"Plugged In" is the title of the concert to be presented on April 30 by CrossTalk, the Univeristy of Arizona's electronic percussion group, under the direction of Norman Weinberg. The performance begins at 7:30 in Crowder Hall.
CrossTalk is the first totally electronic percussion ensemble in the world. Playing DrumKATs, MalletKATs, TrapKATs, Zendrums, HandSonic, iPads, and custom-designed electronic percussion systems, this eight-member group is shredding the envelope of electronic percussion. Thirteen percussion controllers are used to create a truly eclectic mix of musical sounds. CrossTalk does not play traditional percussion ensemble literature electronically. Instead, the philosophy of the ensemble is to create and perform new works and offer unique musical opportunities and experiences to its members and their audience. In fact, you’ve never heard anything like this before!
CrossTalk is the perfect model of student-centered leaning and research. Along with the faculty director, Dr. Norman Weinberg, students ranging from freshman to DMA candidates work together with the very latest digital music hardware and software. Students are responsible for programming both their MIDI controllers and the sound modules that create the music. Students are encouraged to constantly “look outside the box” to create and compose.
CrossTalk will be performing a variety of works at this concert. Some compositions, like “Thinkin’ About Somethin” by the group Hanson, and “Modul 52” by jazz pianist, Nik Bartsch, were arranged exclusively for this group. Other compositions, such as Eric Bikales’ composition "Fast Speed", and “Borg Code” by Grant Collins, were commissioned by CrossTalk specifically for the group’s unique instruments and sounds. And speaking of sounds, CrossTalk can create any sound imaginable—from the most perfect re-creation of acoustic instruments, to sounds that can only be produced in the digital realm.
The group will also be featuring our special guest artist, John Emrich. John is a world-class percussionist who is also a specialist in electronic percussion performance and “Zendrum” virtuoso. The Zendrum has redefined the “finger drumming” school of percussion playing, and John is the “Godfather” of this style. He’ll be playing the Zendrum along with CrossTalk and will be featured on a solo performance.
One special piece on the program, “De/Con Struction," composed by Colin Malloy, was the winner of the 2014 James P. and Shirley J. O’Brien Endowment Composition Competition. This was a world-wide competition to combine the forces of CrossTalk with the University’s top steel band, UA Steel. This is the first time that CrossTalk and UA Steel will come together for a performance of a single piece. This world premier performance is sure to be something special.
Other works on the program include “Hadrian’s Wall” by CrossTalk’s director, Norman Weinberg. He describes the piece as an experiment in musical density with a number of contrasting parts and timbres creating the “bricks” of the wall. A new piece, composed by the students of CrossTalk, will start the concert off with a special surprise.
CrossTalk’s concerts are always an exciting experience. You won’t want to miss this one!