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Tuesday, February 19 , 2019, 9:53 pm | Fair 46º


Gerald Carpenter: UCSB Percussion Ensemble Explores ‘Moods and Grooves’

Group will perform at 8 p.m. Thursday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall

UCSB’s stellar Percussion Ensemble, under the inspired direction of Jon Nathan, will play a concert at 8 p.m. Thursday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall.

Composer Christopher Rouse wrote a musical eulogy for the late John Bonham of Led Zeppelin.
Composer Christopher Rouse wrote a musical eulogy for the late John Bonham of Led Zeppelin. (Jeffrey Herman photo)

A highlight of the program, which bears the title “Moods and Grooves,” will be a performance of the dance piece Occupation, with original choreography by Christina McCarthy of the UCSB Department of Theater and Dance to the music of Trio per Uno by Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic.

Also on the bill are Simple Addition (a duet) and Nostalgic Strains (a trio) by Australian-American composer Erik Griswold, the jazzy marimba quartet Sculpture in Wood by Rudiger Passawar and Bonham, Christopher Rouse’s memorial to the late Led Zeppelin drummer, and George Crumb’s An Idyll for the Misbegotten (Images III).

The Crumb piece will feature a performance by guest artists from the UCSB Afro Brazilian Ensemble, directed by Matthew Wright, and Jill Felber-trained flautist Carol Joe, joining a trio of percussionists.

The performing ensemble itself consists of director Nathan; non-music majors Erin Olsen and Isabel-Marie Garcia-Euyoque, percussion majors Ben Donlon and Matthew Richards, composition major Chavadith Tantavirojn, percussion graduate Haig Shirinian, music graduate students Aaron Jones and Anthony Paul Garcia, plus Michael Fang, Daniel Pena and Jonathan Palmquist.

I can’t tell you much about the music you will hear, except that it is bound to be well-performed and entertaining. Since “percussion” includes a wide variety of instruments beyond drums — xylophone, marimba, triangle, piano and so forth — there is even the possibility of lyrical interludes.

McCarthy describes Occupation as “a dance-theater piece that looks at the delicate and sometimes brutal politics of ownership, boundaries and borders. It is a distillation of the struggles that we encounter in our Darwinian urge to survive and thrive, adding the distinctively human elements of manipulation and trickery.”

McCarthy is a lecturer in dance at UCSB. She danced with the Nina Wiener Dance Company in New York, and both danced and served as assistant director for Santa Barbara Dance Theatre for 15 years. She has choreographed for the Ensemble Theatre, the SBCC Theatre Group, the UCSB Department of Theater and Dance, the Santa Barbara Festival Ballet, and for Dos Pueblos and Santa Barbara high schools.

Tickets to the Percussion Ensemble concert are $15 for general admission and $7 for students, and can be purchased at the door.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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