The University of Tennessee Percussion Ensemble, directed by Andrew Bliss, is devoted to performing, recording, and commissioning works for the contemporary percussion group. With this mission, the ensemble places an emphasis on collaboration with performers and composers alike.
In the 2016-17 season, the group appeared at the Big Ears Festival performing alongside composer Michael Pisaro; collaborated with Jessica Aszodi on a performance of Györgi Ligeti’s Síppal, dobbal, nádihegedüvel for mezzo-soprano and four percussionists; performed Steve Reich’s Drumming at the Knoxville 225th Birthday Celebration in Knoxville’s Krutch Park; and presented a concert featuring the rarely heard music of Michael Maierhof and Simon Løffler at The Emporium, home of the Knoxville Arts and Culture Alliance, in collaboration with percussionists Brian Archinal, Henrik Larsen, and Greg Stuart.
Earlier in 2016, the ensemble led a performance of John Luther Adams’ Inuksuit to close the 2016 Big Ears Festival at Knoxville’s Ijams Nature Center which received critical acclaim from multiple press outlets. UTPE also recently appeared at the McCormick Marimba Festival in Tampa, FL where they gave the world premiere of David Crowell’s Music for Percussion Quartet, as well as Alejandro Viñao’s 3-movement trio Relative Riffs. Other memorable collaborations for the ensemble include recently working with Jennifer Higdon on her latest 12-player composition Like Clockwork; performing Gravity for Marc Mellits on campus; the commission and premiere of Evan Chapman’s night light(ning); and the world premiere of Matthew Burtner’s telematic opera Auksalaq in Indianapolis, IN with performers from around the globe.
UTPE performed the New Literature Showcase Concert at the 2015 Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC) (link to: https://pasic.org) in San Antonio, TX and most recently were featured performers at the 2017 PASIC Focus Day in Indianapolis, IN. The ensemble has had the pleasure of sharing the stage with some of the top percussionists in the field today, including Kendall Williams, Mike Mixtacki, Michael Burritt, Josh Quillen, Anders Astrand, Andy Smith, Robert Chappell, and Evaristo Aguilar.
Currently the ensemble is preparing for a collaboration with Michael Gordon and the Bang on a Can All-Stars on his new work Big Space while working remotely with composer Alexander Lunsqui on his new percussion quartet Yazz, both to be performed in spring 2018. The University of Tennessee Percussion Ensemble would like to thank Yamaha, Zildjian, Innovative Percussion, Evans Drumheads, Black Swamp Percussion, and Meinl Percussion for their continued support of Andrew Bliss and the University of Tennessee Percussion Studies program.