Percussia is an innovative musical ensemble based in Queens, New York. Led by Artistic Director and percussionist Ingrid Gordon, Percussia's unique instrumentation of percussion, harp, flute and viola gives the group its one-of-a-kind, signature sound.
1. Can you tell us about your QAF funded project?
Performance Date: June 4, 2016 at 3 PM
Location: Jackson Heights Branch Queens Public Library
35-51 81st St. Jackson Heights NY 11372
Project Title: International Express
Percussia will present a concert at the Jackson Heights Library featuring commissioned works from Queens composers Quentin Chiappetta and Carlo Nicolau, as well as the Illinois-based Alexis Lamb. The cornerstone of the concert will be Chiappetta's The International Express -- a musical portrait of the 7 train. Each movement will represent a specific stop with a musical impression of that neighborhood’s cultural influences and immigrant community: the Irish neighborhood of Woodside, the Filipinos at 69th street, the Bangladeshi enclave at 74th, through many others finally ending in Flushing, NYC’s largest Chinatown. The piece would be created for Percussia’s ensemble but would also incorporate recordings of the sounds of each neighborhood. This composition may start with only a few movements, but is envisioned to grow over time to represent the rich diversity of the whole 7 line. This work will give local residents a connection point to a modern musical interpretation of traditional cultures.
2. How do you think this project will impact the community?
This project will use music as a way to bring together the ethnically and economically diverse communities in Queens in general, and Jackson Heights in particular. By holding this concert free of charge in the popular Jackson Heights branch of the Queens Public Library, we hope to draw in a wide cross-section of community members. Even though the average community member may not be familiar with contemporary classical music, we hope that we can expose them to something fun and exciting they may not otherwise know about. We will have two locally residing composers, the Mexican-American Carlo Nicolau, and Quentin Chiappetta, in attendance, and we hope encountering the creators of the music we will be performing will make the experience more exciting and real for them. Lastly, Chiappetta’s work in particular, the International Express, will use a familiar element in the neighborhood to draw people in, and the musical cultures reflected in the work itself, will be a point of familiarity with some audience members, who see their own cultural expressions reflected and interpreted in this work.
3. How has QCA been helpful in the grant process?
QCA grant administrators are always helpful, accessible, and provide personal service. Publicity through QCA’s web site is another great way to get the word out, and of course without their financial assistance none of these projects would be possible in the first place.
4. Here is your chance, what do you want everyone to know about your organization?
I would like everybody to know that our concerts are always fun and exciting, and that you will probably like our music, even if you know nothing about classical music. You will be impressed by how well our musicians play—how often do you see such talent on display? You don’t need to go to the concert halls of Manhattan to see some of the best musicians in the city. We also want audience members to now that two of Percussia’s members are from Queens: percussionist Ingrid Gordon is from Jackson Heights, and harpist Susan Jolles is a long-time Forest Hills resident. We are not just performers, we are also your neighbors and fellow community members. Lastly, seeing any live performance is an engaging and thrilling experience, so put down your phone, get off your couch and come see our show!