Clocks in Motion - A Collaboration in Music

Clocks in Motion

March 5, 2020
The Great Hall

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Clocks in Motion is a percussion quartet from Madison, Wisconsin, bringing you new music from living composers, classical repertoire from the 20th century, and experimental sounds with hand made instruments. They seek to inspire new audiences, educate people within the percussive and musical arts, and generate meaningful lasting collaborations with composers and other artists.



Typically, the A.P.E.X. Events take place in the Great Hall, where the audience is presented a lecture from that week’s guest speaker, but for the week of March 5th, 2020, the audience was treated to a musical performance in Thorley Recital Hall! That week’s guest was the percussion quartet, Clocks in Motion, who performed several modern chamber music works - including Christos Hatzis’ ensemble version of “In the Fire of Conflict”, featuring SUU Director of A.P.E.X. Events and Director of Percussion, Dr. Lynn Vartan.

Clocks in Motion is a percussion quartet that performs new music, builds many of its own instruments, and breaks down the boundaries of the traditional concert program. Formed in 2011, Clocks in Motion is quickly becoming a major artistic force in today’s contemporary music scene. With a fearless and uncompromising ear to programming challenging and adventurous contemporary percussion ensemble repertoire, Clocks in Motion performs classic pieces from the past century alongside newly commissioned works.

As the group began setting up the stage for their first piece, titled “Spiderweb Lead” by Adam Silverman, Dr. Lynn Vartan briefly interviewed Sean Kleve, founder of Clocks in Motion, asking questions such as the origin of the name “Clocks in Motion” and a brief description of the piece.

After playing, Dr. Vartan talked with another member, Christopher G. Jones, who described some of the unique instruments that would be used on the next piece, a three movement composition called “Of Maker and Movement” by Jennifer Ballor. These instruments were the Aquarion, a four-octave marimba with bars made from glass, and the Galvitone, a set of 88 microtonal steel pipes.

While the group prepared for the next piece, Dr. Vartan spoke with Dr. Megan Arns, who explained many of the unique techniques she utilized during the previous piece, including using a string bass bow on the bars of a vibraphone, as well as manipulating the vibraphone’s motor, which can apply vibrato to the instrument, or making the notes vibrate.

The next piece the group would play was an ensemble version of the two movement piece called “In the Fire of Conflict” by Christos Hatzis, with Dr. Vartan performing alongside the group and the accompanying electronic track.

The final piece, “Fantezie” by Sergiu Cretu and arranged by member Matthew Coley, featured the group playing various percussion instruments and Coley playing the dulcimer, a trapezoidal-shaped instrument, with the strings struck by handheld hammers.

- By Emily Sexton