, who bring vivid theatricality to their performances, sat facing the audience, looking stoic. Then they began, at first in sync, to snap the twigs and drop them on the stage floor, creating gentle, rhythmic ripples. (The sounds were slightly amplified.) In time, the percussionists in the orchestra responded with scattered bursts on various instruments. Finally, the whole orchestra joined in, playing sputtering rhythms, tart harmonies and thematic fragments that coalesced into melodic lines."

Anthony Tommasini, New York Times
From Out A Darker Sea

"The premiere at the Victorian church of St Johns was a sell-out, attended by civic dignitaries.... The unfamiliarity made the effect on the audience all the more moving – they were clearly gripped."

Andy Hamilton, Wire (UK)
With Flower Pots and Toys, an Ensemble’s Fresh Take on Percussion

"It was one of several works commissioned by So that showed how eagerly composers have responded to the challenge of writing for such an adventurous and versatile group."

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times
A Vivacious Celebration of Steve Reich, a Maverick Turned Music Hero

"By now, this quartet’s virtuosity is a given, even when joined by five more percussionists, two sopranos and a piccolo player. Accuracy and flair combined to kindle the pure, uncluttered pleasure of a simple register change or a shift in instrumentation."


David Allen, New York Times
So Percussion, More Than Enough Bang for the Buck

"Beyond virtuosic, So Percussion really has no need to prove its technical bona fides."

Zachary Woolfe, New York Times
Glenn Kotche & So- Percussion:Drumkit Quartets

"Sometimes, percussion is all you need."

Jesse Jarnow, Relix
Drumkit Quartets by Glenn Kotche featuring So Percussion

"But whether performing dry and precise percussive melodies or richly textured marimba motives, throughout the album Sō Percussion doesn’t miss a beat. The group brings power, precision, personality, and innovation to whatever they set their drumsticks to.

"The album is over too soon, but hopefully this won’t be the last collaboration between Kotche and Sō Percussion—because these five guys are on a roll."

Maggie Molloy, Second Inversion
So Percussion, Glenn Kotche and Shara Worden Join in Making a Joyful Noise

"It’s a good thing the sirens that wailed through Zankel Hall on Friday didn’t signal an emergency: The auditorium was so densely packed at the start of So Percussion’s late-evening concert that it would have taken a while to evacuate. But there was no danger mistaking these piercing sounds, produced on hand-cranked sirens by the ensemble’s members, Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski and Jason Treuting, for anything other than the opening fanfare of a performance that would prove entertaining, virtuosic, occasionally lyrical, but most often joyfully loud."

Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim, New York Times
“Music for Wood and Strings” by Bryce Dessner + So Percussion

"The work is charming and sincere, employing the perfect balance of silence and sound to create a fully captivating sonic meditation. Dessner’s colorful musical palette features hocketed rhythms, mirrored inversions, drones, tremolos, rhythmic repetition, contrapuntal textures, and a primarily tonal musical language, creating a vivid and distinctive sound that pulls the listener in from start to finish.

"Writing the piece for four of the most renowned percussionists in contemporary classical music also doesn’t hurt. Sō Percussion’s perfect blend of rhythmic precision and organic expressivity brings the score to life, immersing the listener in an unforgettable soundscape filled with sweet strings and shimmering rhythms."

Maggie Malloy, Second Inversion
So Percussion makes mayhem with mallets

"The chamber ensemble So Percussion has a straightforward name, but like this quartet itself, it has a way of revealing more than what may be initially apparent."

Aaron Cohen, Chicago Tribune
CSO, MusicNOW make cutting-edge music together

"So Percussion, rock stars of the percussion world, often use 'found objects' in their performances. For this, the objects were twigs, which they picked up, snapped and dropped, in a stylized, seated performance. After the twigs, the work unfolded theatrically through other sound events. The soloists – Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski and Jason Treuting – picked up mallets and performed a mesmerizing choreography on marimba, xylophone, steel drums and even steel garbage cans. Their sound world was inventive, subtle and precisely played."

Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer
So Percussion Is So Entertaining At SFJAZZ

"From a performance standpoint, So Percussion was simply flawless. There were no hiccups, no hesitations, no errant moments to disturb the complex (and often fragile) sonic architectures they erected. Yet their greatest accomplishment might be the least apparent one: They are perfectly transparent performers, relinquishing histrionics, mannerisms, and flamboyancy in total service to the music."

Giacomo Fiore, San Francisco Classical Voice
David Lang, Michael Gordon and So Percussion toy with minds

"Leaving Disney, I felt unsteady, as evidently did others, some of whom ignored traffic signals and stepped incautiously in front of cars on Grand Avenue.

"'Timber' is music as a powerful drug. So Percussion and its L.A. Phil friends administered it astonishingly."

Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times
Dudamel, L.A. Phil give epic Mahler

"The So Percussion players – Eric Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, Jason Treuting – were snazzy and precise no matter what the instrument."

Timothy Mangan, Orange County Register
Bryce Dessner, So Percussion and Matmos, Live at Carnegie Hall
"Pounding, pulsating beats cascaded through the hall, deep primal bass drums punctuating the rapping of wood blocks, making a rousing end to a night of precipitous clashings, where classical orchestral music and avant-garde electronics met and, unlikely as it may seem, meshed."
Charlee Redman,
Eli Keszler & So Percussion: Making The Manhattan Bridge Roar And Sing
"By the time that their performance rolled around at 6:30 PM, Keszler and So Percussion created fascinating layers of sound. The shimmering, nearly melodic lines produced by bowing small cymbals called crotales offset sharply articulated snare drums and the grunting roars, squonks and groans of the piano wire installation. It was urbane and thoroughly urban music for a signature city setting."
Anastasia Tsioulcas, Northern Public Radio
So Percussion: Dan Trueman's neither Anvil nor Pulley on Can
"Created in collaboration with Brooklyn-based quartet So Percussion, nAnP provides a compelling vision of 21st century music-making, where boundaries between digital and acoustic universes dissolve and beguiling new soundscapes arise from the musical melting pot."
Dana Wen, I Care If You Listen
"So Percussion also performed Reich’s later 'Mallet Quartet' (featuring inventive harmonic movement and color, with a section in slow motion), 'Nagoya Marimbas' (a pentatonic fantasy for dueling marimbas) and 'Drumming Part 1' — just a 20-minute segment of Reich’s epic Drumming. It was all performed with breathtaking technical precision and flair, as well as endurance." Read More...
Janelle Gelfand, Cincinnati Enquirer
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