So What?

Ivy-league quartet makes music on fine china. That's what.

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Running water, teacups, and toy pianos get a workout tonight from the tonal experiments of So Percussion during their concert for the Cleveland Museum of Art's VIVA! & Gala Around Town musical series. The modern-music band uses everyday objects as if they're orchestral playthings. "Their performance is at once free-form and extremely precise. They create the illusion of having a wild time, even though the compositions are rigorously scored," says Tom Welsh, the museum's associate music director. "It's not what you'd expect at a classical concert. It's like looking at the future of music."Since the foursome met at Yale in 2000, they've collaborated with Björk producers M.C. Schmidt and Drew Daniel of Matmos, minimalist composer Steve Reich, and Bang on a Can founder David Lang. "We all share eclectic musical tastes," says percussionist Adam Sliwinski. "We worked on chamber music in a basement. It was sorta like, 'Lemme come to your studio and see what makes cool sounds.' And it's still the same thing to this day. Sometimes it's about an abstract idea; sometimes it's about a particular instrument."Tonight's program includes pieces by Reich and Paul Lansky as well as compositions from their debut CD, Amid the Noise. "They are clearly breaking down the walls," says Welsh. "Is it percussion? Electronica? Drift music?" Sliwinski doesn't care what you call it. "I would like for the audience to have had an experience," he says. "More often than not, they haven't seen or heard this before. I hope they share our enthusiasm."So Percussion bangs away at 7:30 tonight in Murch Auditorium at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, 1 Wade Oval Drive in Cleveland. Tickets are $28 to $30. For more information, call 216-421-7350 or visit
Fri., Nov. 9, 7:30 p.m., 2007
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