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PE – 11/13/18 Ford theater

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Youngstown State University

Percussion Ensemble – Glenn Schaft - Director

and

Youngstown Percussion Collective

 

Featuring

Guest Artist Ron Coulter-Percussionist/Composer/Improviser

 

13 November 2018

Ford Theatre, Bliss Hall

7:30PM

Free Admission

•••

 

Another Norther (1976)                                                              Charles Amirkhanian (b. 1945)

 

Oriental (c. 1940)                                                                                      Lou Harrison (1917-2003)

Youngstown Percussion Collective

 

 

System No. 2 (2018)                                                                                        Ron Coulter (b. 1978)

 

Changing Tensions (c. 1939)                                                                   Franziska Boas (1902-1988)

Youngstown Percussion Collective

 

For Johanna Beyer (2015)                                                                                    Ron Coulter (b. 1978)

 

PERCUSSION I-V (1935)                                                  Johanna Magdalena Beyer (1888-1944)

 

 

10' Intermission

 

 

"...tiny rooms of starvation and madness." (2018)                               Ron Coulter (b. 1978)

--World Premiere--

 

Dark, True Center (2016)                                                                    Ron Coulter (b. 1978)

 

Looking into a faded life burning out. (2007-2017)                              Ron Coulter (b. 1978)

 

•••

YSU Percussion Ensemble:

            Nathaniel Adams                      Petersburg, OH              

            Terence Boggs                          Warren, OH                    

            Michael Daniels                        Fostoria, OH                           

            Owen Davis                                Vienna, OH                    

            Stephen Dorbish                       Canfield, OH                  

            Joel Gillespie                             East Liverpool, OH        

            Jo’El Harrison                            Farrell, PA,                      

            Brandon Maffitt                        Warren, OH,                  

            Evan McCreary                          Poland, OH,                    

            Anthony Tresky                        Pittsburgh, PA

•••                 

Youngstown Percussion Collective:

            Evan McCreary, Anthony Tresky, Ron Coulter, and Glenn Schaft

•••

 

Program Notes                                                                                              

Tonight's concert represents a mix of historically important works from the formative period of the percussion ensemble repertoire, 1934 to 1942, and recent compositions by Ron Coulter. In addition to his composition and performance credits, one of Ron's major contributions to contemporary percussion has been his research, analysis, and recording of forgotten percussion works from this formative period. His 2011 recording Origins: forgotten percussion works, vol. 1 features two other founding members of the Youngstown Percussion Collective; Nathan Douds and Craig Hill, along with the Southern Illinois University Percussion Group where he was teaching at the time.

 

Charles Amirkhanian was born in Fresno in 1945 and resides in El Cerrito, CA. He is a composer, percussionist, and poet. He is known for his text-sound compositions that employ speech sounds in rhythmic patterns that resemble percussion music, and for his electroacoustic essays incorporating acoustic ambient sounds alongside more traditional musical tones that create disjunct, trance-like dreamscapes.

            In addition to programming and directing the Other Minds Festival since 1993, Amirkhanian has led the organization in producing many additional concerts devoted to the work of the American experimental tradition (Cage, Cowell, Rudhyar, Nancarrow, Hovhaness, Antheil and others), establishing a record label, a weekly radio program, and commissioning new work annually from composers around the world. –Glenn Schaft and www.foundationforcontemporaryarts.org

Oriental is a percussion trio believed to have been composed in 1940 by Lou Silver Harrison (b. 14 May 1917; d. 2 Feb. 2003) to accompany a movement of a dance suite by the noted dancer and choreographer, Lester Horton.

 

It was at Mills College in 1939 that Harrison and John Cage altered the course of Western music by presenting their first concert of percussion music. Henry Cowell was responsible for introducing Cage to Harrison in 1938 and for encouraging them to explore world music, non-western instruments, and non-traditional (found) instruments. Cage and Harrison’s early percussion writing was also spurred by their involvement with dance.

 

Both Harrison and Horton were on the faculty of the 1940 Mills College summer dance program, during which Horton created the dance work, Something to Please Everybody – a suite of dances that varied widely in style. Harrison composed the music for Something to Please Everybody which included the movements: Inebria, Aesthetic Ecstacy, Occult, Dithyrambos, and Orientale. As the manuscripts exist in the Library of Congress, Lester Horton Collection, all of the movements were initially scored for piano. Harrison appears to have rewritten the Orientale movement for percussion trio and altered the title to Oriental.

 

The manuscript in the LC, Lester Horton Collection includes a complete score and set of parts. The score is in Harrison’s distinctive handwriting and interestingly shows a list of what appears to be “dance counts” on the final page. Additionally, the score is heavily edited with many measures marked out and some repeats added, presumably to accommodate an evolving/edited choreography.

