Through its sensational interpretations of modern classics, innovative multi-genre original productions, and “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam,” (The New Yorker), Sō Percussion has redefined the scope and role of the modern percussion ensemble, placing it at the leading edge of 21st-century music.
Sō’s repertoire ranges from 20th century works by John Cage, Steve Reich, and Iannis Xenakis, et al, to commissioning and advocating works by contemporary composers such as David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Steven Mackey, and Caroline Shaw, to distinctively modern collaborations with artists who work outside the classical concert hall, including Shara Nova, choreographer Susan Marshall, The National, Bryce Dessner, and many others.
Sō Percussion’s original productions – including From Out A Darker Sea, Where (we) Live, and Jason Treuting’s Amid the Noise – employ a distinctively 21st century palette of original music, artistic collaboration, theatrical production values and visual art, yielding powerful explorations of the human experience.
In December 2019, Sō Percussion made a triumphant return to Carnegie Hall for a sold-out performance of “A Percussion Century,” a sprawling exploration of the modern percussion repertoire including works by composers Cage, Lang, Reich, and Xenakis as well as works by Carlos Chávez, Johanna Beyer, and the New York premiere of Sō’s newest commission, Forbidden Love, a string quartet by Julia Wolfe. Other 19/20 highlights include a Miller Theatre Composer Portrait of frequent Sō collaborator, Caroline Shaw (with whom Sō has a new album due this season); David Lang’s man made and Lully’s Le Bourgeois gentilhomme with Louis Langrée and the Cincinnati Symphony; dates in Paris, Lithuania, and throughout the US. Sō also collaborated with choreographer John Heginbotham on a new ballet, RACECAR, premiered as part of The Washington Ballet’s season-opening production, NEXTsteps.
This season Sō celebrates its sixth year as the Edward T. Cone Performers-in-Residence at Princeton University and welcomes the appointment of flutist, composer, and vocalist Nathalie Joachim as the ensemble’s inaugural Andrew W. Siegel Composition Fellow. 19/20 also marks the release of album collaborations with Dan Trueman and the JACK Quartet (Songs that are Hard to Sing, from New Amsterdam), and with indie duo Buke and Gase.
Sō has recorded more than 20 other albums; appeared at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Walt Disney Hall, the Barbican, the Eaux Claires Festival, MassMoCA, and TED 2016; and performed with Jad Abumrad, JACK Quartet, the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra, and the LA Phil and Gustavo Dudamel, among others.
Rooted in the belief that music is an essential facet of human life, a social bond, and an effective tool in creating agency and citizenship, Sō Percussion enthusiastically pursues a growing range of social and community outreach. Examples include their Brooklyn Bound presentations of emerging artists and composers; commitments to purchasing offsets to compensate for carbon-heavy activities such as touring travel; and the Sō Percussion Summer Institute (SōSI), an intensive two-week chamber music seminar for percussionists and composers. Now in its second decade, SōSI features community performances, new work development, guest artist workshops, and an annual food-packing drive, yielding up to 25,000 meals, for the Crisis Center of Mercer County through the organization EndHungerNE.