University of South Carolina

Feel the beat

By Frenche Brewer,, 803-777-3691

A-one and a-two- and a-three!

The Southern Exposure New Music Series, the University of South Carolina’s School of Music’s award-winning concert program opens its 12th season with a bang.

The concert is set to begin at 7:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 28 in the School of Music recital hall. The program is free.

The concert features an all-star lineup of some of today’s most accomplished and exciting young percussionists highlighting the vast range of today’s percussion music, from virtuosic show-stoppers to intimate soundscapes to modernist masterpieces.  

Special guests for the opening concert series include the Meehan/Perkins Duo, called “superb young players” by The New Yorker, performing Steve Reich's classic “Nagoya Marimbas” and John Supko’s “Straights,” for two marimbas, wood blocks and clay flower pots.

Experimental whizzes Tim Feeney and Nick Hennies will join USC’s Greg Stuart in performing Austrian composer Peter Ablinger's “Regenstück” (Rain Pieces).  

USC’s Percussion Ensemble will also be featured, playing Ivan Trevino’s lyrical marimba quartet, “Bloom.”  

Scott Herring, director of the percussion ensemble said, “The USC Percussion Ensemble has had the distinct pleasure of performing on the Southern Exposure New Music Series in the past and it is always an exciting event. The capacity crowds are always electrified by these concerts and the all-star percussion concert will be no different.”  

 A centerpiece of the concert will be Atlanta-based Stuart Gerber’s performance of Karlheinz Stockhausen’s masterpiece, "Heaven's Door," a piece written for him. This musical/theatrical piece involves the use of a specially-made, paneled wooden door that stands more than 9 feet tall.  

Percussion is commonly referred to as "the backbone" of a musical ensemble. In almost every style of music, percussion plays a pivotal role. From marching bands to pipe and drums to jazz, when you find yourself tapping your feet to the beat, swaying from side to side or snapping your fingers, you’re responding to the heartbeat of a music ensemble -- the percussion.

The series, known for quality and innovative programming, has acquired a loyal and enthusiastic audience over the years, drawing fans from North and South Carolina and Georgia. It was launched in 2001 by USC composer John Fitz Rogers, who last year passed the baton to new director Michael Harley.

“Fans of Southern Exposure can expect more of the same high-quality, cutting edge shows that are the series’ trademark. I want the series to reflect the incredible diversity that is a hallmark -- probably the hallmark -- of contemporary classical music,” Harley said.

Fans can also look forward to a new initiative, Artist Exposure, featuring a local visual artist and his work displayed during selected concerts throughout the year.

“Our goal is to make meaningful connections between visual arts and music, as well as support Columbia's burgeoning local arts scene,” Harley said. 

The first Columbia artist to be featured in Artist Exposure is metal sculptor Michael Pope.  

“While patrons will find their ears and minds stretched with works that push the boundaries of what we might be used to hearing in a concert hall, there is also plenty of music that anyone can just sit back and luxuriate in,” Harley said.

Posted: 09/25/12 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 09/26/12 @ 10:42 AM | Permalink