The Well-Tempered Ear

Classical music: Percussion group Clocks in Motion will explore the music of American composer Steve Reich in two concerts, both this Saturday at the Overture Center. | November 6, 2014

ALERT: This week’s FREE Friday Noon Musicale, to be held from 12:15 to 1 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, 900 University Bay Drive, features violinists Shannon Farley, Wes Luke and Hannah Muehlbauer with pianist Gregg Punswick in two favorite Baroque works for multiple violins: the Concerto for Three Violins by Antonio Vivaldi and the Double Concerto for Two Violins in D minor by Johann Sebastian Bach.


By Jacob Stockinger

This coming Saturday, the Madison-based group Clocks in Motion (below) will present “PATTERN RECOGNITION” -– a festival of contemporary American composer Steve Reich -– in two programs to be held in the Promenade Hall of the Overture Center for the Arts.

Clocks collage 2014

The concerts are on Saturday at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Tickets are $22 for single concerts, or $39 for a two-concert festival pass. Student rush tickets for each concert are also available for $12.

Here are details from a press release:

Clocks in Motion, Madison’s premier contemporary percussion ensemble, will present two concerts of music by innovative composer Steve Reich. Known as a pioneer of minimalist composition, Reich and his lush works have captivated audiences since the 1960s.

Clocks in Motion welcomes stellar guest artists to collaborate on the festival and celebrate an American composer who changed the landscape of modern music.

The 1 p.m. program features Reich’s 80-minute masterpiece, Drumming (at the bottom in a YouTube video of the work’s first part . Guest vocalists Cheryl Rowe (below top) and Chelsie Propst (below middle), as well as flutist Stephanie Jutt (below bottom), who teaches at the UW-Madison and is principal  flute of the Madison Symphony Orchestra,  will join nine percussionists in a driving and mesmerizing performance. Written in 1970 after a trip to Ghana, the piece combines West-African interlocking rhythm with contemporary harmonies and rhythmic treatment.

Cheryl Rowe color 1

Chelsie Propst USE

Stephanie Jutt with flute

The 7 p.m. evening program features four shorter works from various stages in the entire career of Steve Reich (below).

Sextet showcases a gorgeous harmonic cycle, diverse tempos and energy, and interesting instrumentation such as bowed vibraphone, two pianos, and synthesizer.

Mallet Quartet is the most recent piece by Reich on the program, with swirling meters and a thrilling final movement.

Four Organs made “infamous” history when it was first performed in Carnegie Hall. Clocks will employ digital patches on four laptop computers to present this piece.

Steve Reich

Guest Pianist Rob Kovacs (below) also joins the evening program, performing Piano Phase for Solo Pianist. This work was originally scored for two musicians, and Kovacs is the first to perform it as a soloist, playing two grand pianos and two parts with one set of hands.

rob kovacsn2

New music, new instruments and new sounds define Clocks in Motion’s fresh and innovative approach to contemporary classical performance.

Hailed as “nothing short of remarkable” (, Clocks in Motion is a group that performs new music, builds its own instruments, and breaks down the boundaries of the traditional concert program.

With a fearless and uncompromising ear to programming challenging and adventurous contemporary percussion ensemble repertoire, Clocks in Motion consistently performs groundbreaking concerts involving performance art, theater, and computer technology. Featuring world premieres alongside rarely performed classic works, this ensemble strives to create a new canon of percussion repertoire.

Clocks in Motion overture

Clocks in Motion works passionately to educate young audiences through master classes, residencies, presentations, and school assemblies. The ensemble’s unique skill sets and specialties contain an impressive mix of rock, jazz, contemporary classical, orchestral, marching band and world styles.

Clocks in Motion has served as resident performers and educators at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Casper College, the University of Michigan, Baldwin-Wallace University, VIBES Fine and Performing Arts, Traverse City West High School, Traverse City East Middle School, Rhapsody Arts Center, and the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art.

Formed in 2011, Clocks in Motion began as an extension of the University of Wisconsin-Madison’ School of Music’s Graduate Percussion Group, and now serves as the affiliate ensemble of the UW-Madison percussion studio.

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