Gabriel KahaneCurator · Host Sandbox Percussion

Gabriel Kahane and Sandbox Percussion

PIVOT Festival

Ian Rosenbaum Jonny Allen Terry Sweeney Victor Caccese

Friday, January 31, 2025 |  7:30pm

Herbst TheatreVenue Information


About This Performance

Composer/singer-songwriter Gabriel Kahane returns as guest curator once again for the tenth season of PIVOT. Kahane’s work exists at the intersection of art and social practice, and he is one of the most thoughtful—and thought-provoking—artists of his generation. He will perform opening night and host all three evenings of deliciously ingenious music brimming with thought, humor—both dark and light—and substance.

Grammy®-nominated ensemble Sandbox Percussion is dedicated to artistry in contemporary chamber music, captivating worldwide audiences with visually and aurally stunning performances. The ensemble will perform Pulitzer Prize-nominated composer Andy Akiho’s evening-length Seven Pillars, a boldly genre-defying work for percussion quartet.


ANDY AKIHO: Seven Pillars

Performance Sponsors

Silvie Jensen & David Masterson, Christian Jessen, and Jeanne Newman

Artist Information

Performer Biographies

Gabriel Kahane is a musician and storyteller whose work increasingly exists at the intersection of art and social practice. Hailed as “one of the finest songwriters of the day” by The New Yorker, he is known to haunt basement rock clubs and august concert halls alike, where you’ll likely find him in the green room, double-fisting coffee, and a book.

He has released five albums as a singer-songwriter including his most recent LP, Magnificent Bird (Nonesuch Records), which received widespread critical acclaim. As a composer, he has been commissioned by many of America’s leading arts institutions, including the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Carnegie Hall, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, and the Public Theater, which in 2012 presented his musical February House.

In 2019, Kahane was named the inaugural Creative Chair for the Oregon Symphony, following the premiere in Portland of his oratorio emergency shelter intake form, a work that explores inequality in America through the lens of housing issues. The piece was released as an album in March of 2020, and is scheduled for performance by half a dozen other American orchestras in the coming years.

In his 2023–24 season, Kahane embarked on a new collaborative commissioning project with the Attacca Quartet, Pekka Kuusisto, and Roomful of Teeth as part of a two-year initiative with San Francisco Performances, with additional performances scheduled around the U.S. and Europe. Season highlights include the European premiere of emergency shelter intake form in London with the BBC Concert Orchestra, duo recitals with Jeffrey Kahane, a conducting appearance with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, and the New York premiere of his piano concerto Heirloom by Jeffrey Kahane and The Knights. Venues include UCLA’s Nimoy Theater, Seattle’s Meany Center, and New York’s 92NY.

Kahane’s discography also includes the highly praised Book of Travelers, The Ambassador, which received an acclaimed staging at BAM, directed by Tony and Olivier Award-winner John Tiffany; an album of chamber music, The Fiction Issue, with the string quartet Brooklyn Rider and vocalist/composer Shara Nova; a recording with The Knights of his orchestral song cycle Crane Palimpsest; as well as the original cast album for February House.

A frequent collaborator across a range of musical communities, Gabriel has worked with an array of artists including Paul Simon, Sufjan Stevens, Andrew Bird, Phoebe Bridgers, Caroline Shaw, and Chris Thile. After nearly two decades in Brooklyn, Kahane relocated with his family to Portland, Oregon, in March of 2020. Their freakishly self-possessed cat, Roscoe Greebletron Jones III, when not under investigation for securities fraud, continues his fruitless attempts to monetize his Instagram account.

Described as “exhilarating” by The New York Times and “utterly mesmerizing” by The Guardian, Grammy®-nominated ensemble Sandbox Percussion brings out the best in composers through their unwavering dedication to artistry in contemporary chamber music. The members were brought together in 2011 by their love of chamber music and the simple joy of playing together; they have since captivated audiences with performances that are both visually and aurally stunning. Today, Sandbox Percussion—Jonathan Allen, Victor Caccese, Ian Rosenbaum, and Terry Sweeney—are established leaders in the fields of contemporary music and percussion, engaging a wider audience for classical music through multidisciplinary collaborations with leading composers and artists.

Sandbox Percussion’s 2021 album Seven Pillars was nominated for two Grammy® awards—Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance and Best Contemporary Classical Composition. Nationally recognized “as pure as music gets” (The New York Times), Andy Akiho’s feature-length work, with stage direction and lighting design by Michael Joseph McQuilken, is Sandbox Percussion’s largest commission to date. The ensemble also commissioned 11 short films to accompany each movement, and performed the full piece more than 15 times throughout the United States and Europe last season, including at the Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris with the LA Dance Project and choreographer Benjamin Millepied.

In the 2023–24 season, Sandbox Percussion performs Seven Pillars at the VIVO Music Festival (Columbus, OH); the New School (New York); Aperio, Music of the Americas (Houston); the Frost School of Music (Miami); Brown University (Providence, RI); and the Peace Center (Greenville, SC), among other venues.Additional season highlights include two performances at the Park Avenue Armory’s Veterans Room (New York), presenting music by Andy Akiho, Amy Beth Kirsten, Juri Seo, David Crowell, Julius Eastman, and new music by past collaborators Christopher Cerrone (world premiere) and Viet Cuong (New York premiere); a performance at the 92nd Street Y with pianist and new-music champion Conor Hanick featuring New York premieres of two works composed for them by Christopher Cerrone and by Tyshawn Sorey; and an appearance at the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center with acclaimed new-music performers Dawn Upshaw, Gilbert Kalish, and Alisa Weilerstein. Sandbox Percussion will also continue to champion Viet Cuong’s acclaimed concerto for percussion quartet, Re(new)al, including performances with the Des Moines Symphony and with the Albany Symphony, which commissioned the piece.

This season, Sandbox Percussion also releases their fourth album, Wilderness, featuring the piece of the same name by experimental composer Jerome Begin. The hourlong work seamlessly fuses the raw impact of live percussion instruments with electronic manipulations in real time. Last season, Sandbox Percussion released Bathymetry, on Cantaloupe Music, featuring music for percussion and analog synthesizer by Matt McBane.

The album draws from various strains of minimalism and modern electronic music production, and from ASMR and ambient modular synth videos. In 2020, the ensemble released their debut album And That One Too, on Coviello Classics, featuring music by longtime collaborators Andy Akiho, David Crowell, Amy Beth Kirsten, and Thomas Kotcheff.

Besides maintaining an international performance schedule, Sandbox Percussion holds the position of ensemble-in-residence and percussion faculty at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and The New School’s College of Performing Arts, where they have created a curriculum with entrepreneurship and chamber music at its core. Sandbox Percussion has led masterclasses and coachings at prestigious music schools in the United States, including Curtis Institute, the Juilliard School, the Peabody Conservatory, and Cornell University. In 2016, Sandbox Percussion founded the Sandbox Percussion Seminar—a weeklong seminar that invites percussion students from around the globe to rehearse and perform today’s leading repertoire for percussion chamber music.

In 2022, Sandbox Percussion launched their Creator Mentorship Program, a commissioning program that solicits proposals from early-career creators around the world. The selected creators are commissioned to create a new work for the ensemble, and they receive time, space, and funding for a yearlong workshop and development period.

Sandbox Percussion endorses Pearl/Adams musical instruments, Zildjian cymbals, Vic Firth sticks and mallets, Remo drumheads, and Black Swamp accessories.

Artist Video

Sandbox Percussion Plays Andy Akiho’s Pillar VII