The Percussion Collective

This moving program from The Percussion Collective marks the Chicago premiere of Emmy Award winning composer Garth Neustadter’s masterpiece Seaborne, featuring six percussionists and projected film. Its three movements, Above, At, and Within, are a tribute to our planet’s endangered oceans and transports the audience into a magical world of sound and imagery. The second half of the concert will be a performance of American icon Steve Reich’s seminal work for percussion, Sextet.


This thirty-minute work for six percussionists and video projection is at the nexus of the percussive art soundscape and the visual celebration of our endangered oceans. Just as rhythm and the percussive voice are the heartbeat of music, our precious oceans are the lifeblood of the planet and thus our very existence. Seaborne awakens sensibilities in the audience to both the importance and beauty that our oceans possess. 

For this project, the Percussion Collective’s Artistic Director Robert van Sice brought together two extraordinary young talents: Emmy Award-winning composer Garth Neustadter and water lensman Kjell van Sice. Neustadter’s mastery of cinematic composition and Kjell van Sice’s poetic aquatic images produce a powerful collaboration. The piece is designed to be the sister piece to one of the seminal pieces in the percussion repertoire, Steve Reich’s iconic Sextet.


Steve Reich’s Sextet comprises five movements played without pause. The relationship of the five movements is that of an arch form, A-B-C-B-A. The first and last movements are fast, the second and fourth moderate, and the third is slow. Changes of tempo are made abruptly at the beginning of new movements by metric modulation to either get slower or faster. Movements are also organized harmonically with the chord cycle for the first and fifth, another for the second and fourth, and yet another for the third. The harmonies used are largely dominant chords with added tones creating a somewhat darker, chromatic and more varied harmonic language were suggested by The Desert Music (1984). 

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