 

While this is Harrison’s shortest work for percussion, with a duration of approximately 00:01:50, it is arguably one of his most sublime in terms of orchestration and economy of material. –Ron Coulter and Glenn Schaft

 

Changing Tensions was composed, or at least committed to paper in a fixed form, in 1939 by Franziska Marie Boas (b. 8 Jan. 1902; d. 22 Dec. 1988).  Changing Tensions is scored for four percussionists in two movements with a total duration of approximately 00:03:23. Both movements, I. Moderately Fast and II. Slow, have relatively simple tripartite forms comprised primarily of layered ostinati.

 

Boas was an American dancer, educator, and an improviser, composer, and performer of percussion music. She is credited as a pioneer of dance therapy and with founding the first interracial school of dance. She was the daughter of renowned anthropologist Franz Boas and was a highly regarded disciple of the German dancers, Mary Wigman and Hanya Holm.

 

Boas developed a unique improvisation-based dance style and pedagogy influenced by non-European cultures. Percussion playing was integrated in Boas’ dance practice, primarily through improvisation based on predetermined musical motives related to the particular movement being explored, including an exercise titled Changing Tensions. She improvised, performed, and composed percussion music for her own choreography and for others such as Holm, including teaching and performing at the Bennington School of Dance in Vermont during the summers of 1937 and 1938. In 1939 the Bennington School of Dance was in residence at Mills College in Oakland, CA for the summer alongside members of the Cage Percussion Players: John and Xenia Cage, Margaret Jansen, and Doris Dennsion.

 

On July 27, 1939 the Cage Percussion Players presented a concert at Mills College entitled, Modern American Percussion Music, which included Franziska Boas’ Changing Tensions, alongside works by Cage, William Russell, Lou Harrison, and Johanna M. Beyer. It is surmised that Changing Tensions was first notated as a fixed composition by Boas for this concert with the Cage Percussion Players. Boas’ daughter, Gertrud Michelson, wrote in an email to the author: “Franzsika’s music was really meant to be improvised with and could go on and on, it wasn’t completely written out.” This is supported by the fact that Boas’ other eight titled percussion works all exist as incomplete sketches, suggesting that each is a set of motives to launch an improvisation in a certain direction with certain instruments.

 

The only complete score for Changing Tensions resides in the Northwestern University Music Library, John Cage Collection, Series II. Notations Project, 1884–1978. The score is in Boas’ handwriting on blue graph paper and additionally includes various individual parts in Boa’s hand. Also included is a complete set of parts in Cage’s exquisite handwriting. The Franziska Boas Collection at the Library of Congress contains an incomplete score and various parts in Boas’ hand. –Ron Coulter

 

For Johanna Beyer is scored for speaking voice, large woodblock, giant tam tam, three lion’s roars, and four to sixteen-or-more triangles. Johanna Magdalena Beyer (1888-1944) was a German-born composer and pianist considered one of the Ultra-Modernists of early 20th Century American music. Beyer was an integral composer and networker in the development of percussion music in Western canon, alongside Henry Cowell, John Cage, Lou Harrison, William Russell, and others. The poem, “TOTAL ECLIPSE,” used in this composition was penned by Beyer and the instrumentation is a nod to Beyer’s preferences in several of her percussion works. Anyone familiar with Beyer’s percussion works will recognize the woodblock part and lion’s roars as iconic. The composition is notated using traditional music notation, however the relationships of the performers are not precisely fixed, rather they are coordinated within timeframes allowing individual performers a degree of choice during the realization of the work.  – Ron Coulter

 

PERCUSSION I-V. For decades the fourth movement of PERCUSSION has been considered a complete, free-standing composition titled IV, when in fact it is a single movement from this larger five-movement work. IV was Beyer's only published work during her lifetime appearing in Henry Cowell's 1936 New Music Orchestra Series, Collection No. 18. PERCUSSION is the first known percussion composition to use unspecified instrumentation, thus allowing endless reinvention of the work.  –Ron Coulter and Glenn Schaft

 

“…the tiny rooms of starvation and madness.” This beautiful phrase comes from the poem, “You Tell Me What It Means” by Charles Bukowski and his book, “The flash of lightning behind the mountain.” The theme of, and actual phrase, tiny rooms, appears throughout the writing of Bukowski over his lifetime – a literal memory as well as a metaphor of Bukowski’s personal experience and his views of society, economic systems, cultural norms, human limitations, et cetera. I had been wrestling for months with how to structure and subsequently notate the various ideas, or sound worlds, within this composition, and when I came across this phrase I immediately knew that it would be the composition’s title.

