Percussion Professor and Piano Alumna Earn Great Reviews

Greg Beyer

Greg Beyer, professor of percussion in the NIU School of Music, is a member of the noted music group Ensemble Dal Niente. Alumna Mabel Kwan is also a member of this esteemed group.

Mabel Kwan (photo by Nelson Fitch)

Last week, Dal Niente performed as part of Chicago's "Beethoven Festival" - which actually presents music from several genres. Greg and Mabel performed Karlheinz Stockhausen's "Kontakte" for percussion, piano and electronica, and received two noteworthy reviews.

In the Chicago Tribune, reviewer John von Rhein stated ""Dal Niente remains an always-welcome visitor to the festival, and a potent account of Stockhausen's "Kontakte" ("Contacts") by members Greg Beyer (percussion) and Mabel Kwan (piano and percussion) reminded one why this total-serialist fusion of synthesized and live instrumental sounds has attained classic status amid the avant-garde canon of the late 1950s."

In Chicago Classical Review, reviewer Lawrence A. Johnson had this to say: ""Completed in 1960, Karlheinz Stockhausen’s Kontakte is among the German modernist’s most celebrated electronic works. Scored for pianist, percussionist, electronica and a massive array of percussion instruments, it is also a spatial work with four speakers placed in the corner of the Merit School’s main concert hall.

Despite Stockhausen’s forbidding reputation for gnarly 1960s atonality, Kontakte is consistently compelling, a 35-minute sonic roller-coaster.

Granted, some of the crashing sounds and plugged-in burbling suggests either electroacoustic gastrointestinal distress or a terrible accident on the Autobahn.

Yet there was also extraordinary delicacy in the variegated array of hues, sounds and effects. This difficult work was scrupulously prepared and technically immaculate. Percussionist Gregory Beyer, pianist (doubling on percussion) Mabel Kwan and electronicist Francisco Castillo Trigueros delivered a performance of stunning virtuosity, musicality and resourcefulness that was almost as enjoyable to watch as to hear, the three receiving the loudest ovation of the day."

Congratulations to Greg and Mabel!

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