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Greg Stuart wins the Jasper Artist of the Year Award in Music

Awards were announced Nov. 21, 2014, at the Big Apple downtown Columbia

Percussionist Greg Stuart’s 2013-14 performances have been described by Steve Smith of The New York Times as “mesmerizing” and “achingly beautiful.” University of South Carolina’s assistant professor teaches music history, experimental music, and runs the New Music Workshop.

Jasper magazine judges chose three nominees for the music award, saying Stuart is “no stranger to experimental music danger….” The general public voted for the winners in several arts categories, and Stuart was surprised that he won in the music category over two popular Columbia bands with huge fan bases.  

Stuart's work explores alternative percussion techniques like sustained friction, gravity-based sounds via small grains, sympathetic vibration and electronic instruments. His recordings receive accolades by music critics nationally, and locally, he has organized the world premier of Los Angeles-based composer Michael Pisaro’s “asleep, forest, melody, path” (2013) for a large, mixed ensemble with field recordings from Congaree National Park. The ensemble included students from the Honors College, School of Music, and members of the Columbia music community and took place at the Columbia Museum of Art.

Also at the art museum, Stuart organized a performance of the legendary Japanese percussionist Tatsuya Nakatani’s acclaimed “Nakatani Gong Orchestra” with 12 local musicians. The piece is an innovative, community-based ensemble consisting of large gongs suspended on custom hardware and played with handcrafted bows designed by Nakatani.

Since 2006, Stuart has collaborated extensively with the composer Michael Pisaro, producing a large body of new music for percussion comprised of pieces that focus on the magnification of small sounds through recording and layering, often in combination with field recordings and electronic sounds (An unrhymed chord, A wave and waves, Ricefall (2), July Mountain, and the Hearing Metal series). He also currently works with the percussion trio Meridian (with Tim Feeney and Nick Hennies) and with computer musician Joe Panzner.