Video Performance Feature:

"It Is Time" by Steven Mackey
     Performed by So Percussion


Product Selection for this Piece:

Orchestral Series Keyboard
Medium poly with an added brass weight creates a warm‚ dark sound on bells and xylophone.
Head = 1 1/8" | L = 14 1/4"
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Signature Vibraphone - Terry Gibbs
Hard vibe or marimba. Rattan handles.
L = 15 1/4"
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Robert Van Sice Signature Keyboard
Soft. Produces a broad sound with tremendous projections that is dark‚ but not muffled.
L = 17"
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Robert Van Sice Signature Keyboard
Medium soft. A general mallet that covers the lower four octaves of the marimba.
L = 17"
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American Classic® 5A
Tear drop tip for rich cymbal sounds. Light and fast for jazz orchestral and pit work.
L = 16" | Dia. = .565"
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About the piece:

"It Is Time marshals the virtuosity of the individual members of So Percussion to speed, slow, warp, celebrate and mourn our perceptions of time. Each of the four sections of the piece is a mini-concerto for one of the players. First Eric Beach leads the music in a multi-percussion set up composed of metronome with delay, pump organ, bells, china cymbal on hi-hat stand and a few other assorted toys. Josh Quillen follows on steel drums, Adam Sliwinski on marimba, and Jason Treuting on drumset.

It Is Time was inspired by my young son Jasper (now 30 months old). As an older father (now 664 months old) I felt, for the first time in my life, saddened by the immutability of time and the finite limits to how much of It I will be able to spend with my young family. It Is Time fantasizes that we might have agency with respect to time. An African poet named Isaac Maliya wrote a poem called "Time is Time." The first stanza - "Time sits, Time stands, Time is Time" - suggested a terse melody that became a dominant lyrical element in the piece. It is first unveiled in the Steel Drum movement but shards of it permeate much of the music."

  – Steve Mackey

Read Adam Sliwinski's blog posts about So Percussion's collaboration with Steve Mackey on "It Is Time"!

 PART ONE  |  PART TWO

 

"It Is Time" can be purchased as a physical CD & DVD or by download from www.bangonacan.org:

Purchase your copy now!



About the composer:

Steven Mackey was born in 1956, to American parents stationed in Frankfurt, Germany. He is regarded as one of the leading composers of his generation and has composed for orchestra, chamber ensembles, dance and opera. His first musical passion was playing the electric guitar, in rock bands based in northern California. He blazed a trail in the 1980's and 90's by including the electric guitar and vernacular music influence in his concert music. He regularly performs his own work, including two electric guitar concertos and numerous solo and chamber works. He is also active as an improvising musician and performs with his band Big Farm.

Mackey's orchestral music has been performed by major orchestras around the world, from the Los Angeles Philharmonic, San Francisco and Chicago Symphonies, the BBC Philharmonic, Concertgebouw orchestra, and the Austrian Radio Symphony, to the Sydney Symphony and Tokyo Philharmonic. As a guitarist, Mackey has performed his chamber music with the Kronos Quartet, Arditti Quartet, London Sinfonietta, Nexttime Ensemble (Parma), Psappha (Manchester), and Joey Baron.

Stumble to Grace, his piano concerto for Orli Shaham, co-commissioned by the LA Philharmonic, the St. Louis and New Jersey Symphonies and TONIC, an orchestral work for the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia have recently premiered.

He is currently working on piece for the Brentano String Quartet jointly commissioned by Carnegie Hall and the Nasher Museum in Dallas to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy and a commission from the Aquarium Of The Pacific to celebrate the "Urban Ocean." Upcoming projects include a large multi-movement symphonic work for the Los Angeles Philharmonic and a trumpet concerto for virtuoso Hakan Hardenberger commissioned by the Swedish Chamber Orchestra.

Mackey has been honored by numerous awards including a Grammy, several awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Guggenheim fellowship, Stoeger Prize from the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center Friedheim award and many others. He has been the composer-in-residence at major music festivals, including Tanglewood, Aspen and the Holland Festival.

His monodrama, Ravenshead, for tenor/actor (Rinde Eckert) and electro-acoustic band/ensemble (the Paul Dresher Ensemble), has been performed nearly 100 times and is available on a MINMAX CD. In a year-end review of cultural events, USA Today crowned the work the “Best New Opera of 1998.”

There are a dozen CD's of Mackey's music and many other CD's that contain individual works. Dreamhouse (2010) and Lonely Motel: Music From Slide (2011) were each nominated for 4 Grammy awards. Mackey won a Grammy for Best Small Ensemble Performance for Lonely Motel.

