Sarah Hennies performs Falsetto and Other Solo Percussion Works at EMPAC

Troy, NY – On Wednesday, December 4, at 7:30 PM, Sarah Hennies will perform an evening of solo work for percussion and electronics at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center (EMPAC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The program will feature the pieces Falsetto and Fleas.

Through slowly evolving textures, Hennies’ music opens up a space where small changes become events. Her music often explores the act of performance: whether through showing the amount of energy it takes to maintain a constant appearance in front of others, the exhaustion of maintaining a sound once it has been established, or the vulnerability of having one’s every small move amplified through observation.

Working with both traditional orchestral percussion instruments and found objects, Hennies challenges rigid definitions by relating the structure of her work to themes of queer and trans identity, love and intimacy. Hennies has mentioned in interviews that percussionists are unique in that they don’t have a specific instrument. Their identity and role changes constantly with the context of different pieces and even within a single piece. The standard definition of a musician identified by their instrument does not hold.

In Hennies’ performance, listeners and performers are encouraged to enter a shared space that reflects everyday life. Hennies’ music begins to expose the exhaustion and virtuosity of maintaining even simple actions. A gentle sound, such as the ringing of a small bell, is sustained beyond virtuosity to expose the exhaustion of maintaining even simple actions that are thought of as societal norms. As these sounds are challenged by the addition of other actions, her performance becomes more and more mesmerizing: an act of determination.
For more information, please visit

Sarah Hennies
Wednesday, December 4, 2019 7:30PM
EMPAC Studio 1—Goodman
General Admission: $20
RPI Student: $6

EMPAC | Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is the nation’s most technologically advanced university performing arts center. EMPAC hosts artists and researchers to produce and present new work at the confluence of human and digital space. Four exceptional venues enable audiences and presenters to inquire, experiment, develop, and experience the ever-changing relationship between ourselves, technology, and the worlds we create around us. EMPAC is an icon of the New Polytechnic, a new paradigm for transdisciplinary research and learning at Rensselaer, the nation’s oldest technological research university.

EMPAC Fall 2019 presentations, residencies, and commissions are made possible by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts; New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; and the Australian Government through the Australia Council for the Arts. Additional project support by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; the NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship Program; and Creative Scotland.

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