 

In addition to being greatly impacted by Bukowski’s writing, I am also fascinated by the solo percussion work “Fragments II” by Jean-Charles François. I had not fully absorbed François’ approach to structure and organization in “Fragments II” until I came across the phrase by Bukowski. The collision of these two ideas (fragments, rooms) or turns of phrase (sound, words) finally made sense in terms of structure and organization. So, this work is a series of tiny rooms (RE: Bukowski) or fragments (RE: François) – in more classical terms, vignettes, movements, or scenes – unrelated at the micro level yet inextricably bound on the macro level of composition; each fragment or room is stark and discrete.

 

The work was composed in 2018 for the Youngstown State University Percussion Ensemble and it’s director, Dr. Glenn Schaft.

 

“Looking into a faded life burning out” took eleven years to complete; it was started in 2007 (Carbondale, IL) and completed in 2017 (Casper, WY), sometimes going untouched for a year or more. It is a quartet for crotales, vibraphone, marimba, and bass marimba, with options for doubling certain parts up to a total of nine performers. The work juxtaposes the two disparate ideas of rigid constraint (meter, rhythm, pitch, repetition, etc.) and pliable freedom (obscuring meter/rhythm/pitch, stream-of-consciousness-like phrasing, etc.).  Techniques of note include: use of the vibraphone’s variable motor speed (amplitude modulation), bowing of crotales, and muted notes in the bass marimba. –Ron Coulter

 

 

Ron Coulter is currently Instructor of Percussion, Improvisation, Jazz, American Popular and World Musics at Casper College.  He previously served as Senior Lecturer of Percussion, Improvisation, and Jazz Studies at Southern Illinois University Carbondale for a decade and as a Visiting Instructor of Percussion at Clarion University of Pennsylvania.  He has also served as an Adjunct Instructor of Percussion at John A. Logan College and Youngstown State University, and as an independent contractor at Westminster College and Chadron State College. He has presented clinics, master classes, lectures, and/or performances at more than 100 colleges and universities internationally as a visiting artist, and has been a faculty member of the Casper Mountain Jazz Camp, Southern Illinois Music Camp, and SIUC Jazz Camp.  In 2006 Ron was invited to become an Educational Endorser with the Promark Corporation and Black Swamp Percussion, and in 2016 he became an Educational Endorser with Pearl Drums and Adams Percussion.

 

Ron has been a freelance percussionist since 1997, performing in a wide gamut of musical situations from burlesque cabaret to live electronica.  As a performer, he has toured internationally appearing in 49 U.S. states, Norway, Croatia, Australia, and most major cities in the European Union, Japan, and Canada. He has performed with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Harry James Orchestra, Four Aces, The Gaylords, Al Martino, Linux Laptop Orchestra, Tone Road Ramblers, New Arts Jazztet, Sean Jones, Keith Javors, Donadi, Galen Abdur-Razzaq, Marvin Stamm, Dominick Farinacci, Ben Markley, Eric Richards, Donald Smith, Joanne Brackeen, Maria Schneider, Bruce Johnstone, Rip Lee Pryor, Martin “Big Larry” Allbritton, Casey D. James, Ivas John, Billy Contreras, Ashley Campbell, Lucy Shelton, Susan Botti, Julia Rich, Sony Holland, Abby Burke, Cristina Fontanelli, Beat Kaestli, Nick Hilscher, Bryan Anthony, Steve Lippia, Dick Johnson, Eric P. Mandat, Bill Smith, William O. Smith, James Falzone, François Houle, Vinny Golia, Viv Corringham, Tatsuya Nakatani, Gino Robair, Michael Zerang, Chris Corsano, RICKSPLUND, Kelan Phil Cohran, Charles “Bobo” Shaw, Jim Staley, John Fonville, Morgan Powell, Ray Sasaki, Howie Smith, Tomeka Reid, Durán Vásquez, Paulo Raposo, Alexander Markov, Carol Wincenc, Eric Ruske, Francesca Dego, Elena Ulyanova, Ryan Anthony, Eliot Fisk, Bolokada Condé, Weedie Braimah, Erica Azim, Caution Shonhai, Renold Shonhai, Marvin Hamlisch, Sandy Duncan, Robert Van Sice, Robert Schietroma, Sylvia Smith, Music from China, Red Desert, Neoteric, Altgeld Chamber Players, One-Off Radiophonic Orchestra, HaZMaT Percussion Group, Maraca2, The Chance Operations Collective of Kalamazoo, Sam West Trio, Woodbox Gang, Rapture 7, Well Well Wells, and Rum Runners, among many, many others.

