SoSI Alumni – New Projects

About a week ago, I got the idea to check in with some of the students who have attended the So Percussion Summer Institute, which is about to enter its sixth year.

I have been receiving updates from alumni about fresh new ideas they’ve had since attending our festival.  Many have started their own groups, commissioned new pieces from their peers, and/or engaged with their local communities through music.

This article is a compilation featuring their responses in alphabetical order.  You’ll find links galore to explore their music, and perhaps to find a new favorite band!

Here’s more information about our festival:


Zac Brunell

In 2012, the So Percussion Summer Institute introduced me to Xenakis’ “Pleiades” – the inventive percussion sextet written in ’78. Since being fully initiated into the world of Xenakis, I’ve found his music beyond captivating, and difficult to narrow down to any handful of descriptive words. During my second summer at Princeton with the So dudes, Adam Sliwinski was kind enough to hear about an all-Xenakis program I was trying to do in the fall of 2013. After showing Adam a few sketches I’d done for the show, he encouraged me to go forward with it. The following, for me, acts as somewhat of a retrospective, or in other words, a tour of what it meant to do an event in honor of Xenakis and his work.

Victor Caccese

Sandbox Percussion was founded in 2011 and for the past three years has been wildly ambitious and motivated while building their career as a contemporary percussion quartet. Brought together by their love of chamber music, and simple joy of playing together, members Jonathan Allen, Victor Caccese, Ian Rosenbaum, and Terry Sweeney are committed to bringing percussion chamber music to a wider audience. While possessing a deep love and respect for traditional percussion masterworks by composers such as Steve Reich and John Cage, Sandbox is also excited about the discovery of new works through collaboration with young composers and other performers. Most recently they appeared on a Ted Talk in Brooklyn, NY collaborating with Blind Ear Music, a collection of composers melding technology and performance to create real-time composition. To find out more about Sandbox and upcoming events please visit

David Degge

In addition to becoming a founding member of the Mobius Percussion Quartet in 2011, SoSI alum David Degge recently received a Fulbright grant to pursue further chamber music study after completing his Master’s degree in 2013. He is the first American percussionist to study at the Liszt Academy of Music with Zoltán Rácz in Budapest, Hungary, and he has also had the opportunity to work closely with members of the widely acclaimed Amadinda Percussion Group. Now in the group’s 30th year, Amadinda’s impact on the world of percussion music cannot be overstated, and David is a proud beneficiary of their recent efforts to increase collaboration with young musicians. A highlight of his time in Hungary has included participation in the first Liszt Academy student performance of Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians under the direction of Rácz and fellow Amadinda member Aurél Holló, who also performed as members of the ensemble.

Chris Demetriou

SoSi had a pretty massive impact on me in a lot of ways. Perhaps the most direct connection was that, after the institute, I had a huge arsenal of tools to bring back to the quartet I play with, all of which helped propel us forward towards our goals. Especially experiencing “Where (we) Live,” and talking to members of So about various processes of composition, I found myself approaching writing music with more comfort and excitement. These things in combination led to a lot of progress for my group, The Kraken Quartet, including some fun performances of Jason’s music as well as a few recordings of our own pieces (I’ll attach links separately bellow). Extending from this, I have recently found myself very interested in writing and performing my own music as a soloist, again highly influenced in concept and aesthetic by my time at SoSi (unfortunately no nice recordings for now, but I will hopefully have some in the next few weeks if you are interested). In addition to these tools and ideas, I am continually grateful for the community that SoSi nurtured. Even a few years after the program, I constantly find myself in contact with people I met that summer, always with exciting opportunities. Elliot Cole was kind enough to write a new piece for Kraken, and helped us immensely when we performed his postludes (again, something new to me at SoSi). Next month I’ll be traveling a bit and performing my music, and many of the stops will be to play concerts with friends I made at SoSi (including Evan Chapman and his group Square Peg Round Hole, Chris Sies and Dylan Greene with their group Willo, and Mika and Yumi with Mobius). I am truly grateful for all of these individual things I gained from my SoSi experience. But mostly, I know that the program impacted me as a musician in a lot of intangible ways, and for that I feel very fortunate.

playing Jason’s music:

playing Evan Chapman’s music (after meeting him at SoSi):

collaboration (definitely influenced by seeing you perform with Grey McMurray):

original music:

recording of a piece Tim Feeney wrote for us:

