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Talking Gong

Talking Gong is a newly commissioned and premiered work that will be recorded in an album of my compositions for New Focus Recordings.


I am preparing to record a new album of music with New Focus Recordings titled Talking Gong. The title piece, Talking Gong, is a new commission from 2018 for Alex Peh pianist, Claire Chase flutist and myself on drumset and palabunibuniyan ( kulintang gong set). In spring of 2018 I was honored to be the Davenport Composer in Residence in which I composed this score and premiered it at SUNY New Paltz and the Look + Listen Festival in Brooklyn at BRIC. To accompany this piece for a full album, I will also be recording several of my compositions that are also largely influenced by Philippine traditional gong music aesthetic. These include two solo piano works Dancesteps, tracing dance styles popular and indigenous in the Philippines, and Paniniwala ( Belief). A solo percussion piece for Philippine kulintang gongs titled Sulu Archipelago. Merienda (Snack) , a conducted improvisational score comprised of motifs which will be arranged for flute, piano and percussion. Mimesis, a piece composed for 6 percussionists that utilizes interlocking gangsa techniques from Northern Kalinga in the Philippines. One solo harp piece , Little Flowers Cry, will also be recorded. Harpist Bridget Kibbey premiered this work and I will ask her to record solo as well. Also included in this album will be a new solo viola piece commission for Filipino artist Daniel Louis Doña, newly commissioned and set to premiere in fall 2020.

We have performed these pieces ( except the new viola piece to come) individually which have been well received at concerts. With the trio with Claire and Alex we premiere in SUNY New Paltz and NYC. I also conducted Merienda pieces with them and with student ensembles at SUNY NP and Harvard Music.  I have been touring solo drums and percussion pieces in this last fall, and am excited to include this special solo percussion piece on the album.  Violist Daniel Doña and I have been discussing how can develop our performance programming in Filipino communities in the US.

We plan to perform the album as a program of music with also the ability to add and include an additional work that is compatible to the theme. I am very excited to create this album which will hold all of these pieces together in one recording. I feel it is very important documentation of this focus of my musical aesthetic. Each of these artists are stellar. I am honored to work with them all. I am applying for this grant to be able to fund the recording production and pressing and release of the new album.

Project Media

Talking Gong
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This link is to the premiere of Talking Gong at SUNY New Paltz. Talking Gong refers to the Gandingan 4 panned gongs in a palabunibuniyan kulintang ensemble. These gongs used to be used to talk to each other in villages. These codes were not just music but had text meaning
Talking Gong was composed for a trio, Alex Peh on piano, Claire Chase on flute, myself on drumset and kulintang gongs and a full palabunibuniyan set of gongs. This was premiered March 2018 at SUNY New Paltz and April 2018 at the Look+ Listen Festival at BRIC, Brooklyn NY. T

Procession Along the Aciga Tree
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Features: Susie Ibarra

This piece of music is title Procession Along the Aciga Tree commissioned for PRISM Saxophone Quartet + percussion for their Color Theory 2.0 Series. Myself and Tyshawn Sorey were the composer/percussionists commissioned for this premiere in June 2018. Procession is inspired by Processional music in Northern Kalinga in the Philippines and the Aciga Tree which is a well known site for processions. Kalinga processional music utilizes interlocking rhythms. It was amazing to work with PRISM. I loved how they performed, and recorded this.

Start and End Dates



New Paltz, New York

Project Created By

New York, New York
Composer/Percussionist Susie Ibarra creates live and immersive music that explores rhythm , indigenous practices and interaction with cities and the natural world. Ibarra is a Yamaha, Paiste and Vic Firth Drum Artist. She is a 2014 TEDSenior Fellow. Ibarra premieres a new project this year 2017 DreamTime Ensemble, with a forthcoming new album on Decibel Collective…

In Collaboration With

pianist, performer
New Paltz, New York
flutist, performer
record label
New York, New York
violist, performer


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