Spring Concert: Percussion Ensemble and UW Steel Band

Friday, June 4, 2021 - 7:30pm
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  • Percussion
    The UW Percussion Ensemble and UW Steel Band present a virtual concert on Friday, June 4.
The UW Percussion Ensemble (Bonnie Whiting, director) and UW Steel Band (Shannon Dudley, director) present live-streamed and pre-recorded performances in their Spring 2021 virtual concert.

PROGRAM DETAIL
UW Percussion Ensemble and UW Steelband present their annual percussion bash concert, celebrating a year of creativity and resourcefulness during a time of social distance. Percussion Ensemble presents both pre-recorded and truly livestreamed music, featuring works by Shruti Rajasekar, Gabriela Lena Frank, Qu Xiao-Song and Joe Moore III, interspersed with movements from Mauricio Kagel's classic work of Percussion Theatre Rrrrrr.

Performing as a socially distanced quintet this year, the UW Steelband highlights the sounds of the steelband’s individual instruments—bass, triple cellos, double seconds and tenor—performing arrangements of Caribbean songs that leave plenty of space for improvisation, and offering a bigger sound in its pre-recorded and overdubbed performance of “Yesterday.”

Director Bios

Bonnie Whiting

Bonnie Whiting performs, commissions, and composes new experimental music for percussion. She seeks out projects involving non-traditional notation, interdisciplinary performance, improvisation, and the speaking percussionist. She lives and works in Seattle, WA, where she is Chair of Percussion Studies and an Assistant Professor at the University of Washington School of Music.

Her debut solo album, featuring an original solo-simultaneous realization of John Cage’s 45’ for a speaker and 27’10.554” for a percussionist, was released by Mode Records in April of 2017. Her sophomore album Perishable Structures, launched by New Focus Recordings in August of 2020, places the speaking percussionist in the context of storytelling and features her own music as well as works by Vinko Globokar, Frederic Rzewski, Richard Logan-Greene, and Susan Parenti.

Recent work includes performances as a percussionist and vocalist with the Harry Partch Ensemble on the composer’s original instrumentarium, and a commission from the Indiana State Museum’s Sonic Expeditions series for her piece Control/Resist (2017): a site-specific work for percussion, field recordings, and electronics. Whiting has an ongoing relationship as a soloist with the National Orchestra of Turkmenistan via the U.S. Embassy Cultural Affairs Office, playing concerti in Ashgabat in 2017 and 2018. She collaborates frequently with percussionist Jennifer Torrence, giving concerts of new experimental work for speaking percussionists throughout Norway and the US. Her collaboration with multimedia artist Afroditi Psarra generated the album < null_abc >, released on the Zero Moon label in 2018. Their current project with designer Audrey Desjardins on transcoding data from IoT devices as performance received a 2019/20 Mellon Creative Fellowship. This project was explored in a workshop at the 2020 Transmediale Festival in Berlin, and currently lives as an interactive net art installation. 2021 brings the premiere of Through the Eyes(s): an extractable cycle of nine pieces for speaking/singing percussionist collaboratively developed with composer Eliza Brown and ten incarcerated women, and the world premiere of a new percussion concerto by Huck Hodge with the Seattle Modern Orchestra.

Whiting has presented solo and small ensemble shows at The Stone in New York, the Brackish Series in Brooklyn, The Lilypad in Boston, The New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival, at Hallwalls in Buffalo, the Tiny Park Gallery in Austin, The Wulf in LA, the Carl Solway Gallery in Cincinnati, The Grove Haus in Indianapolis, on the Wayward Music Series in Seattle, on tour throughout New Zealand, and at colleges and universities around the country. Whiting has collaborated with many of today's leading new music groups, including red fish blue fish percussion group, (George Crumb’s Winds of Destiny directed by Peter Sellars and featuring soprano Dawn Upshaw for the Ojai Festival), eighth blackbird (the “Tune-in” festival at the Park Avenue Armory), the International Contemporary Ensemble (on-stage featured percussionist/mover in Andriessen’s epic Die Materie at the Park Avenue Armory, and the American premiere of James Dillon’s Nine Rivers at Miller Theatre), Bang on a Can (Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians for the LA Philharmonic’s Green Umbrella Series) and Ensemble Dal Niente (the Fromm Concerts at Harvard.)

Ethnomusicology professor Shannon Dudley (Photo: Steve Korn).

Shannon Dudley, professor of Ethnomusicology, holds a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley. He teaches courses that include music of Latin America and the Caribbean, American popular music, Music and Community, Comparative Musicianship and Analysis, and graduate seminars in Ethnomusicology.  He also directs the UW steeelband.

Dudley has conducted research in Trinidad and Tobago, focusing on the history and music of steelbands. More recent research interests include the musical geography of Santurce, Puerto Rico, as well as Latino contributions to American popular music. His theoretical interests include nationalism, transculturation, and participatory music practices.

His publications include Carnival Music in Trinidad (Oxford University Press, 2004), as well as Music From Behind the Bridge (Oxford University Press, 2008), a history of Trinidad steelband music, and numerous other articles on Caribbean music, including and "Judging by the Beat:  Calypso vs. Soca," Ethnomusicology (1996), and “El Gran Combo, Cortijo, and the Musical Geography of Cangrejos/Santurce, Puerto Rico,” Journal of Caribbean Studies (2008). 

Dudley is one of the curators (along with Marisol Berríos-Miranda, and Michelle Habell-Pallan) for American Sabor: Latinos in U.S. Popular Music, a bilingual museum exhibit that opened at the Experience Music Project in Seattle in 2008.  Between 2008 and 2015 American Sabor was exhibited in 18 cities in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, first in its original version and later in a smaller version prepared in collaboration with the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibit Service. Published as a book with University of Washington Press in 2018 (americansabor.music.washington.edu), American Sabor won the ARSC's 2019 prize for Best Historical Research in Recorded Rock and Popular Music.

In Seattle Dudley performs on steel pan with several local bands, and participates in the Seattle Fandango Project (SFP), a community music group that practices son jarocho. He helps to run the Ethnomusicology division's Visiting Artist program, which includes Community Artists in Residence from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and elsewhere who participate in collaborations between local arts organizations and university programs.