Abby Fisher

Last year, I co-led a percussion commissioning consortium with fellow percussionist and Lawrence University graduate Alexv Rolfe. We commissioned a solo work for vibraphone and speaking voice from Lawton Hall (also a Lawrence grad), and invited others to join. Hall’s piece, titled ‘all your thens for now’ with text by Tim Davis from his essay The Ladies’ Tee and music drawn from Self Portrait in Three Colors by Charles Mingus, was completed in October 2013. We were successful in raising all the necessary funds and even a few consortium members are SoSI alums! During the fundraising process, we made a website for the consortium; the site included a blog written by Hall about his compositional process, a place to make contributions, and a list of the members. ‘all your thens for now’ will be available for purchase from Hall’s website Fall 2014 (

Ethan Geller

I’ve written a whole bunch of software inspired by some of the Cage chance music I learned about at SOSI, like a program called Soundwrite for OS X that converts text to harmonic progressions. All my software and music can be found at Also, I just found out yesterday that I got into the CCRMA masters program at Stanford! Very exciting times.

Dylan Greene

In 2011, Chris Sies collaborated with Elliot Cole at the Sō Percussion Summer Institute and helped to première a recent work of his, Postludes. Elliot, smart man that he is, gave out free copies to all the SoSi participants that year. We brought it back to Ann Arbor and performed it all over town – quite literally. Later that spring, Dylan offhandedly sent Elliot an email mentioning how well the Michigan community received his piece and expressing just how much we loved the work. The two of them kept in touch. This was around that same time, the four of us started publicly improvising on vibraphone – inspired by Elliot’s intuitive writing and adding our own textural commentary. In the summer of 2013, we performed some of our improvisations at SoSi’s pop-up concert. Elliot was in the crowd – full circle. Since, with community and and collaboration in mind, we’ve performed Hanuman’s Leap with Elliot Cole, we’ve collaborated and continue to collaborate with Andrea Mazzariello, we’re about work with Chris Demetriou, and down the road, we’re collaborating with Kazimier Music aka Bill Delelles. In terms of medium, we approach dancers and visual artists with the same ideology and methodology that we bring to chamber music. And we work to be able to speak one language to both educated and common audiences. Art is art and sound is sound. The Willo Collective is a Midwestern family of creator-performers. Members – percussionists, bass players, electronic artists, vocalists, producers, visual artists, and dancers – collaborate in small groups as individuals as well as collectively, under the masthead. As a tight-knit group of artists, Willoseeks to make the universal personal via collaboratively inclusive work – Art From and For Community.


A few of Dylan’s other projects:

The TUSKS Band We began as a “we want to performed Steve Stavropoulos’ electronic music live” kind of outfit. We quickly evolved into a collaborative, pink and teal, electro-acoustic, tune-writing, we-only-rehearse-in-the-dark, type of band. The best kind of description I can offer about our music is that it comes from all of the caves in which bats roost and silverfish colonize. We’re currently recording an EP and plan to drop an album soon after. TUSKS is Isaac Levine, Steve Stavropoulos, Rebecca Rosen, and Dylan Greene.

YUKON Comprised of two percussionists, a trombonist, and a pianist, the YUKON project is goal oriented towards the ritual and scholarly practice of Chamber music – old and new. Poised to compete in the first University of Michigan Brigg’s Chamber Music competition, the project is preparing for their first full recital at the Kerrytown Concert House in April and plans to record over summer. Currently, they are collaborating with Dominic Coles, a young composer studying at Yale, who they met at the 2013 So Percussion Summer Institute.

Katelyn King

Basically SoSI has really empowered me to connect with others in our community. I am working on a new solo vibe and speaking piece through a consortium I was a part of with Abby Fischer, another alum. And here at McGill I am working with two composers on new pieces for percussion and electronics. I am also working with a sound recording student at McGill to compile an album of rarely performed and recorded percussion works, as well as the new pieces I mentioned. SoSI really pushed me to create my website,, and to put my recordings up online and post about the things I’m doing.

Will Keith

“A group of friends and I have recently started a new music group called “Percussionisms.” Our main focus is to take great music for percussion and bring it out of the concert hall. We play a mix of established composers (Reich, Cage, etc.), new commissions from our friends, and original work from our members. We are stuck on playing pots and pans at the moment, but we will hopefully be acquiring more instruments soon to expand our range. We are still VERY new (we just played our second gig last night!), but we have received a lot of great feedback so far, and are extremely optimistic about the future. Our only online presence at the moment is our facebook page (, but we will hopefully be registering a website very soon.”

