Steven Schick to return to solo-percussion roots after stepping down as La Jolla Symphony music director

Posted on: May 24, 2022

“Since its first performance, in 1976, Iannis Xenakis’s ‘Psappha’ has been at the core of the solo percussion repertory,” writes Zachary Woolfe in Monday’s (5/23) New York Times. “The 14-minute piece [teeters] between sober and ecstatic. Steven Schick … recorded the pounding final minute on a recent afternoon in a studio at the University of California campus here, where he has taught since 1991. ‘Not even my 20-year-old self could have done that,’ said a smiling Schick, 68…. This new take will become part of ‘Weather Systems,’ a multialbum project…. Percussion is, more than most instrumental music-making, a young person’s game. But after a foray into conducting—his tenure leading the La Jolla Symphony and Chorus, which began as something of a lark and lasted 15 years, is ending in June—Schick is focusing anew on solo performance. ‘My percussion playing was saved by starting to conduct,’ he said…. ‘The repertory is not that large. “Psappha” I’ve played a thousand times. So I was really on the verge of burning out.’ … During the pandemic … ‘I certainly didn’t miss playing concerts. But it was like an itch to practice … just doing it because I wanted to.’ ”