#144 Andy Akiho- Percussionist, Composer & More!
Today’s guest is Andy Akiho. Described as "mold-breaking," "alert and alive," "dramatic," and "vital" by The New York Times, Andy Akiho is an eclectic composer and performer of contemporary classical music. Recent engagements include commissioned premieres by the New York Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, and Carnegie Hall's Ensemble ACJW; a performance with the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and three concerts at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Akiho has been recognized with awards including the 2014-15 Luciano Berio Rome Prize, the 2015 Lili Boulanger Memorial Fund, a 2014 Fromm Foundation Commission from Harvard University, the 2014 American Composers Orchestra Underwood Emerging Composers Commission, a 2014 Chamber Music America (CMA) Grant with the Friction Quartet and Jenny Q Chai, a 2012 CMA Grant with Sybarite5, the 2012 Carlsbad Composer Competition Commission for the Calder Quartet, and the 2011 Finale & ensemble eighth blackbird National Composition Competition Grand Prize. Additionally, his compositions have been featured on PBS's "News Hour with Jim Lehrer" and by organizations such as Bang on a Can, American Composers Forum, and The Society for New Music.
Akiho was born in 1979 in Columbia, South Carolina, and is based in New York City. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina (BM, performance), the Manhattan School of Music (MM, contemporary performance), and the Yale School of Music (MM, composition). Akiho is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in composition at Princeton University. He has attended the Aspen Music Festival, Heidelberg Music Festival, HKUST Intimacy of Creativity Festival, Bang on a Can Festival, Silicon Valley Music Festival, Yellow Barn Music Festival, Chamber Music Northwest Festival, and Avaloch Farm Music Institute, where he is the Composer-in-Residence. Akiho's debut CD No One To Know One, on innova Recordings, features brilliantly crafted compositions that pose intricate rhythms and exotic timbres around his primary instrument, the steel pan.
Educational Spotlight for this week…..
Pasic registration prices have gone up as of Oct 1st. Make sure you register and get your badge now before the next price increase!
Gig Alerts for this week…..
Some vacancies at the United States Army Band “Pershing’s Own'“, and (friend of the show) Julie Angelis-Boehler has announced when she is leaving the timpani position, March 9th, 2020. The Jazz Foundation of America’s Loft Party will be October 19th at the Hudson Hotel in NYC. Sara Bareilles is going on tour and bringing Emily King with her. Emily will use her drummer James Williams and Sara is using the great Charley Drayton. Damon mentions the Fiona Apple album and the Keith Richards album that Charley plays on. If you would like to play percussion with the group Maracatu NY in the NYC Halloween parade up 6th ave on Oct 31st, fill out THIS FORM, and head to the rehearsals.
Social Soundbyte for this week……
Aaron Sterling has Jefferson Shallenberger of Sugar Percussion on the most recent episode of his podcast. They talk about his drums and then Aaron does a “rig rundown” over on instagram and then offers a discount code for the drums he uses.
Music News for this week……
Jennifer Lopez & Shakira Joining Forces for Super Bowl Halftime Performance. Billie Eilish Bans Plastic Straws at Her Upcoming ‘Eco-Friendly’ Arena Tour. Also, those attending shows on the tour will be able to bring refillable water bottles with them, and there will be water stations at every show for both concertgoers and staff. Camping Tents Left Over From Electric Daisy Carnival Are Being Used to Help Bahamas Hurricane Victims. Cream Drummer & Founder Ginger Baker, 80, Is ‘Critically Ill’. Last month, Baker celebrated his 80th birthday. But he has experienced a number of significant health problems in the past few years. Due to his heavy smoking, Baker suffers from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and he also suffers from degenerative osteoarthritis, which has caused him chronic back pain. Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, ACL Officially Ban Facial Recognition — SXSW, Coachella Still Undecided.
The music leading into and out of the interview is “Ki Iro” (Yellow) written by Andy Akiho.
Andy is currently in Boscawen, NH at the Avaloch Farm Music Institute writing some music.
Andy and Damon met in 1998 at the Cadets of Bergen County Drum Corps. Damon was in the pit and Andy marched the 1st bass drum.
Andy is from South Carolina and got his undergrad from the University of South Carolina.
Then Andy traveled to NYC, but also traveled to Trinidad for steel pans. While in NYC, he eventually attended the Manhattan School of Music. While in NYC, Andy was a part of the steel pan community along with Freddy Harris, Scipio 'Sarge' Sargeant, Kareem Thompson and others.
When Damon is traveling and writing music, he uses the Korg Nanokey 2. If Andy is in one location for any length of time he uses the M-Audio Keystation 88. When traveling in and out of coffee shops, Andy uses a much smaller Akai midi keyboard. But he also changes it up by writing on the pan or even on an actual piano.
If you’re looking to perform music Andy has written, you can go HERE.
Damon brings up some interesting facts about Portland, OR.
Then they move onto grits. Some people (who are wrong) prefer sweet grits with brown sugar or maple syrup, but most people (who are sane) prefer savory grits with anything from butter, to cheese, to bacon to shrimp and more. Andy talks about his Italian style grits that he prefers.
In between all the music Andy is writing, he is also finishing his doctorate at Princeton University.
Andy talks about what he would tell aspiring composers as well as what info he would tell himself if he went back in time.