SUNY New Paltz Concert Series celebrates Southeast Asian music, Oct. 5

Kyaw Kyaw Naing (left) and Alex Peh

The Department of Music at SUNY New Paltz presents “With Gongs, Drums and Pianos: Traditional Southeast Asian Music,” a concert featuring Burmese master percussionist Kyaw Kyaw Naing, internationally-acclaimed percussionist Susie Ibarra, and SUNY New Paltz assistant professor and pianist Alex Peh, at 8 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 5, in Studley Theatre.

“With Gongs, Drums and Pianos” celebrates the historic debut of the first Burmese Saing ensemble in the United States, which will include a collective of New Paltz students, faculty and community members led by Naing, and the creation of a new community Filipino Kulintang ensemble led by Ibarra.

Both forms are part of the rich tradition of gong chime music in Southeast Asia, characterized by intricate, layered, rhythmic patterns played on pitched pot gongs, drums, and metallophones. New Paltz music students now have the opportunity to learn about these forms in a new class dedicated to the art of Burmese piano and percussion.

“This is a historic moment,” said Peh. “We are the first college in the country to offer a Burmese music class featuring a full Hsaing Waing ensemble led by one of the greatest artists in Myanmar. As native born Malaysian, I am thrilled that we will be putting a spotlight on Southeast Asian music, and I hope this ensemble will develop in to a permanent part of the community in the Hudson Valley.”

Tickets for “With Gongs, Drums and Pianos: Traditional Southeast Asian Music” are $12 for the general public, $8 for SUNY New Paltz faculty/staff and seniors, and $3 for students. Tickets are available in the Studley Theatre lobby one hour prior to the performance.

For ticketing information and for the complete fall 2019 Music Concert Series schedule, visit the Music Concert Series webpage on the Department of Music’s website.

If you have accessibility questions or require accommodations to fully participate in this event, please contact Russell Thompson at at least two weeks prior to the performance.

The concert serves as the concluding performance of the 2019 New York Conference on Asian Studies, which takes place at SUNY New Paltz on Oct. 4 and 5. The conference offers panels, keynotes and arts events exploring the ways in which Asian culture, religion and politics has shaped our physical and intellectual landscapes.

Susie Ibarra

About the Performers
Kyaw Kyaw Naing is considered one of the great circle drum (pat waing) performers of his generation.

He came to the United States in 2012 as the leader of an all-star Burmese Saing orchestra that performed at the Asia Society in New York City.

He caught the attention of Evan Ziporyn from the New York-based contemporary classical music ensemble Bang on a Can, with whom he collaborated on the critically acclaimed album, “Bang on a Can Meets Kyaw Kyaw Naing,” on the Cantaloupe music label.

Susie Ibarra is a Filipino-American composer, percussionist and sound artist, whose work has been described by Modern Drummer magazine as “a sound like no other’s, incorporating the unique percussion and musical approach of her Filipino heritage with her flowing jazz drum set style.”

Her recent projects include Kronos String Quartet’s “Fifty for the Future” project, and a performance of “Procession Along the Aciga Tree” with PRISM Quartet.

Ibarra is a 2019 United States Artists Doris Duke Fellow, and a 2018 Asian Cultural Council Fellow in support of her sound research for “An Acoustic Story on Climate Change: Himalayan Glacier Soundscapes.”

Pianist Alex Peh is a collaborative teaching artist, and a performer and composer in a range of traditional, contemporary and experimental modes. He has performed in venues including Carnegie Weill Recital Hall in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and the Byzantine Museum in Thessaloniki, Greece.

He is the coordinator of the piano program at SUNY New Paltz and has additionally given educational workshops in K-12 public and private schools throughout the country.