Glenn Kotche has worked on over 90 albums over the course of his career, yet he feels like he’s just scratched the surface of what there is to do as a percussionist.
The Wilco drummer will perform at Syracuse University on Thursday March 7 as part of the Setnor School of Music Guest Artist Series. The evening will feature a mixture of Kotche’s solo performances and pieces performed by the Setnor School percussion ensemble, with some pieces arranged by VPA's Josh Dekaney.
Kotche has recently traveled around the country, visiting various universities and institutions to perform and lecture. In Syracuse, Kotche will have a chance to do something a bit different. “I'm getting to play my solo pieces; I’m playing a few of those, and the various [Setnor School] ensembles are doing some arrangements that I’ve done or pieces that I’ve written.”
The program will be eclectic, which reflects the various projects with which Kotche is involved. He performs solo and also spends time writing and touring with the rock band Wilco and experimental jazz duo On Fillmore.
Balancing residencies and solo performances with other creative projects allows Kotche to do more than just play the drums. His commissioned pieces for artists like the Kronos Quartet have allowed him to branch out and experiment with what he loves: “If I keep it about what I'm passionate about - rhythm - then I think I can write honest pieces that are probably going to be different than what most composers write about.”
In all facets of his work, Kotche enjoys the way that a challenging piece allows him to grow as a drummer, percussionist, and composer. “The ones that are hard end up being the ones you look forward to.”
Ultimately, Kotche seeks to work on projects that allow him to do more than think of a drum solo as simply a “technical display of facility.” His interest in the performance of music beyond the drum solo will be evident on Thursday, which will have some multimedia features incorporated into the performance.
Kotche said he hopes to do more multimedia work in the future, incorporating visual elements with his music and expanding his drum kit to include more homemade percussive elements. He sees an opportunity for exploration as a solo artist, but Wilco fans need not be worried. Kotche anticipates working with the rest of the band later this year, and sees room for creative growth.
“There’s a lot of records we could make that we haven’t... I would love to make something with Wilco that’s radically different from the records we’ve made, as much as I love those records,” he said.
You can see Glenn Kotche perform with the Syracuse University Percussion Ensemble in Setnor Auditorium in Crouse College at 8 p.m. this Thursday March 7. The event is free and open to the public.