Seattle Percussion Collective

Allen Otte, percussion guru and driving force behind pioneering ensembles Blackearth Percussion Group and Percussion Group Cincinnati, once told me he’d assumed he’d spend his career playing in orchestras (his favorite composer: Berlioz), but that he came to a point where he’d learned to play the triangle part in Brahms’ Fourth as perfectly as it could possibly be played. And then what? This drive to explore beyond the classical standard rep’s limited opportunities turns percussionists into any school or city’s most enthusiastic new-music advocates: the Seattle Percussion Collective, for example. In fact, percussionists’ willingness to explore often goes beyond just playing—speaking and moving are frequent requirements in the meta-musical works by composers like Mauricio Kagel (“instrumental theater” was his term) and John Cage, both on tonight’s program. Kagel’s Pas de cinq calls for sounds to be made not only by hitting things, but by walking on them: paper, metal, wood, and bubble wrap. Also on the bill is a piece by Keiko Abe, who’s done for the marimba what Chopin did for the piano, and a premiere for vibraphone and cymbals by Stuart Saunders Smith. GAVIN BORCHERT

Fri., Aug. 14, 8 p.m., 2009

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