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A GUN SHOW - Sō Percussion

Photo by Buddy Lafever

It seems that almost every hot-button issue in our society - race, economic inequality, constitutional rights - intersects with how we view these small machines.  They represent a practical tool to some, but a public health menace to others.  What is it about the American psyche that fastens so tightly to guns?

A Gun Show is an exploration of these issues through music, text, and movement.  Percussion instruments have been used for centuries to presage war and conflict, and we won't shy away from that.  But behind each gun is a person, a cause, a reason or no reason at all.

This show will not pretend to resolve any of these issues, nor is it specifically a political work (although our collective position won't be hard to discern).  It will be murky, massive, tenderhearted, and brave.

We are joined for the second time by collaborators Ain Gordon (director) and Emily Johnson to help us sort it all out.

Eric Beach, Josh Quillen, Adam Sliwinski, and Jason Treuting


For more than 15 years, So Percussion has redefined the modern percussion ensemble as a flexible, omnivorous entity, pushing its voice to the forefront of American musical culture.  Praised by the New Yorker for their “exhilarating blend of precision and anarchy, rigor and bedlam,” their activities range from commissioning new works by notable composers (Steve Reich, David Lang, Steve Mackey), to their own music, to creative collaborations with many different types of artists.  They have been featured at many of the major venues in the United States, including Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center.  As a group, their educational programs include a new appointment as performers-in-residence at Princeton University, a percussion department at the Bard Conservatory of Music, and the annual So Percussion Summer Institute at Princeton University.  So Percussion has released 16 albums on the Cantaloupe, Nonesuch, Thrill Jockey, and Greenleaf labels.  

Emily Johnson is an artist who makes body-based work that considers the experience of sensing and seeing performance. Originally from Alaska and currently based in Minneapolis, her dances function as installations, engaging audiences within and through a space and environment—interacting with a place's architecture, history, and role in community. Emily and her collaborators received a 2012 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for Outstanding Performance for her work, The Thank-you Bar, at New York Live Arts. Her recent work, Niicugni, finished its ten city US tour in 2013. Emily received a 2014 Doris Duke Artist Award and her work is currently supported by Creative Capital, Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, Map Fund, a Joyce Award, the McKnight Foundation, and The Doris Duke Residency to Build Demand for the Arts. Emily is a current Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota, a 2014 Fellow at the Robert Rauschenberg Residency, a 2012 Headlands Center for the Arts and MacDowell Artist in Residence, a Native Arts and Cultures Fellow (2011), a MANCC Choreographer Fellow (2009/2010/2012/2014), a MAP Fund Grant recipient (2009/2010/2012/2013), and McKnight Fellow (2009). In 2015 Emily will be an Artist in Residence at Williams College. 

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