Terry Longshore - Photo courtesy of SOU

Double score

The score to a piece of modern percussion music can look like almost anything, according to Terry Longshore, director of percussion studies at Southern Oregon University.

Traditional music notation and symbols that represent instrumental techniques make music look as one would expect, but notations for nontraditional instruments can look like abstract, modern art.

Longshore and the SOU Percussion Ensemble will present "Strings Attached," a concert of contemporary works for traditional and nontraditional instruments, at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 1, in the Music Recital Hall on the SOU campus, 1250 Siskiyou Blvd., Ashland.

The centerpiece of the concert is a composition of the same title by composer Erik Griswold. "Strings Attached" is a piece for six snare drummers whose sticks are attached to each others' or to a pole set into the middle of the stage.

"The kinetic energy of the strings is a visual representative of what the audience hears in the piece," says Longshore. "They'll see what they hear."

As a precursor to the show, Longshore will present a free lecture titled "Seeing is Hearing: Degrees of Interpretation in Rendering Modern Percussion Works" at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 28, in the Music Recital Hall. The lecture will focus on scoring works for nontraditional instruments, thus creating musical interpretations not easily recognized.

For the March 1 concert, the Percussion Ensemble will be joined by percussion quartet Compás. Compás will perform works for marimba, such as "Amaxoxo/Rain Forest," by Alport Mhlanga and Michael and Osha Breez; "Three Marimbas," a piece by Luis Rivera inspired by the techniques of minimalists Philip Glass and Steve Reich; and "Departures," a jazz-inspired piece by French composer Emmanuel Séjourné.

The quartet and members of the ensemble will present "Double Music," composed by John Cage and Lou Harrison. Cage and Harrison composed pieces independently, then put them together to form the work. The featured instruments for "Double Music" include brake drums, cowbells, gongs and thunder sheet, among others.

The concert will close with "48 Objects," a dada-inspired piece by Standford University composer Mark Applebaum, performed by 16 members of the ensemble. Each performer will choose three, nonpitched instruments, such as drums, cymbals or gongs, and play a number of segments in five-second intervals.

"It's an improvisational performance based on specific instructions," says Longshore.

Tickets cost $5 and are available at the Music Hall box office or by calling 541-552-6101. Students will be admitted free.

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