The “Alternative” Recital

April 22, 2010 5:52 pm in Concert by Thad Anderson

Lately, I have found myself interested in exploring unconventional ways of presenting a standard solo percussion recital.  Having performed countless student-based recitals using traditional formatting (entrance, applause, performance, applause, exit…repeat, repeat, repeat), I sought to introduce new ways of interacting with my audience through “alternative” programming, venues, and presentation format.  My first venture into this terratory is my recent recital series, Vignette No. 1 for solo percussion.

Vignette No. 1 is a unique “collage” percussion recital which features newly commissioned works for keyboard percussion instruments by Jonathan Kolm, Travis Jeffords, and Halim El-Dabh as well as some adaptations of music by J.S. Bach and John Cage and standards by Gordon Stout and Thom Hasenpflug.  The recital also highlighted some recent video and percussion collaborations that I have been involved in with Diana Reichenbach, Christopher Brannan, David Randag, and Ruwan Perera.

UCF-TV is a local public broadcasting station here in Central Florida and produced footage of this recital.  They also uploaded the program to YouTube and you can view it here:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqUH2Ami57c

This particular performance took place at the University of Central Florida Art Gallery, an alternative venue to a typical performance hall.  It created a more informal atmosphere as there was no “stage” that separated myself from the audience.  As you can see in the image of the program found above, the recital program consisted of unusual program formatting.  There are four sections: an introduction, part 1, part 2, and part 3.  Each of the three primary “parts” consisted of three works that were collaged or segued together using the video collaborations.  Instead of applause between every piece, it was saved for the end of each larger part.  Take a look at the video footage and you’ll get a better idea of these concepts (I also give verbal explanation after the introductory work).

If you ever have the opportunity, I would strongly encourage this type of experimentation when putting together a recital.  This experience offered me important insight into connecting with an audience and bypassing the often rigid traditions of the concert hall.  Feel free to share any similar experiences or ideas that you may have along the lines of putting together an “alternative” recital.