Michael Burritt, professor of percussion and chair of the winds, brass, and percussion department at the Eastman School of Music, will perform at the Moss Arts Center on March 26 at 6 p.m. with four members of the Virginia Tech Percussion Ensemble, a pianist, and string bassist. They will present a new piece that Burritt commissioned, "Fast Forward," by the Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Joseph Schwantner.

Annie Stevens, director of the Percussion Ensemble, said "Fast Forward" will feature “a vast array of percussion instruments, including vibraphones, marimbas, xylophone, bells, and chimes; traditional battery instruments like timpani, bongos, toms, and snare drum; and then a few nontraditional percussion instruments including singing bowls, and large metal pipes. This piece also includes amplified piano and string bass.”

Three Virginia Tech percussion students, along with their instructor, rehearse on marimbas and drums in a large room.
Students (in foreground, from left) Peyton Gentry, Miranda Hughes, and Jay Smith rehearse with ensemble Director Annie Stevens (in background) in the Creativity and Innovation District Living-Learning Program residence hall. Virginia Tech photo

Seniors Miranda Hughes, Jay Smith, and Peyton Gentry are three of the Percussion Ensemble students who will play alongside Burritt on March 26. Smith said he and Gentry “are on track to do an accelerated master's degree program, which also includes a teaching license in Virginia.” Hughes was recently featured as a VT Soloist Competition winner at the Moss Arts Center, where she played E. Séjourné’s “Concerto for Marimba and Strings” at the Feb. 24 VT Philharmonic Concert. All three students hope to become teachers and performers like their director, Stevens.

The guest artist, Burritt, has been a longtime mentor to Stevens, so she is eager to provide this “amazing opportunity for [her] students to work alongside Burritt, as it will only be his second performance of this new piece.” Stevens also said “Burritt is known for the nonstop energy that he brings to any rehearsal and performance. He is widely sought after as a guest artist internationally, so we are very fortunate to bring him to our campus for this experiential learning opportunity.”

The concert is Sunday, March 26, at 6 p.m. in the Anne and Ellen Fife Theatre at the Moss Arts Center, located at 190 Alumni Mall on the Blacksburg campus. 

Tickets and parking

Tickets are $15 general, $12 senior, and $10 student and may be purchased through the Moss Arts Center ticket office in person or online. Tickets will also be available at the door. Tickets may be purchased online by calling 540-231-5300.

All university community members and visitors will need to display a parking permit, use the ParkMobile apppay a fee, or pay using an hourly meter to park on the Blacksburg campus unless otherwise noted by signage. Find additional parking information here.

If you are an individual with a disability and/or desire an accommodation, please contact Susan Sanders prior to the event.

Written by Liz Gray, a graduate student in arts leadership in the School of Performing Arts.

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