Youngstown State University Percussion Ensemble
Youngstown Percussion Collective
Forms Of Things Unknown
Dr. David Morgan
Dr. Glenn Schaft – director, Edward Davis – assistant director
29 February 2012
Butler Institute of American Art
Music At Noon Series
Selections from - Forms Of Things Unknown (2011)
Do I Dare Eat A Peach?
And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name.
Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 5, Scene 1
Forms of Things Unknown is a concert-length piece for fifteen percussionists. The piece is in a circular form that reflects the cycles of time and the earth. Each movement flows into the next via textual interludes. The percussion writing reflects my contemplation of the artistic possibilities inherent within various dichotomies, including pitched and “non-pitched” percussion, strict notation and improvisation, metal and wood, sticks and hands, harmony/melody and rhythm, loud and soft, tradition and innovation, cerebral and visceral, and space and time.”
A wide variety of music and artists are reflected and referenced in the piece, including ritual music of Northern Brazil, the Congo, and Egypt; global percussionists including Glen Velez and Nana Vasconcelos; jazz vibraphone artists such as Dave Samuels, David Friedman, Gary Burton, and Mike Manieri; the Minimalism of Terry Riley and Steve Reich; and seminal percussion works by Western composers including Iannis Xenakis, John Cage, and Toru Takemitsu.
The piece was commissioned by the Youngstown Percussion Collective, a YSU student organization. YPC past-president, Bob Young said “This project has challenged our musical minds as well as brought the members closer together in search of a common goal. The world premiere should be an exciting event.” YPC member Jeff Farber concurs, “This piece will definitely challenge our abilities. But, moreover, I see it opening our world-view (because of the many different cultures the music draws from) and opening our imaginations on how to use sound, motion, and theatrics to create a truly captivating performance.”
Dr. Glenn Schaft says “This project provides our students the rare opportunity to participated in an entire artistic creation project from its very conception, through planning, fundraising, performance, recording a compact disc, mixing and mastering the recording, and distributing the music worldwide, all the while working on a daily basis in meetings and rehearsals with a world-class composer in David Morgan, who just happens to be a faculty colleague at the Dana School of Music. Our students are fortunate to have the opportunity to present a great piece of music to the world and this experience will enrich their lives for many years to come.”
Morgan agrees, saying “the best thing about this project from my perspective is the opportunity to work closely with Glenn and the percussion students throughout the process of taking a project from its initial conception to performance.”
Notes by D. Morgan and G. Schaft
Keith Born, Bethel Park, PA
Ed Davis, Poland, OH
Evan Gottschalk, East Palestine, OH
Matthew Hayes, Coshocton, OH
Dylan Kollat, North Jackson, OH
Roger Lewis, Youngstown, OH
Dustin May, Westerville, OH
Moriah Placer, Warren, OH
Nick Sainato, Boardman, OH
Jeff Farber, Boardman, OH
Troy Schaltenbrand, Allison Park, PA
Megan Seivert, Miamisburg, OH
Eric Zalenski, Bloomingdale, OH
Optional info follows:
About Dave Morgan
Dave Morgan is a jazz bassist and composer who has performed with a wide variety of artists, including Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Lovano, Arturo Sandoval, Cedar Walton,
James Moody, Benny Golson, Larry Coryell, Mose Allison, Jim McNeely, Bob Brookmeyer, and The Cleveland Orchestra. His latest recording “The Way of the Sly
Man” is inspired by the ideas of the Greek-Armenian mystic G.I. Gurdjieff. The recording, featuring Jamey Haddad, Dan Wall, Jack Schantz, Howie Smith, and many
other fine musicians, was made possible by grants from Chamber Music America, the Doris Duke Charitable Trust, and the Bascom-Little Fund. Morgan also composed the music for CD The Surprise of Being—Live at Birdland by the Cleveland Jazz Orchestra featuring Joe Lovano. A concert by the Tri-C JazzFest by the Jazz Unit featuring Ernie Watts of Morgan’s transcriptions and arrangements of the music of Frank Zappa earned an Award of Achievement from Northern Ohio Live. The American Wind Symphony Orchestra has commissioned several original compositions and arrangements, including “The Art of Seven” (2008). The
Polish Philharmonic Orchestra recently recorded “Reflections and Meditations,” which will be released on Centaur Records in Fall 2012. His compositions “Romance
for Flute and Strings” and “Three Vignettes” for Alto Saxophone and Orchestra are also available on Centaur Records. More information is available on his website,
davemorgan.com. Morgan is Associate Professor of Jazz Studies and Double Bass at Youngstown State University.
