The Smoke & Mirrors Ensemble (SME) was created in the fall of 2009. The name, Smoke and Mirrors, reflects the aim of our ensemble: to use the simple tools of rhythm, pitch, and timbre in a complex manner to create intensely effective experiences; and, in the process, expand the public’s literacy in the percussion repertoire.
While the ensemble has championed the work of percussion masters such as John Cage, Lou Harrison, and Steve Reich, they also work with young composers who are just beginning their careers. Their soon-to-be-released debut album features a new piece by ensemble member, Derek Tywoniuk, as well as a marimba arrangement of Eric Whitacre’s choral work, Sleep. They have premiered pieces by Kyle Werner and Joe Beribak. They have performed with The Colburn Orchestra and Gerard Schwarz, The Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Trudl Zipper Dance Studio, the Colburn Contemporary Players, and the New West Symphony. This concert season featured 3 new premieres. Ensemble members Derek Tywoniuk and Joe Beribak each wrote new works for the group this season. Also, Smoke and Mirrors Ensemble co-commissioned a new percussion trio from New York Composer Robert Honstein (co-commission with the Teage Trio in New York and Sonore Ensemble in Toronto).
Smoke & Mirrors Ensemble believes that sharing live music is an essential part of a healthy community. As such, they have performed with Street Symphony to bring music and musicians to the people. As supporters of music education, we have developed outreach programs with the Da Camera Society, which we have performed in schools throughout Los Angeles. In February 2013, SME spent a week in Bellingham, WA, performing in local junior high and high schools. While we always strive to take our art forward, we never want to forget the sheer joy of banging on pots and pans like we did as children. Our outreach programs encourage children to experience the world of sound that surrounds us all, a world that SME hopes to share with the whole world.