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ISU Percussion Ensemble Concert

Author: rxrivera | Image: rxrivera

The Iowa State University Percussion Ensemble will perform a free public concert on Sunday, November 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Martha Ellen-Tye Recital Hall. The concert will feature seven extremely musical and physically demanding works for the performers which focus on the themes of Greek mythology, war, nostalgia, geometry, and mathematics.

Chad Heiny’s Hydra is a wild and aggressive piece meant to represent the serpentine-like beast of the same name. The mythology surrounding the monster tells that when one of its heads was cut off, another two heads would regenerate. Thus, there are rhythmic references to the number 2 found throughout the work.

Two works will feature a recent graduate of the Music Department, Harris Rogerson (BM Music Performance ‘22), as a guest soloist with the ensemble.  He will perform Andy Akiho’s Stop Speaking for solo snare drum and digital playback, a piece which was commissioned by Tom Sherwood for the 2011 Modern Snare Drum Competition hosted by the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra.  Harris will also be featured on Rodrigo and Gabriela’s Tamacun, arranged for marimba and cajon quartet by The Wave Quartet.

Other works in the concert program include Innerludes, by Dave Hall, a multi-movement work for struck and bowed vibraphones and melodicas. This piece takes inspiration from digital vocal processors like vocoders, harmonizers, and digitized vocal harmony, recreated by acoustic percussion instruments. Fractalia, by Owen Clayton Condon, was written for the Grammy Award winning percussion quartet Third Coast Percussion.  The piece is a sonic celebration of fractals, geometric shapes whose parts are each a reduced-size copy of the whole (derived from the Latin fractus, meaning “broken”). Mark Ford’s Coffee Break will be a fun caffeine-fueled piece for coffee cups, a table, and chairs.  It’s a part theater and part music piece that demonstrates music is everywhere, and of course coffee has rhythm!

Caleb Pickering’s Dreadnought will close the concert, featuring a large arsenal of both mallet-keyboard and battery percussion instruments.  The work’s title refers to the unstoppable “Dreadnought” model battleship that dominated naval combat in the early 20th century by the Royal Navy.  This semi-programmatic work depicts various imagery of a Dreadnought ship moving through the Pacific Ocean and engaging in combat with various ships.

The Iowa State University Percussion Ensemble (, conducted by Jonathan Sharp (, is internationally recognized for its excellence and is dedicated to furthering percussion education and performance by exploring the full stylistic and sonic breadth available through chamber music. For more information on the ISU Percussion Ensemble, contact Jonathan Sharp, Associate Professor of Music at Iowa State University;

The ISU Percussion Ensemble is one of several ensembles housed at Iowa State University’s Department of Music and Theatre ( The Department of Music and Theatre offers a strong undergraduate music and theatre program, where students study with full-time faculty professionals in a supportive environment that encourages students to become their best.