Youngstown State University Percussion Ensemble
Youngstown Percussion Collective
Forms Of Things Unknown
Dr. David Morgan
Dr. Glenn Schaft – director, Edward Davis – assistant director
17 February 2012
Ohio Music Education Association Professional Conference,
Columbus Convention Center, Columbus, OH
Room CC 120, 2:45PM
Forms Of Things Unknown (2011)
1. Airy Nothing
2. Do I Dare Eat A Peach?
5. Better Angels
6. The Flow
7. Bindu To Ogis
9. Unknown Unknowns
12. The Only Dance
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 and 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.” YPC member Jeff Farber concurs, “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 is a 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 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
Sarah Sexton-Belz, Mineral Ridge, OH
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
Robert Young, Austintown, OH
Eric Zalenski, Bloomingdale, OH
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.
About YSU Percussion Studies Program <www.ysu.edu/percussion> includes fifteen majors enrolled in various undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Part of a thriving urban research university, our mission is to foster a community of musicians/scholars that respect cultural and musical versatility and to facilitate a foundation of life-long self-directed learning, musicianship skills, instrumental technique, repertoire, and technological literacy in performance and pedagogy. The success of our myriad alumni is a testament to this mission.
Our curriculum includes private and small group lessons, studio class, Percussion Ensemble, and myriad guest artists. Students may choose a total percussion experience or individualize their curricula via specialization in orchestral percussion, drum set, jazz vibraphone, keyboard percussion, multiple percussion, contemporary chamber music, world percussion, and composition. Additional professional opportunities are available in the Youngstown Percussion Collective K-12 School Outreach Program Touring Ensemble, the SMARTS Drum Circle Facilitation Program, and as an accompanist in the YSU Dance Department.
Another dimension of our program is the Youngstown Percussion Collective. YPC 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. YPC also offers a multi-cultural educational outreach program entitled "Rhythm Is Our Business" which is available for K-12 school assemblies and tours throughout Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. Our objective is to inspire young audiences and help them understand the experience of rhythm as movement, music as a communal activity, and the beauty, simplicity, and appeal of percussion instruments from around the world. We offer K-8 and high school programs; each includes performance, audience participation, discussion of the instruments, and question/answer opportunities. These may be tailored to the entire student body or exclusively music students.
Glenn and the YSU Percussion Studio are proud to be sponsored by Zildjian, Remo, ProMark, Black Swamp, and Dynasty.
The YSU Percussion Ensemble is one of the premiere chamber ensembles at the Dana School of Music. Recent accomplishments include the critically acclaimed release of the compact disc Dark Wood and the commissioning, New York City world premiere performance and subsequent recording of John Hollenbeck’s Ziggurat released on the disc Rainbow Jimmies available at <www.cdbaby.com>
•Credits and thanks:
•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.
•We are all grateful to Dave Morgan for the great music!