Contemporary percussion ensemble performs at University Theatre

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Contemporary Percussion Ensemble and Hand Drumming Ensemble will perform at 7:30 p.m. Friday (Dec. 11) in the University Theatre in the Theatre Hall building, UW-Green Bay.

The first half of the concert will feature a performance of six works by the Contemporary Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Professor Cheryl Grosso.

Sizzle is a fast rhythmic quintet using standard drums and small percussion instruments in which thematic material is passed from player to player.

Densities is a difficult contemporary work for four multi-percussionists. That means each player has a group of instruments on which they perform including marimba, vibraphone, and many skin, wood and metal instruments.

Pulse was written in 1939 by American composter Henry Cowell, and has an oriental tone, mostly due to instrumentation, which includes shime daiko drums, gongs, temple blocks, and Japanese temple cup gongs.

Rend is by Matthew Burtner, who will be a visiting artist on the campus March 24-26, 2010, during which time there will be two performances of his compositions at the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts. Rend is a quintet for four snare drums, pedal bass drum and computer manipulated snare drum sounds. The piece contains layered polyrhythms alternating with sections of tutti rhythms throughout which the fifth player controls the sounds and dynamics of the sampled sounds on a laptop.

Quartz City features senior Brett Walter playing the solo vibraphone part accompanied by five other players on a multitude of percussion instruments including marimbas, log drums, congas, bongos, cymbals, and the bass drum. The piece is jazz-influenced and a tonal piece.

Nonet CAlFe NiCuZn is Prof. Grosso’s newest composition for percussion ensemble, written for this year’s Campus Common Theme. It features instruments constructed from repurposed materials. All the instruments are metal and include saw blades, artillery shells, crosscut saw, and metallophones. The piece depicts the transformation from raw minerals in the earth to the refined metals we know as stainless steel, iron, brass and aluminum.

The second half of the concert features two hand-drumming ensembles performing a selection of Grosso compositions. The Two Rivers High School Ensemble, directed by UW-Green Bay alumni Andrew Pagel, will perform Rhythm Chant TR, which Grosso wrote for his group, which is one of the few high school hand-drumming ensembles in Wisconsin.

The UW-Green Bay Hand Drumming Ensemble will perform two pieces Grosso wrote this fall. Rhythm Chant Harden was written for the inauguration of Chancellor Thomas Harden. This will be the premier performance of Rhythm Chant BJW, which was written for Brett Walter, who will be graduating in December.

The concert will conclude with Rhythm Chant DM, a piece that both groups play together. It will also feature Two Rivers’ student Torie Smith on flugelhorn.

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors, and can be purchased through University Ticketing Services at (920) 465-2127 or 1-800-328-8587, or online at


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