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OSU School of Music to get down with drum performance

Courtesy of Nick Fancher

The Ohio State School of Music will present Drums Downtown IX, featuring the music of Steve Reich, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Riffe Center’s Capitol Theatre.

The annual event will be highlighting students selected from the OSU Percussion Ensemble, choreographers and performers from the OSU Department of Dance, and instrumentalists and vocalists from the OSU School of Music. There are more than 35 musicians and 50 dancers participating in the program.

The program this year will feature the music of Pulitzer Prize-winning guest composer-in-residence Steve Reich. The program will present 40 years of Reich’s work, and will also feature a full performance of his work, “Drumming.” Reich will be in attendance.

Joseph Krygier, artistic director for Drums Downtown, said the performance is for everyone, not just those who enjoy classical music.

“It’s not an ordinary classical music concert,” Krygier said. “It’s very interactive. There are lots of visuals and the elements of dance, so that all of the senses are engaged, except for smell.”

The first half of the program will include performances from other departments in the School of Music, including strings, woodwinds and piano. The second half will feature “Drumming.”

“It sounds daunting, but it’s broken into four parts. But it literally goes from one part to the next, straight,” Krygier said.

Russell Hartenberger, one of Reich’s original band members, taught the students the piece. The piece was taught with no sheet music, which is the way Reich originally taught it to his ensemble. The performers will not have sheet music when they perform.

Krygier said the audience for this show has been growing each year.

“It’s not just OSU students and faculty, although they do make up a large portion of the audience, but it’s now a community event,” he said.

Susan Powell, also an artistic director for the event, said the show gains attention by word of mouth.

“Somebody says to me every single year, ‘I’m coming back next year and I am bringing 10 friends,'” Powell said. “That’s why the audience numbers go up every year and it isn’t just exclusive to OSU students.”

Powell said her favorite aspect of the performance is the collaboration between departments.

“We get to bring together faculty and students from the Dance department and the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design, and we’ve worked with art before,” Powell said. “These are students that wouldn’t necessarily have had the opportunity to work together previously. It’s cool as a teacher to see relationships be forged and projects that are formed as a result of students meeting as a part of this event.”

A pre-concert discussion with Hartenberger begins both evenings at 7:15 p.m.

Student tickets are available for $5 through the D-Tix program at the Ohio Union.

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