 

Ron is a co-founder of the Percussion Art Ensemble and Youngstown Percussion Collective, and he founded the Perkusiv Arts Elektronik, which was a collective exploring the performance of existing, and the creation of new, electro-acoustic music, including 69 commissions/world premieres from 2005 to 2006.  Ron has performed with symphony orchestras across the U.S.A. including the Wyoming Symphony, Youngstown Symphony, Paducah Symphony, Powder River Symphony, Chicago Chamber Orchestra, Southern Illinois Symphony, Southern Illinois Music Festival Orchestra, Warren Philharmonic Orchestra, Warren Packard Band, Ballet Ariel Orchestra, Dana Symphony Orchestra, and the Shenango Valley Lyric Opera.  He has also appeared as a soloist with the Wyoming Chamber Orchestra, Southern Illinois Symphony, Linux Laptop Orchestra, Dana Symphony Orchestra, and the YSU Wind and Percussion Ensembles.

 

Ron has presented at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (2018, 2013, 2003, 2002), International Society for Improvised Music Symposium (2009 & 2008), Montreal Jazz Festival (2009 & 2004), JVC Jazz Festival, International Clarinetfest, ReVIEWING Black Mountain College 3–John Cage, a.pe.ri.od.ic Music Series–John Cage Festival, nief-norf’s John Cage Research Summit, NIME, HICAH, VU2, tilde~, LiWoLi–Art Meets Radical Openness, Blurred Edges Festival, Open Spaces Festival, Interference Series, Vu Symposium, SPLICE Festival II, Athena Festival VI, Futurisms Centennial Conference, Sound Lines, RadiaLx, St. Louis New Music Circle (2012 & 2010), TUTTI Festival, Kinser Jazz Festival, Glenn Miller Festival, Jazz Education Network International Conference, BYU Barlow Lecture Series, Big Muddy Film Festival (2011 & 2010), UNCG New Music Festival, The Noble Snare–25 Years Festival, redStone Recital & Gallery Series (2017–2014), Outside the Box New Music Festival (2014–2007), Casper Chamber Music Society Series, U.S. Army Band Tuba/Euphonium International Conference, College Music Society National Conference (2012 & 2008), Illinois PAS Day of Percussion (2012, 2010, 2009), Wyoming PAS Day of Percussion (2017–2015), American College Dance Festival Association Conference, Music Educators National Conference, and numerous state and regional PAS and Music Education Association conferences, among many others.

 

Ron was selected as a finalist in the 2002 Percussive Arts Society International Multiple Percussion Competition and can be heard on more than 50 issued audio recordings with various artists, including: the debut recording of Drm&Gtr featuring his original compositions for percussion, guitar, and electronics released in March 2017; his fourth album with duende entendre released in December 2017; his fifth album of electro-acoustic music, 300 Savage released in July 2018; and his second solo recording featuring his compositions for percussion and electronics, small axe, was released in September 2018.

 

Interests in noise, intermedia, performance art, acoustic ecology, radio art, interdisciplinary collaboration, and non-idiomatic improvisation have led to organizing Fluxconcerts, founding the Improvisation Unit, co-founding duende entendre, REDVIXA, Marble Hammer, and Drm&Gtr, in addition to collaborative projects with artists specializing in performance art, sculpture, video, spoken word, and sound art.  Ron is the founder, artistic director, and curator of the Southern Illinois Improvisation Series (SiiS) and Wyoming Experimental Sound Series (WyExSs).  The SiiS was a twice-monthly series (2014-2007) that presented 135 free sound events exploring interdisciplinary collaboration, technology integration, site-specific work, sound installations, sound empowerment, education, and documentation in the rural southern Illinois region.  The WyExSs (2018-2014) presents composed and improvised music in the American Experimentalist tradition and is the first of its kind in the state of Wyoming.  Drm&Gtr is free-jazz duo with Canadian guitarist, Jay Reed.  Duende entendre is an ongoing collaboration with poet and bassist, Sam West, and Marble Hammer was a blue-noiz trio with guitarist, Casey James, and bassist, Mike Alderfer.  Additional interdisciplinary collaborators include Mary Beth Edelson (performance art), Dr. Craig Gingrich-Philbrook (performance art), Dr. Susannah “Bunny” LeBaron (performance art), Terry Adkins (sound & visual art), Kerry Laitala (video), Wago Krieder (video), Jay Needham (sound & visual art), David Romtvedt (poetry), Erin Taylor (sculpture), Chris Scamehorn (ceramics), and Boris Chesakov (metal sculpture).

