Jonny Allen (pictured first left) describes his first encounter with the music of Andy Akiho and the unique creative process behind Seven Pillars, Akiho's extensive new work for Sandbox Percussion with lighting design and stage direction by Michael McQuilken.
Six years ago, we lived in a world where one of my favorite composers of all time, Andy Akiho, had not written a single note for percussion quartet. To me, this was akin to Chopin not writing any solo piano pieces. Thankfully this has changed, and six years later we are on the cusp of bringing Seven Pillars, 75 minutes of Andy’s music, into the world. This evening-length interdisciplinary work for percussion and light will include seven quartets, four solos, and one giant check mark on my bucket list.
It only feels right to start this story from the first time I ever saw the name Andy Akiho. It was the summer of 2008. I was between my freshman and sophomore year of college and had the task of “teaching my grandma the internet”. I could have used some internet lessons myself, so this was mostly an excuse to spend time with my grandma and receive praise for knowing words like “URL” and “search engine”.
Sandbox Percussion workshopping Seven Pillars at Mana Contemporary, Jersey City