Percussion Under Construction

Dear Sir: Perhaps you might remember me from my stupid phone call last January, if not, my name again is Frank Zappa Jr. I am 16 years old ….

Frank Zappa wrote these lines to avant-garde composer Edgar Varèse in 1957. His piece "Ionisation" for percussion ensemble fascinated Zappa very much and in his own words inspired him to start a career in music. Varèse‘s percussion music was to accompany him throughout his life.

For 15 years now, the eight percussionists of »Percussion under Construction« have ripped off their audience with hot rhythms.

The percussion ensemble, which was founded by members of the drum section of the Saarland State Orchestra, has been playing several two-hour shows every year since 2009 on the main stage of the Saarland State Theater. In 2015 Percussion Under Construction framed a.o. the presentation of the German Theater Prize "Faust", in 2018 they guested at the Festival Euroclassic for the first time.

"Recycled", the title of their current theater project, which is causing sensations since 2017, says it all: you can get a really fat drum groove out of plastic pipes, buckets, brooms, boxes, bottles or even the old bike.

The fusion of classical and modern percussion literature and original compositions, as well as the well organised stage show, has long since become the trademark of the troupe with its artistic directors Matthias Weißenauer and Martin Hennecke.

Extraordinary ideas of implementation - such as the invention of specialized home-made instruments (f.e. drainpipe marimba), as well as the inclusion of video and sound effects - turn the performances into exciting and surprising experiences.

For Zappanale 2019, the Ensemble has chosen the theme "Zappa, Varèse and Loud Americans" for the MainStage performance. In addition to "Ionisation" and Zappa arrangements for various percussion instruments - such as marimba, vibraphone, timpani, drums, oil barrels, buckets – we will hear some of their own compositions, including a premiere by Martin Hennecke, which deals with Zappa and Varèse. Rhythms and quotes from "Ionisation" are recomposed in the style of a Zappa composition.

At MysteryStage, Percussion Under Construction will present a variation on their quartet program.

The ine-up for Zappanale consists of: Manuel Geier, Ia Giguashvili, Kasper Gubala, Martin Hennecke, Jannis Lichtenfels, Thorsten Muschiol, Johannes Walter, Matthias Weißenauer.

„Keys, plastic buckets and pipes as musical instruments: Sounds not so obvious. But Percussion Under Construction, the percussionists of the Saarland State Orchestra make music on it -  impressively versatile, sometimes bizarre and radically modern (...) A wondrous cosmos of sounds, populated by equally wondrous instruments.“

Saarland Radio

„Yesterday I saw myself facing a thug gang in Saarbrücken: 8 men, armed with truncheons, pipes and hammers! It was not possible to escape them because I was encircled in the middle of a large crowd. For two hours their punches beat down on me. But I did not even think about escaping! "Recycled"- the concert by the drummers of the Saarland State Orchestra (conducted by Matthias Weißenauer and Martin Hennecke) could have taken even longer for me. I can not remember that a concert has ever inspired me that much. It was a concert of a very different kind - indescribable, sensational, breathtaking.“

Erwin Altmeier


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Zappanale #31

17. - 19.07.2020
The Torture stops in -100 days!
16. - 18. July 2021
The Torture stops in 264 days!