The Chicago Symphony Orchestra presented a series of concerts in late February and early March, featuring two massive percussion works by famed 20th Century composer Edgar Varese. For the special event, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra brought in a percussion "all star" cast from around the US, including Zildjian Artists She-e Wu, Vadim Karpinos, Michael Burritt, James Ross, Patsy Dash, Cynthia Yeh, Shannon Wood and Keith Aleo. Famed French conductor Maestro Pierre Boulez was at the podium leading the ensemble.
The first work featuring percussion was "Ionization," the epic percussion ensemble piece requiring 13 percussionists and over 40 percussion instruments. Unusual instruments for the piece include the lions roar, two sirens and two anvils. CSO principal percussionist Cynthia Yeh lead the ensemble with the distinctive "theme" on snare drum. "Ionization" was written between 1929 and 1931 and was premiered in 1933. "Ionization" is often regarded as the first percussion ensemble piece ever composed. The concert concluded with another Varese work entitled "Amerique," composed between 1918 and 1921. Scored for a very large orchestra and an extensive percussion section, "Amerique" was the first work Varese composed after he moved to the United States.
Go to CSO.org for more information.
Photo at Chicago Symphony Hall on Thursday, February 26, 2009 - L. to R. - She-e Wu, Vadim Karpinos, Dan Davis, Maestro Boulez, Michael Burritt, Gordon Gottlieb, James Ross, Patricia Dash, Michael Kozakis, Greg Zuber, Cynthia Yeh, Shannon Wood, Donald Koss, Keith Aleo and Bill Cahn.