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Music and Cultural Exchange in Post-Soviet Turkmenistan (Nov. 1)

October 31, 2017

Wednesday, Nov.1 | THO 317 | 1:30 PM

Bonnie Whiting is the Chair of Percussion Studies at the UW School of Music. She will discuss a week spent in Ashgabat working with musicians of the State Symphony Orchestra of Turkmenistan. One of the vestiges of Soviet culture in Turkmenistan is a rich Western Classical music heritage. Older musicians had opportunities to study in St. Petersburg, and practice rooms in many of the music schools in the country still house pianists and string players churning out repertoire identical to music heard in prestigious conservatories across Europe. Many musicians also study traditional music, and the integration of these styles is fascinating. Whiting details the musical, cultural, and interpersonal highlights of this rare visit to a country that is still in the process of opening to foreign visitors.

Whiting performs and commissions new experimental music for percussion, seeking out projects that involve non-traditional notation, interdisciplinary performance, and the speaking percussionist. Recent work includes a series of performances at the John Cage Centennial Festival in Washington DC, workshops and a concerto performance with the National Orchestra of Turkmenistan, and as a soloist in Tan Dun’s “Water Passion” under the baton of the composer himself.