What We Do

We play and perform music especially designed for percussion ensembles: from the standard literature, special arrangements for the group, and original music by ensemble members, student composers and by the conductor. We normally have three concerts a year --- in December, February and early May. When opportunities arise we also perform at special events. Some of these have included an all-SUNY Music Festival at SUNY-Purchase, a P.A.S. sponsored Day of Percussion held at Schenectady County Community College, school outreach programs at several area elementary and high schools, and the Frozen Four (NCAA Final Four Hockey Championships) at the Pepsi Arena in downtown Albany.

We frequently combine with other UAlbany groups, as well as other area percussion ensembles, to perform combined works or to share a program. The Festival of Contemporary Music has become a 10-year tradition on campus performed jointly by the University Percussion Ensemble and the Empire State Youth Percussion Ensemble.

The music we play is as diverse as the skills of our membership: Guatemalan marimba music and xylophone rags, music for drum sets, abstract music utilizing exotic instruments such as brake drums, thunder sheets, flower pots and the like, theater pieces involving stage movement and acting, orchestral-style works using the full range of percussion sounds, improvisational pieces, loud "drummy" pieces as well as soft delicate works, even a touch of African and Latin drumming.

We also provide an outlet for student composers (including our ensemble members) who have a yen to write music for this genre. Over the years we have premiered more than a dozen works of this type.

In summary A Mus 182 is a performance course. While not designed as a "how to play the drums" course for beginners, we often incorporate interested people of rudimentary skills and limited experience into the ensemble and over the course of the year through our practices, coaching help and performances, help them to improve those skills and become better players. We also have a lot of fun doing it.

All pictures and disigns by Adam Stoddard All text author by Richard Albagli

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