About Glenn Schaft
Dr. Glenn Schaft is Associate Professor and Director of Percussion Studies at Youngstown State University where he has served since 1996. He directs the YSU Percussion Ensemble, teaches private and group lessons, performs with the Faculty Jazz Group, serves as faculty advisor for the Youngstown Percussion Collective, and is founder of the SMARTS RHYTHMS Drum Circle Educational Outreach Program. His performance and teaching credits include over thirty-three years of experience in classical, contemporary, world, jazz/improvised, and popular music. He is an educational artist endorser with Zildjian, ProMark, Remo, and Black Swamp Percussion. He has performed and presented clinics throughout the United States and China. He is a member of the Percussive Arts Society where he serves on the College Pedagogy and Drumset Educators Committee's.
Youngstown Percussion Collective is a university sponsored non-profit student organization whose mission is to advance the percussive arts through performance, composition, commissions, educational outreach, research, and fundraising. Membership is open to YSU students, alumni, and faculty. Glenn Schaft serves as the YPC faculty advisor. YPC collaborates with the percussion faculty and alumni as an "ensemble in-residence" at YSU presenting on-campus performances and touring. The Touring Ensemble offers a multi-cultural educational outreach program, World Percussion Program, for K-12 school assemblies residencies, and public performances.
YPC was co-founded in the late 1990's by studio members Ron Coulter, Nathan Douds, and Craig Hill as the Percussion Art Ensemble and several years later changed their name to the Youngstown Percussion Collective - a collaborative initiative between studio members and the percussion faculty.
YPC performed at the 2003 Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Louisville, Kentucky where they collaborated with Cleveland area percussionists and the Dance Theater Collective of Cleveland to present a feature concert of the percussion and dance music of Lou Harrison.
In 2005-06, YPC raised thousands of dollars through YSU student government, donations, advertisements, and sponsorships, to host the 2006 Percussive Arts Society Ohio Chapter Day of Percussion, which attracted hundreds of attendees. This event included a percussion retail expo, clinics, performances by university and high school percussion ensembles, and guest artists such as Michael Burritt, John Riley, Michael Rosen, Ruben Alvarez, Tom Freer, and Mike McIntosh.
In 2005 YPC commissioned, premiered, and recorded composer Till Meyn's work Groovelocity which was released on Dark Wood and has received critical acclaim.
In 2007 YPC commissioned a new work for five percussion and four saxophones by percussionist/composer John Hollenbeck, entitled Ziggurat(exterior). YPC performed the world premiere at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City in October 2007, the Youngstown premiere at the DeYor Center for the Performing Arts in October 2007, and their recording of the work was released on the 2008 John Hollenbeck disc, Rainbow Jimmies and has received critical acclaim.
•Glenn and the YPC wish to thank:
•Dr. Michael Crist (chair) and Dr. Bryan DePoy (dean) for your support on behalf of the Dana School of Music and the College of Fine and Performing Arts throughout this project.
•Dr. Stephen Gage (director of bands) for your support.
•Lori Factor, Anna Ruscutti, Michele Lepore-Hagen for your assistance with the programs.
•Dr. J. Paul Louth (music education) and the YSU-OCMEA students for you assistance with our programs and the Dana exhibit.
•Thanks to OMEA, especially Gary DeVault, Jared Plasterer, and Roger Hall for you support.
•Our percussion corporate sponsors - Zildjian, Remo, ProMark, Black Swamp, and Dynasty.
•Thanks to my students for all your dedication and hard work!
•Most of all…we are all grateful Dave Morgan for the great music!