Meadows Percussion Ensemble
Wednesday, April 14, 2021
Livestreaming from Caruth Auditorium in SMU’s Owen Arts Center; advance registration required.
The Meadows Percussion Ensemble (MPE), under the direction of Jon D. Lee, presents a spring concert mixing old and new, with an emphasis on masterworks by several famed composers. The program includes Second Construction by John Cage, probably the most visible, controversial and innovative composer of the American avant-garde. Written in 1940, Second Construction employs the “string piano,” a precursor to Cage’s later “prepared piano.” Another featured work is Mallet Quartet (2009) by Steve Reich. Written for two marimbas and two vibraphones, it was Reich’s first piece to employ the extended lower range of the 5-octave marimba. Also on the program is 10 Year Portrait (2014), an octet by Meadows faculty member Ed Smith. The scale and tonality of the piece is borrowed from the traditional Balinese gamelan sound. It includes two vibraphone players using traditional hand dampening and melodic interlocking techniques, as if they were playing Balinese gamelan instruments. In addition, Meadows faculty member Jamal Mohamed brings the popular Laylit Houb (1969) back to the MPE stage. The original piece was very popular in Egypt in the 1970s. The MPE has performed the work for over 20 years and it is featured on their first CD, Strike. The ensemble is also pleased to feature two students on virtuosic xylophone rags: Meadows graduate student Kirstyn Norris Alarcon will premiere her own arrangement of tunes from the 1920s called Boyfriends Medley, and Meadows senior Kendall Barnes will present the George Hamilton Green classic Dottie Dimples. To end the show, the ensemble is honored to welcome international concert artist and Meadows cello professor Andres Diaz for a performance of Tan Dun’s Elegy: Snow in June. This showstopper is a tour-de-force for both cello and the four percussionists who accompany. To register to watch the livestreaming concert, visit http://blog.smu.edu/meadows/mpe4-14-21/. For more information call 214.768.2787.