December 10th, 2010 | Uncategorized

Percussion Group uses more than drums

To members of the Yale Percussion Group, playing cards, confetti and coconuts are more than just the indigents for an excellent theme party—they’re musical instruments.

The groups will use all these items along with other unorthodox instruments when they perform in Zankel Hall at New York City’s renowned Carnegie Hall on Sunday. The four pieces the group will perform represent a wide range of challenging percussion music.

In an article by online magazine Capital New York, John Corkill MUS ‘11 described the challenges of performing Mauricio Kagel’s “Dressur” — the piece which incorporates the playing cards, confetti and coconuts (played on one performer’s bare chest). He said that not only do the three performers have to practice the parts for and, in some cases construct, a total of 45 different instruments, but the complex staging of the piece forces them to perform it entirely memorized.

Despite the challenge, Corkill stressed how much he enjoys performing the piece.

“With all these demands the laughter, excitement, and engagement I feel from the audience during every performance makes Dressur one of the most rewarding musical experiences in my life so far,” Corkill said in the article.

Also in the article, Ian Rosenbaum MUS ‘11 expressed a similar sentiment about playing the piano/synthesizer part for Steve Reich’s Sextet, a 26 minute piece during which Rosenbaum said he never gets more than a 10-15 second break.

“When I’m playing it, and when it’s going well, my body can’t help but dance along,” Rosenbaum said.

Before heading to New York, The Yale Percussion Group will perform a free preview concert Friday night at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall. Friday’s concert will also be streamed live on the School of Music’s website.