Arts & Culture

Percussion Concert Features Distinguished UK Alumni

photo of UK Percussion Ensemble outside Student Center
photo of UK Percussion Group March 7 concert poster

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 4, 2019) The University of Kentucky Percussion Group (UKPG) will perform a free public concert 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 7, at the Singletary Center for the Arts Recital Hall. The concert will feature members of the current Percussion Studio as well as five distinguished alumni who are returning to campus to perform alongside them.

Kyle Forsthoff is currently the artist/teacher of percussion at the University of Rhode Island and is an instructor at The Rhody Center for World Music and Dance. Previously, he has held positions at Rhode Island College, UK, Morehead State University and Capital University. Forsthoff is an active scholar and performer of Irish traditional music and other frame drum traditions, and has performed and taught throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia.

Forsthoff will perform “Karagadamu” for Irish bodhrán soloist and percussion trio. The word “karagadamu” comes from the South Indian dialect of Telugu, and means among other things “fusion.” This piece is exactly that, a fusion of the Irish bodhrán with the musical traditions of South India, specifically konnakol.

Founded in 2015, blueSHIFT Percussion is dedicated to the performance of modern works for percussion and engaging new audiences with thrilling performances. In astronomy, a “blueshift” is defined as a shift towards shorter wavelengths of the spectral lines of a celestial object, tracking the movement from the object as it grows ever closer to the observer. Inspired by the audible physics of percussion, the mission of blueSHIFT is to connect with audiences through chamber percussion music and to create authentic relationships with percussion composers.

In a more literal sense, blueSHIFT is an homage to the UK percussion program, where all members have been doctoral students under the direction of Professor James Campbell. The ensemble includes alumni Matthew Geiger (East Tennessee State University), Chris Butler (Southern Illinois University), Francisco Perez (Lamar University) and Jeremy Maytum (University of Maryland). They will perform a new work alone as well as a collaborative work with the current Percussion Studio.

The UK Percussion Group, directed by James Campbell, is a chamber group that performs cutting-edge percussion literature written for smaller forces than the standard percussion ensemble. The repertoire demands unflinching intensity of concentration, sustained, vigorous athleticism and, at times, the quiet intensity and slow balance of martial arts. Although a UKPG concert is visually and sonically dramatic, it is not so much theater as it is ritual — performers in search of a shared experience.

For more information on the UK Percussion Studio events, contact James Campbell, director of Percussion Studies at UK School of Music, at 859-257-8187.

UKPG is one of several ensembles housed at the School of Music in the UK College of Fine Arts. Currently celebrating its 100th anniversary, the school has garnered national recognition for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, music therapy, composition, theory and music history.

UK is the University for Kentucky. At UK, we are educating more students, treating more patients with complex illnesses and conducting more research and service than at any time in our 150-year history. To read more about the UK story and how you can support continued investment in your university and the Commonwealth, go to: #uk4ky #seeblue