With innovative multi-genre original productions, sensational interpretations of modern works, and an “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.
Sō’s repertoire ranges from classics of the twentieth century (John Cage, Steve Reich, Iannis Xenakis) to commissions and new works by contemporary composers (David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Steven Mackey, Caroline Shaw) to distinctively modern collaborations with artists who work outside the classical concert hall (Shara Nova, choreographer Susan Marshall, Wilco’s Glenn Kotche, The National, Bryce Dessner). The members of Sō Percussion also compose and perform their own works (From Out a Darker Sea and Amid the Noise), employing a uniquely twenty-first-century synthesis of original music, artistic collaboration, theatrical production values, and visual art. Sō has recorded more than 20 albums including a new album with Caroline Shaw.
Recent highlights include performances of “A Percussion Century” at Carnegie Hall, an exploration of works by John Cage, David Lang, Johanna Beyer, and others, and also featuring the New York premiere of Sō’s newest commission, Forbidden Love, a string quartet by Julia Wolfe; David Lang’s man made and Jean-Baptist Lully’s Le Bourgeois gentilhomme with Louis Langrée and the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra; among others in Paris, Klaipėdos, and across the U.S. Sō collaborated with choreographer John Heginbotham in a new ballet, RACECAR, which was performed in The Washington Ballet’s season-opening NEXTsteps production and featured the music of Jason Treuting. This season, Sō celebrates its sixth year as Edward T. Cone Performers-in-Residence at Princeton University and the 12th year of the Sō Percussion Summer Institute (SōSI), an intensive two-week chamber music seminar for percussionists and composers.
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: Brooklyn Bound presentations of younger composers; commitments to purchasing offsets to compensate for carbon-heavy activities such as touring travel; and leading their SōSI students in an annual food-packing drive, yielding up to 35,000 meals, for the Crisis Center of Mercer County through the organization EndHungerNE.