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Music review: SFCMP explores Barrière’s multimedia approach to musical modernism

The Examiner -October 25, 2015

The opening was Steve Schick’s performance of Saariaho’s 1994 Six Japanese gardens collection. For the conclusion Nick Woodbury performed Barrière’s 2001 “Time Dusts.”

"... Both of these pieces demanded virtuoso technique on the part of the soloists, most likely reinforced through a keen sense of muscle memory. “Time Dusts,”... was performed as an extended study in a wide breadth of sonorities with both extreme and subtle differentiating factors. ...a compelling spatial experience, which often appeared to involve nuanced exchanges between performer and synthesized content."

Music review: Kaija Saariaho’s Music of Color and Density

San Francisco Classical Voice -October 27, 2015

"... Barrière’s visuals for both Six Japanese Gardens and Saariaho’s solo flute piece NoaNoa (masterfully performed by Tod Brody) involve multiple layers of observation: we watch the performer, we watch the cameraperson film him, we watch the resultant film. Observation is a recurring theme in Barrière’s work. His own compositions on Saturday’s program, Violance and Time Dust, are part of his Reality Checks cycle, which explores questions of identity and representation in the digital age through the staging of interactive projects based on confronting the spectator and/or performer with his own reflection. Compellingly performed by violinist Hrabba Atladottir and percussionist Nick Woodbury, the two works were at times mesmerizing..."

Music review: A winning performance of Steve Reich’s 'Drumming’

SF Gate - February 1, 2015

A collaboration between students of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the SF Contemporary Music Players

"... a 75-minute rendition that was simultaneously reflective and urgent, and that gave due weight to both the hypnotic rhythmic patterning and the wondrous variety of Reich’s score."

New music review

SF Gate - January 26, 2015

2 premieres and the work of an old master

"Sunday’s invigorating concert by the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, presented by Cal Performances in Berkeley’s Hertz Hall, was the latest installment of Project TenFourteen, the group’s year-long commissioning program."

A New Festival for New Music

The Wall St. Journal - January 20, 2015

New Music Gathering 2015 featured performances by musical mavericks at an enterprising conference.

"Ryan Carter, of Headless Monkey Attack, explained the computer code he used for “Latency in the System,” a vivid, driven score for electronics and drums, with a performance included."

San Francisco Contemporary Music Players

Sequenza 21/ The Contemporary Classical Music Community - December 1, 2014

Project TenFourteen

"George Crumb is an obviously gifted and highly regarded composer whose place in music history seems secure today, and his SFCMP’s commissions “Yesteryear “ ( 2013 )... compact and mysterious with sudden eruptions of violence ..."

New music in Berkeley: Leaping into unexpected realms

Berkeleyside - November 13, 2014

SFCMP launch Project TenFourteen at Hertz Hall

"The program’s defining presence is 85-year-old éminence grise George Crumb, who’s represented by three works, including two premieres. The latest of his many settings of poetry by Federico García Lorca, “The Yellow Moon of Andalusia” features mezzo soprano Tony Arnold, Kate Campbell on amplified piano, and percussionists William Winant and Nick Woodbury, while “Yesteryear” is a radically reworked piece for Arnold and pianist Kate Campbell."

San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco – review

Financial Times November 15, 2013

A gripping performance of Michael Gordon’s percussion piece played on planks of lumber

"The slowly changing rhythms provide a measure of interest, yet the resonances of these struck planks and the overtones create a rich sonic atmosphere that metallophones never could have provided. You find yourself alternately lulled and mesmerised. Considering that Schick and his five cohorts do not perform as an ensemble very often, their teamwork was admirable in all respects."

Always Growing, and Open to Change

NY Times June 20, 2013

Make Music New York’s Main Act Is Cardew’s ‘Great Learning’

“The Great Learning,” set to a text by Confucius about individual discipline and good governance, lasts about eight hours. On Friday each of its seven sections, called Paragraphs, will be performed at a different site in Lower Manhattan. The piece is led by Mantra Percussion and brings together dozens of amateur and professional instrumentalists, singers, members of the Shakedown Dance Collective, and — where possible — audience members willing to take part.


Bang Theory

The New Yorker January 7, 2013

New pieces from David Lang and Michael Gordon

"The performers at BAM were members of Mantra Percussion - young dudes in dark T-shirts who favored a heavier, more bass-oriented sound. The really uncanny thing about this piece is that neither the composer nor the performers have full control over the pitches in play. Although the structure never varies, what you hear on any given night depends on what materials the players choose, how the sounds reverberate in the room, how the wood changes under pressure, and other factors that only a physicist could explain."


Mantra at Lowe's Hardware Store: NPR Music Field Recordings

NPR Music January 19, 2012

Post-Minimalist Percussion In Aisle 12

There's something primeval about guys banging on wood. But the New York percussion group Mantra takes such primitive pounding to a surprisingly refined level. For composer Michael Gordon's mesmerizing new work — Timber, written for six two-by-fours — Mantra set up a public performance of the piece in the lumber department of a big-box hardware store in Alexandria, Va. Who knew 60 inches of processed pine could sound so good?


Painters and Musicians, Improvising Simultaneously

NY Times April 23, 2011

Spotlight Southhampton

"Herb Deutsch, who co-founded the Alliance with Marga Richter in 1972, called the event “exciting” because a focus on percussion, which can be integral in any number of musical styles, allows for a varied program. In addition to performing pieces by him and Ms. Richter, the Sinopia Quartet — two pianists and two percussionists — will also play works by Julie Mandel, Alexander Nohai-Seaman and George Cork Maul. And while the event is mainly a concert, during intermission and after the show there is likely to be lively discussion with the composers."