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March 24, 2010

NIU Percussion Ensemble will present ‘world of percussion’ at spring concert 

DeKalb, Ill. — The Northern Illinois University Percussion Ensemble, directed by Robert Chappell and Greg Beyer, with graduate conductor William Cooley, will present its spring concert at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 6, in the Boutell Memorial Concert Hall in the Music Building on the NIU campus.

The concert is free, open to the public and accessible to all. The concert also will be webcast live in high definition for those with high speed internet access at www.niu.edu/music.

Three outstanding guest artists will be featured on this concert: marimba virtuoso Kevin Bobo, West African djembe artist Michael Taylor and Middle Eastern darrabuka virtuoso Omar Al-Musfi. The theme of the concert is the world of percussion as the NIU Percussion Ensemble will perform music from West Africa, the Middle East, Brazil and North America.

Opening the program is “Zwaoli,” a traditional djembe drumming composition from West Africa, featuring Taylor as soloist. Highlighting the program will be two compositions by guest artist Bobo. “Ezekiel’s Wheel” for marimba and steelpan will receive its world premiere at the concert with NIU professor Liam Teague performing on tenor pan.

Bobo also will be marimba soloist on his composition “Boboland” for marimba and four percussionists. The piece was written to depict the life of his 3-year-old nephew, Justin, so the work is filled with constant changes of emotion and a whole lot of mischief. The NIU Berimbau Ensemble (traditional ground bows from Brazil) will continue its introduction of new works for the instrument with the premiere of “Apsa” for five berimbaus.

Al-Musfi will be featured as darabukka (middle eastern drum) soloist on the “Concerto for Darabukka and Percussion Quartet” by Anthony Di Sanza. Composed in 2004, the concerto explores three traditional Middle Eastern rhythmic cycles: Masmudi Kabir (8/4 time), Jourjunah (10/8) as well as an original cycle in 12/8 time.

“Tala” by Akira Nishamura, conducted by Will Cooley, is a serious percussion ensemble work inspired by the time cycles found in North Indian drumming.

Closing out the concert will be traditional Brazilian drumming including “Samba Batucada,” arranged by Clarice Castilho, “Djibu” by Miki Wielicki and “Canta, Canta, Minha Gente” by Martinho da Vila, featuring dancers from the NIU School of Theater and Dance.

For more information, contact Robert Chappell at (815) 753-7973 or Greg Beyer at (815) 753-7981.

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Media Contact: Robert Chappell, NIU School of Music
Phone: (815) 753-7973
Email: rchappell@niu.edu