Steve Butters | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader
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With the emphasis on texture and tone color in postwar classical music came an intensified interest in the possibilities of percussion: Edgard Varese's pioneering 1933 all-percussion composition Ionisation, John Cage's prepared-piano and early percussion explorations, and works by a host of others, including Karlheinz Stockhausen, Iannis Xenakis, Toru Takemitsu, and Morton Feldman, ushered in a new solo percussion repertoire and with it specialist performers like Max Neuhaus and Stomu Yamash'ta. Chicago's Steve Butters is a bright new part of this lineage. A versatile, open-eared percussionist accomplished on both tuned and untuned instruments, Butters is a frequent member of composer/bass clarinetist Gene Coleman's Ensemble Noamnesia and the downstate new-music group Walleye. He appeared on Gastr del Sol's Crookt, Crackt, or Fly (Drag City) and recently became a member of the Tone Road Ramblers, playing on their new record Intersections and Detours (Einstein). His remarkable abilities as a soloist will be showcased in this afternoon program, which includes Cage's Suite for Toy Piano, a deceptively simple melodic investigation on one of Butters's favorite instruments; wonderful contemporary Italian composer Franco Donatoni's vibraphone composition OMAR; and Slovenian/Parisian composer Vinko Globokar's Corporeal, a piece that treats the human body as a carefully arranged set of percussion instruments. Butters will also perform two works by Champaign-Urbana-based composers: University of Illinois professor Erik Lund's Due Process (Is What's Left, Right?), a wide-ranging multiple percussion adventure that Butters recorded for Opus One Records, and Walleye bassoonist Charles Lipp's equally encompassing Delusions of Grandeur. If we're lucky, Butters--who is a terrific free improviser to boot--will throw in an on-the-spot invention of his own. Sunday, 3 PM, Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln; 327-6666.

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