Video: This Is What It Sounds like When 100 Percussionists Play Together

By Stephen Raskauskas |

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musicians playing percussion instruments in a museum hallway

100 percussionists perform Marta Ptaszyńska’s Voice of the Winds at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art

In April 2017, 99 percussionists joined composer Marta Ptaszyńska for the world-premiere performance of her piece Voice of the Winds at the Museum of Contemporary Art – Chicago. The performance was presented by the MCA-Chicago and Contempo of the University of Chicago Presents, of which Ptaszyńska serves as artistic director.

Logistically, Ptaszyńska’s piece presents some obvious challenges. First, you need to find a large space. For the world premiere, all floors of the museum were utilized. Then, you need to find 100 percussionists. Ptaszyńska performed with Matthew Duvall, co-artistic director of eighth blackbird, and lots, and lots of other percussionists! The musicians were divided into 5 groups, each with a leader that coordinated with the other groups using a click track.

Though the thought of 100 percussionists may conjure up cacophonous clanging in your mind’s ear, the soundscape Ptaszyńska created in Voice of the Winds is more peaceful than you might expect. See excerpts from the world premiere of Voice of the Winds below and experience this unique piece for yourself.