 

As a composer, Ron has created more than 340 original compositions for various media encompassing numerous genres. His compositions have been performed throughout the United States, Canada, South America, Australia, Europe, and have been recorded on the Kreating SounD, Upper Hand Press, Vox Novus, Not Art Records, and A Caldera record labels; selected scores and editions are published by HoneyRock Publishing, Frog Peak Music, Media Press, Smith Publications, and Kreating SounD.

 

Ron’s musicological research has unearthed more than twenty unknown percussion works from the 1930s and 1940s, of which he is facilitating premiere live performances, recordings, and publication as audio CDs and/or scores, in addition to analytical papers.

 

As a curator, Ron has organized over 500 free public presentations of music and intermedia art involving over 100 artists across a multitude of disciplines. During his tenure at SIUC he organized 73 visiting percussion artists presenting 124 free percussion events, in addition to the 135 free sound events of the SiiS, for the university and regional communities. At present, he is the instrumental director of the Kinser Jazz Festival, and coordinator of visiting percussion artists at Casper College, as well as the founder and artistic director of the Wyoming Experimental Sound Series (WyExSs) and Casper College New Music Days.

 

Ron’s longtime interest in contemporary music has led to the commission of more than 30 compositions and the premieres of more than 400 individual works as a performer or conductor.

 

Originally from Hermitage, Pennsylvania, Ron Coulter (b. 1978) was raised on a dairy farm and eventually earned M.M. and B.M. degrees in Percussion Performance from Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio. His principle teachers include Dr. Glenn Schaft, Tony Leonardi, Dr. Stephen Gage, Feza Zweifel, John Riley, Fred Morris, Moussa Bolokada Condé, Caution Shonhai, Renold Shonhai, Erica Azim, and Nina DeCiancio.

 

•••

The Youngstown Percussion Collective is a non-profit student organization in-residence at Youngstown State University. YPC’s mission integrates composer commission projects, premiere performances, recordings, and educational outreach events. The Collective developed in the late 1990's amongst students Ron Coulter, Nathan Douds, and Craig Hill in collaboration with Dr. Glenn Schaft, Director of Percussion Studies and eventual YPC Faculty Advisor, and various graduate students and adjunct faculty.

 

YPC performed at the 2003 Percussive Arts Society International Convention New Music Day in Louisville, Kentucky where they collaborated with Tim Strelau, George Kiteley, other Cleveland area percussionists, and the Dance Theater Collective of Cleveland to present the music of Lou Harrison.

 

YPC hosted the 2006 Percussive Arts Society Ohio Chapter Day of Percussion at YSU that attracted hundreds of attendees. This event included a percussion retail expo, performances by university and high school percussion ensembles, and renowned guest artist clinicians including Michael Burritt, John Riley, Michael Rosen, Ruben Alvarez, Tom Freer, and Mike McIntosh.

 

In 2007 YPC commissioned a piece for five percussion and four saxophones by percussionist/composer John Hollenbeck, entitled Ziggurat (exterior). YPC performed the world premiere at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City in 2007, the Youngstown premiere at the DeYor Center for the Performing Arts in 2007, and their recording of the work was released on the 2008 John Hollenbeck disc, Rainbow Jimmies which has received critical acclaim.

 

In 2007 YPC released their first compact disc Dark Wood which contains six premiere recordings including four commissions by Glenn Schaft and YPC. Dark Wood is available at percussion.ysu.edu and has received critical acclaim from the Percussive Arts Society and others. 

 

YPC's recording Forms Of Things Unknown represents a two-year commission project with YSU faculty colleague Dr. Dave Morgan. Premiered in 2011, YPC recorded Forms at the Dana School of Music and performed it at the Ohio Music Education Association Professional Conference in Columbus and the Butler Institute of American Art in Youngstown. Available at I-Tunes and CD Baby.com

 

YPC recently recorded two student-composed concerti with percussion ensemble; Tub Thumper (drumset) by Nick Sainato and Concerto for Doumbek and Percussion Ensemble by Evan Gottschalk. Upcoming plans include premiere recordings of Ron Coulter's works on tonight's program "...tiny rooms of starvation and madness..." (2018) and Looking Into a faded life burning out  (2007-2018).

 

Thanks! Dr. Glenn Schaft and the YSU Percussion Studio would like to thank Avedis Zildjian cymbal company, Remo Inc. drumheads and world percussion, Innovative Percussion Inc., sticks and mallets, and Black Swamp Percussion for their product and artist support.

 

    ADA Compliance                                                                                                          Glenn Schaft © 2008-2015