Percussion Life at SMF




During the 2020 pandemic shutdown, four festival percussionists link up via video conference to recollect moments from recent seasons of performance. They discuss favorite moments and works, as well as the ways in which percussion music has become a vital factor in SMF's distinctive programming. Brian Smith hosts the session, speaking with I-Jen Fang, Eric Guinivan, and Casey Cangelosi.






Casey Cangelosi is commonly hosted world-wide by educational institutions, music festivals, and educational seminars. Casey has been a visiting guest artist in Italy, Germany, Costa Rica, Mexico, Argentina, Croatia, Sweden, Taiwan, and widely across the U.S. at events including the The Midwest Clinic and PASIC Showcase Concerts. Casey is a regularly commissioned composer called the "Paganini of Percussion" and "The voice of a new generation". Casey holds music degrees from Rice University, The Boston Conservatory, and Utah State University. Casey is endorsed by Majestic, Mapex, Innovative Percussion, Zildjian, Grover Pro Percussion, Remo, and Beiner Bags.



I-Jen Fang joined the faculty of the University of Virginia in 2005 and as the Principal Timpanist and Percussionist of the Charlottesville Symphony.   She received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, MM from Northwestern University and DMA degree from the University of North Texas.  I-Jen has performed or recorded with artists such as Keiko Abe, William Cahn, Christopher Deane, Mark Ford, Mike Mainieri, Attacca Percussion Group, and Da Capo Chamber Players.  She has performed as marimba soloist in Taiwan, U.S., Austria, France, Hungary, Romania, and South Africa and appeared as a featured performer at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. I-Jen Fang is an Innovative Percussion Artist.



Eric Guinivan’s music has been performed across the United States, Europe, and Asia and has received notable honors from Chamber Music America, the Theodore Presser Foundation, Meet the Composer, and the Fromm Foundation at Harvard University.  Eric has received commissions from the New York Youth Symphony, ASCAP, the Society of Composers Inc., and the Lotte Lehmann Foundation, among others.  A Grammy-nominated percussionist, Eric was a founding member of the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet and has performed as soloist with numerous orchestras. Eric holds degrees from USC and Indiana University and currently serves as Assistant Professor of Composition at James Madison University.



Praised for his feline-like grace as a percussionist, Brian Smith delivers “committed and energetic” performances with a versatile repertoire that includes historical, contemporary, and experimental musical practices.  As a co-founder of ScreenPlay, he pursues a deep interest in experimental musical practices and improvisation through audio-visual works that utilize animated notational schemes. Brian has performed with ensembles throughout the U.S. and Europe, appearing in Amsterdam's Concertgebouw and the Berlin Philharmonie. He plays period timpani and percussion with the Staunton Music Festival, and his ethnographic interests include West African drumming and dance from Ghana, Togo, and Benin.





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VIDEO PERFORMANCE: George Crumb's Night Music I

The works of avant-garde American composer George Crumb have been a fixture at SMF for many seasons.  In 2019 soprano Molly Netter and the SMF percussion players undertook the evocative Night Music I, featuring texts by Federico Garcia Lorca.  Includes translations and program notes.



PERFORMANCE: Guinivan's Celestial Canons (world premiere)

For the 2016 festival, composer-in-residence Eric Guinivan created a brilliant three movement set of canons for percussion trio, inspired by celestial objects. This performance by Guinivan, Casey Cangelosi, and Michael Overman captures the world premiere.




VIDEO PERFORMANCE: Lou Harrison's Fugue for Percussion

American composer Lou Harrison wrote his Fugue for Percussion in 1941, making use of both traditional and non-traditional instruments. He creatively structures this fugue around contrasting timbres and types of percussion instruments.  Includes program notes.




ANALYSIS: Eric Guinivan on Harrison's Fugue for Percussion

Composer and percussionist Eric Guinivan was involved in the 2019 performance of Harrison's Fugue for percussion. In this video Eric offers a thorough analysis, using performance footage and graphics, of how fugue operates in this complex and intriguing work.




VIDEO PERFORMANCE: Bartok's Sonata for Pianos and Percussion

Bartok's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion is one of the most intriguing works of the 20th century. Pianists Heini Kärkkäinen and Carsten Schmidt join percussionists I-Jen Fang and Brian Smith in this 2014 performance.




VIDEO PERFORMANCE: Matthew Burtner's Syntax of Snow (world premiere)

Matthew Burtner, composer at the University of Virginia, is a pioneer in eco-acoustics, using sounds and inspiration from nature to build eclectic, poetic works of art. This video captures the world premiere of Burtner's Syntax of Snow, featuring I-Jen Fang and Brian Smith.




VIDEO ENCORE: James Tenney's Crystal Canon (original performance)

Despite the inability to perform in the same space, four percussionists gather virtually to perform Tenney's Crystal Canon for four snare drums. Recorded in May 2020 by I-Jen Fang, Brian Smith, Casey Cangelosi, and Eric Guinivan.