Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

Event Slides Per Node 1415

  • Each of the four members of So Percussion hold with both hands a crank-style noisemaker up to their right ear.
  • Soprano Dawn Upshaw smiles and rests her left hand on her neck.
  • Pianist Gilbert Kalish smiles for the photographer.

Sō Percussion
with Dawn Upshaw & Gilbert Kalish

7:30 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Dawn Upshaw, a five-time Grammy Award-winning soprano, and Gilbert Kalish, a celebrated pianist and her frequent collaborator, join forces with Sō Percussion, a quartet at the forefront of American musical culture.

The program features George Crumb’s song cycle The Winds of Destiny, which recasts nine songs and spirituals from the Civil War era, including “When Johnny Comes Marching Home” and “Shenandoah,” as dramatic monologues. The program also features the world premiere of Narrow Sea, a work co-commissioned by the Center for the Performing Arts and written by composer Caroline Shaw, who performed with Roomful of Teeth last season at Schwab Auditorium. Narrow Sea, which reaches back into America’s history of song, is written as a response to The Winds of Destiny. Both Shaw and Crumb are Pulitzer Prize winners. The program also includes a selection of music from Bryce Dessner’s Music for Wood and Strings.

Sō Percussion is a flexible, omnivorous entity. A writer for The New Yorker describes the music of Eric Cha-Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting as an “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam.” The quartet’s adventurous spirit was passed down from composers like John Cage and Steve Reich, plus pioneering ensembles such as Kronos Quartet and Nexus Percussion. The ensemble’s career includes more than twenty albums, tours throughout America and the world, an array of collaborative projects, several educational programs, and a steady output of original works.

Upshaw enjoys international celebrity as a singer of opera and concert repertoire ranging from the sacred works of J. S. Bach to the freshest sounds of today. Her ability to reach to the heart of music and text has gained her the devotion of a diverse audience. Upshaw’s most recent Grammy, in 2014, was for Best Classical Vocal Solo for Maria Schneider’s Winter Morning Walks.

Kalish, pianist of the Boston Symphony Chamber Players for three decades, has a discography of more than 100 recordings embracing both classical and contemporary repertoire. A distinguished professor at the State University of New York Stony Brook, Kalish has been an artist of The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center since 2006.

Artistic Viewpoints will not be offered before this performance. Shaw and some of the performers are scheduled to engage with the audience after the concert.

Adult $44
University Park Student $15
18 and Younger $34

Chick King and Betty Scott

support provided by
Pieter and Lida Ouwehand Endowment

media sponsor


Artist Websites: 

Secondary Events on Each Event

Master Class featuring Dawn Upshaw

7:00 pm Monday, October 23, 2017

Eisenhower Chapel

Free and open to the public

The public is invited to observe as soprano Dawn Upshaw leads a master class for selected students in the Penn State School of Music voice program. The two-hour master class includes performances of selections from: Claude Debussy’s Quatre Chansons de Jeunesse with soprano Juliana Alfano; Aaron Copland’s Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson with soprano Kaley Harmon; and George Frideric Handel’s Messiah with soprano Erin McDaniels. Pianist Svetlana Rodionova will accompany each soprano.

Master Class featuring Gilbert Kalish

8:00 pm Monday, October 23, 2017

122 Music Building II

Free and open to the public

The public is invited to observe as pianist Gilbert Kalish conducts a master class for students of Christopher Guzman, Penn State associate professor of music.

Classical Coffeehouse
featuring Sō Percussion

8:00 pm Monday, October 23, 2017

Hintz Family Alumni Center’s Robb Hall

Free to Penn State students; $5 suggested for each community member

Presented by the Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State and the Penn State Alumni Association in partnership with the Blue & White Society.

The innovative Brooklyn-based quartet Sō Percussion will show how it has redefined the meaning of “percussion ensemble.”

Designed especially for Penn State students, but open to everyone, Classical Coffeehouse provides an opportunity to hear traditional and contemporary music in a casual atmosphere. Each coffeehouse includes a mini performance, discussions among artists and audience members, and social time with the musicians and others in attendance.

Enjoy complimentary refreshments. Seating is limited. Standing room is available when seating is filled. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.

Classical Coffeehouse is free for University Park students. A $5 donation is suggested for each community member. Donations help to sustain the coffeehouse series.

Master Class featuring Sō Percussion

11:15 am Tuesday, October 24, 2017

128 Music Building II

Free and open to the public

The public is invited to observe as Sō Percussion leads a master class for students of Dan Armstrong, Penn State professor of music.

Master Class featuring Caroline Shaw

2:00 pm Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Studio A, Room 15 Music Building II

Free and open to the public

The public is invited to observe as Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw conducts a master class for students of Paul Barsom, Penn State associate professor of music composition.