Daniel Kozlowski

After SoSI 2013, I was homeless and jobless, living on my friend’s couch just south of Nashville. Fortunately, two of the three guys who lived in that house are percussionists, in addition to being some of my best friends. During that time on the couch, some of my first moves into the Nashville music scene were emails the the Musical Director of Portara Ensemble, a choir in town that tends to program some really wonderful contemporary music, and they do it pretty darn well. I had drawn up some programs in the spring and pitched them to their MD, and the resulting conversations eventually landed a concert on Feb. 22nd (tomorrow as a write this). The program required a percussion quartet, so while I was at dinner with Bryan and Sebastian (who were putting me up) and our good friend Jesse, Prost was born out of necessity. The show with Portara was the first step of many. We’re working with a local artist/pianist Madeleine May to put together a show that involves live painting/sketching as part of a showcase for her artwork; SoSI alum Amy Garapic also reached out to us to help organize a Make Music Nashville day this June, which will possibly include a full performance of Drumming; and, since Nashville has so many incredibly talented songwriters and commercial musicians, our long-term vision is to produce a collaborative album with a local songwriter, giving Nashville’s rock scene a post-classical(?) twist. Or perhaps the other way around. Either way, we’re really looking forward to developing and promoting music of a different kind in this crazy, talented, artistic city. Here’s the link to our FB: — We’re on twitter @prostperc

James McKenzie

Ensemble playing was a big part of my decision to come to Madison; lucky for me, the grad percussion group I’d been excited to play with was transitioning into its own professional ensemble: Clocks in Motion. Now, beyond playing the music we love to play, we all contribute in managing the group ourselves; I got to build our new website and am in charge of many of our technological tools. So far this year we’ve finished recording our first album and premiered the piece that won our first call for scores, and we are now heading off for a week-long residency and our third midwestern tour!

Eric Shuster

Eric Shuster (SoSI ’12) is directing the Salisbury University percussion ensemble for the premiere and recording of Jerry Tabor’s percussion quartet 40-Grit (2013) this spring. Tabor, who studied with Thomas DeLio and is professor of composition at Salisbury University, explores a performer’s limits and challenges the function of time in his music. 40-Grit, which is dedicated to Shuster and the ensemble, will appear in a collection of Tabor’s recent works on Neuma Records, to be available later in 2014. For more information please visit Additionally, Shuster has started a music series called LORD C presents that is devoted to sharing innovative or unfamiliar work by emerging and established artists of various perspectives. For more information please visit

Yumi Tamashiro

The Mobius Percussion Quartet, founded in 2011, has been giving masterclasses at major universities such as Rutgers University, Curtis Institute of Music, and Juilliard School of Music. We have just finished commissioning a new piece by Ross Karre and have been performing with Radical 2, Elliot Cole, and many others. After our video release of ‘What Hath II’ by Australian composer Kate Neal, Mobius will be touring both ‘What Hath II’ and ‘paper melodies (my music box music)’ in the midwest and California in the 2014-15 concert season. 

Kate Neal’s “What Hath II”  

Jessica Tsang and Chris Salvito

Chris and I wanted to share our most recent project with you – we started a chamber group with a colleague of ours in early 2013, and we feel that SoSI really impacted how we present our music (not just because Josh wrote us an amazing piece!). So’s entrepreneurship and artistic thoughtfulness set a high standard for our ambitions, and we’re really grateful to have gotten to work with you guys. Here’s a link to our website:

Nate Tucker

I am the new core percussionist for new music group Juventas in boston and I am going on tour with American Repertory Theater in Las Vegas (starting in 2 weeks!) – which my final part of the audition process was in y’all studio in december when we rented it out! woot woot! Besides that I thought it’d be fun to let you know that I did lecture at Roxbury Community College for their dance department on John Cage which a lot of that material was inspired by YOUR John Cage class in SOSI numero uno. Im hoping to take more advantage of that knowledge with the dance community in years to come.

Clara Warnaar

I’ve been getting a lot more in touch with writing and have written a couple of percussion solos, as well as current chamber and electronic pieces in the making. Anyway, here’s a bit about my most recent and concrete projects: Excelsis, a percussion quartet comprised of four women from four different countries, had its’ debut performance at the New York Weekend of Percussion over a week ago with a fun interpretation of Bobby Previte’s Terminal 4. Upcoming projects include a full performance in the spring and a composer’s contest which will result in the publication and premiere concert of the winners’ pieces in the fall. More information to come! Website: 






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