Arts & Entertainment

KU Faculty Member Dr. Andy Thierauf Holds Solo Percussion Recital

By Nichole Schleihauf
Arts & Entertainment Editor

KU’s  Dr. Andy Thierauf held a solo percussion recital on Nov. 2, with works predominantly composed by himself. He performed utilizing conventional instruments like the marimba and snare drum, but also incorporated spoken voice, flower pots, and even seashells. An overarching component was the use of electronics, which added echoes or changes in pitch. 

Dr. Thierauf’s pieces “Forest Shimmers” (2015) and “Seafarer” (2015) were from his doctoral dissertation and have the most focus on electronics. The computer program he used, Max/MSP, helped to add a certain ambiance when modifying the reception of percussion.

His earliest piece “Drumming on Ursonate” (2009) incorporated Kurt Schwitters’ poems, “UrSonate” or “Primordial Sound”. It embodied the Dada movement, embracing nonsense and weirdness, its sound is akin to using the vocal cords as percussion. The standard drums accompanied the theme and feeling of the composition.

“To The Earth” (1985) by Frederic Rzewski was the only work not composed by Dr. Thierauf. Rzewski brings an ancient Greek poem into a play, which explored a connection to nature and Earth and what she provided. The work also demonstrated spoken word, as well as uses flower pots as percussion for a more “found sounds” mood.

Dr. Thierauf’s most recent composition, “Undulations” (2021), was prepared for the vibraphone. In this performance, to make the sound slightly flat, sticky tack was put on some of the bars. 

His final and most overwhelming piece, “In Place” (2021) was composed of seven vignettes, taking the listener throughout several unique passages. It began and ended with small percussion instruments like shells and rattles, but the main part of the work consisted of marimba, glockenspiel, vibraphone, and electronics.

Upcoming events for the KU Music Department include Celebrate Marimba Festival on Nov. 7 and a Senior Recital on Nov. 13