Longtime Faculty Member Gunnar Schonbeck Honored at Solid Sound Festival

Jun 23, 2011

Longtime Bennington faculty member Gunnar Schonbeck was honored at Mass MoCA's Solid Sound Festival recently when Wilco drummer Glenn Kotche performed using the unique handcrafted instruments for which the late music teacher is known.

Kotche performed 20-minute sets at the top of the hour on Friday, June 24, from 5-7:00 pm, and on Saturday, June 25, at 2:00 pm, and from 4-6:00 pm, in the Lewitt wing on the second floor of the museum.

Schonbeck's instruments—adapted from commonplace objects like flowerpots, sewer pipes, and fire extinguishers—were created during his 50-year career at Bennington, where he regularly orchestrated student concerts that featured hundreds of the instruments at once.

The rarely seen pieces remain in the College's collection, and were meticulously tuned and prepared by current music faculty member Nick Brooke and alumnus Sam Clement '08 before the weekend's performances.

They will be used in July by Mark Stewart (Paul Simon's guitarist) as part of Mass MoCA's Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival, where student composers from all over the country will have the opportunity to work with them.

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