Mackey is currently Professor of Music and chair of the Department of Music at Princeton University, where he has been a member of the faculty since 1985. Helping to shape the next generation of composers and musicians, he teaches composition, theory, twentieth century music, improvisation, and a variety of special topics. He regularly coaches and conducts new work by student composers, as well as 20th-century classics. He was the recipient of Princeton University’s first Distinguished Teaching Award in 1991.

Mackey’s web site is www.stevenmackey.com. His music is published by Boosey & Hawkes. He lives in Princeton New Jersey with his wife, composer Sarah Kirkland Snider, and their son Jasper and daughter Dylan.

Keep up with Steve's latest at: http://stevenmackey.com

 

About the performers:

So Percussion

So is: Eric Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting

For over a decade, So Percussion has redefined the modern percussion ensemble as a flexible, omnivorous entity, pushing its voice to the forefront of American musical culture. Praised by the New Yorker for their “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam,” So’s adventurous spirit is written into the DNA passed down from composers like John Cage and Steve Reich, as well as from pioneering ensembles like the Kronos Quartet and Nexus Percussion. So Percussion’s career now encompasses 13 albums, touring throughout the USA and around the world, a dizzying array of collaborative projects, several ambitious educational programs, and a steady output of their own music.

When the founding members of So Percussion convened as graduate students at the Yale School of Music, their initial goal was to present an exciting repertoire of pieces by 20th century luminaries such as Cage, Reich, and Iannis Xenakis. An encounter with David Lang, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and co-founder of New York’s Bang on a Can organization, yielded their first commissioned piece: the 36 minute, three movement the so-called laws of nature. Since that first major new work, So has commissioned some of the greatest American composers of our time to build a new repertoire, including Steve Reich, Steve Mackey, Paul Lansky, Martin Bresnick, and many others.

Over time, an appetite for boundless creativity lead the group to branch out beyond the composer/interpreter paradigm. Since 2006 with group member Jason Treuting’s amid the noise, the members of So Percussion have been composing in their own right within the group and for others. In 2012 their third evening-length work Where (we) Live premieres at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, travelling to the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s 30th Next Wave Festival and the Myrna Loy Center in Helena, MT. Where (we) Live follows on the heels of 2009’s Imaginary City, a fully staged sonic meditation on urban soundscapes. In 2011, So was commissioned by Shen Wei Dance Arts to compose Undivided Divided, a 30-minute work conceived for Manhattan’s massive Park Avenue Armory.

So Percussion’s artistic circle extends beyond their contemporary classical roots. They first expanded this boundary with the prolific duo Matmos, whom The New York Times called “ideal collaborators” on their 2010 combined album Treasure State. Further projects and appearances with Wham City shaman Dan Deacon, legendary drummer Bobby Previte, jam band kings Medeski, Martin, and Wood, and Wilco’s Glenn Kotche drew the circle even wider. In 2011, the rock band The National invited So to open one of their sold-out shows at New York’s Beacon Theater.

So’s recording of the so-called laws of nature became the cornerstone of their self-titled debut album on Cantaloupe Music (the record label from the founders of Bang on a Can) in 2004. In subsequent years, this relationship blossomed into a growing catalogue of exciting records. In 2011, So released six new albums, ranging from their definitive recording of Steve Reich’s Mallet Quartet – composed for them in 2009 - on Nonesuch Records, to Steve Mackey’s epic quartet It Is Time on Cantaloupe, to their collaborative album Bad Mango with jazz trumpeter Dave Douglas on Greenleaf Music. The BBC raved of So’s performance of Mallet Quartet that they “have it nailed, finding both the inner glow and the outer edge, and never letting the tapestry lapse into the flat or routine.”

So Percussion is heavily involved in mentoring young musicians. Its members are Co-Directors of a new percussion department at the Bard College-Conservatory of Music. This top-flight undergraduate program enrolls each student in a double-degree (Bachelor of Music and Bachelor of Arts) course in the Conservatory and Bard College, equipping them with elite conservatory training and a broad liberal arts education. In 2009, they created the annual So Percussion Summer Institute on the campus of Princeton University. The Institute is an intensive two-week chamber music seminar for college-age percussionists featuring the four members of So as faculty in rehearsal, performance, and discussion of contemporary music for students from around the world. During the 2011-2012 academic year, So was an ensemble-in-residence at Princeton University, teaching seminars and collaborating extensively with talented student composers.

So has been featured at many of the major venues in the United States, including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Stanford Lively Arts, Texas Performing Arts, and many others. In addition, a recent residency at London’s Barbican Centre, as well as tours to Western Europe, South America, Russia, and Australia have brought them international acclaim.

So would like to thank Pearl/Adams Instruments, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth drumsticks, Remo drumheads, Black Swamp Accessories, and Estey organs for their sponsorship.

 

Visit So Percussion online: http://www.sopercussion.com

 



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