Tuesday, February 9, 2010

FSU percussion ensemble Denkyem heads to Costa Rica as "Promising Artists of the 21st Century"


FSU College of Music students Justin Alexander, Megan Arns, Brian Baldauff, Adam Groh, Daniel Lyons, and Luis Rivera are members of the Denkyem Percussion Group, a graduate-student subset of the international award-winning FSU Percussion Ensemble. This spring they will embark on a week-long musical journey through Costa Rica.

Drawing their name from the West African Adinkra symbol for adaptability, the Denkyem Percussion Group is committed to performing the classic chamber percussion ensemble literature while also commissioning works from established and promising new composers. This March, Denkyem will appear as featured artists for “The Promising Artists of The 21st Century” festival hosted by the North American Cultural Center, Costa Rica.

Denkyem was chosen to represent the University based on their outstanding portfolio and recommendation from The Florida State University. Dr. John Parks, Professor of Percussion at the FSU College of Music, is excited about the ensemble’s upcoming activities. “These students are simply fantastic—all terrific people and musicians, and incredibly proactive in pursuing not only the Costa Rica opportunity, but also several other important performances including the College Music Society convention in New Orleans and the upcoming UMA Afternoon of Musical Delight. I know they will represent FSU and the United States at the highest level.”

The “Promising Artists” program affords students from Costa Rica and abroad the opportunity to engage each other in a constructive professional and academic setting, further developing their talents and learning from other’s professional experiences. For the past 65 years, organizers of the “Promising Artists” festival have recruited talented students from prestigious universities in the United States to perform during the week-long program of events. During their time in Costa Rica, Denkyem will reside with local families, with whom they will also experience the local culture.

In fulfillment of their mission to commission new works, Denkyem have sought the talents of percussionist and composer, Brian Nozny. They will be premiering a percussion sextet by Mr. Nozny at the festival.

All six members of the group are currently pursuing graduate degrees from the College of Music at The Florida State University, specializing in percussion performance. Each member brings to the residency a wealth of experience including performances with nationally acclaimed orchestras such as the Arkansas, Tallahassee, Northwest Florida, and Brevard Symphony Orchestras.