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Andrew Bliss
University of Tennessee - Knoxville, Nief-Norf
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Andrew Bliss is a versatile percussionist, specializing in the performance and education of contemporary solo and chamber music. His work has been heard at the Banff Centre for the Arts (Canada), the Darmstadt International Summer Course for New Music (Germany), the Patagonia Percussion Festival (Argentina), the SEAMUS National Conference (IN), the LiveWire Festival (Baltimore, MD), the Intermedia Festival(Indianapolis, IN), and in Bangkok (Thailand).

Andrew is the Artistic Director of nief-norf, where he directs the annual Summer Festival & Research Summit and performs with the nief-norf Project, the organization’s contemporary chamber music ensemble. The group’s recent performance projects include evening-length offerings of John Luther Adams’ Strange & Sacred Noise and Michael Gordon’s Timber. The ensemble also regularly presents their work at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, including recent showcase performances of Christopher Adler’s Pines Long Slept in Sunshine, Mark Applebaum’s Straitjacket, and Steve Reich’s Six Marimbas for PAS’s 50th Anniversary Focus Day events.

Bliss’ active performance schedule frequently leads to collaborations with many of today’s leading composers. At the Banff Centre in 2009, Bliss participated in the world-premiere performance of John Luther Adam’s Inuksuit for 9 to 99 percussionists, later sharing in the US premiere at Furman University and in the New York City-based Make Music New York festival’s rendition at Morningside Park, in conjunction with Miller Theatre. In 2010, Bliss collaborated with multi-media artist John Pobojewski at Stanford University to realize composer Mark Applebaum’s The Metaphysics of Notation, a pictographic score consisting of 70 linear feet of evocative hand-drawn glyphs.

In 2012, Bliss was involved in the world-premiere of Matthew Burtner & Scott Deal’s Auksalaq, a telematic opera which uses mixed-media to incorporate fragmented and conflicting perspectives about the state of climate change as experienced in Alaska and the Arctic. Currently, Andrew is preparing a commissioned evening-length solo work entitled Constellations, in collaboration with composer and multimedia artist Christopher Burns and touring a solo program anchored by Christopher Adler’s Plenum Vortices.

Equally committed to education, Andrew spends a significant amount of time sharing the contemporary musical repertory with students. He has recently directed student performances of Iannis Xenakis’ Persephassa, conducted Stefano Gervasoni’s Bleu Jusqu’ua Blanc, and worked with composer Lewis Nielson while conducting his percussion sextet Tocsin. Bliss is the Assistant Professor of Percussion at the University of Tennessee, where he serves as Director of Percussion Studies and the conductor of the UT Contemporary Music Ensemble.

His research interests involve music and number as well as the trajectory of the percussion repertoire within sociological, historic, and cultural contexts. As such, the findings of his DMA document, which surrounded the music of David Lang, have been presented at the the 2nd International Conference on Music and Minimalism (Kansas City, MO) and in Zagreb, Croatia at the CMS International Conference.

He has been a featured presenter at the Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic, the National Conference on Percussion Pedagogy (NCPP), and at the Association for Technology in Music Instruction’s (ATMI) National Conference, an adjudicator at the Music for All National Percussion Festival, and serves the Percussive Arts Society as a member of the New Music Research and Music Technology committees and as President of the PAS Tennessee Chapter. Andrew received his DMA and MM in percussion performance from the University of Kentucky and his Bachelor’s degree from Northern Illinois University. He is proud to be a Yamaha Performing Artist and to have the generous support of Zildjian, Innovative Percussion, Evans Drumheads, Meinl Percussion, and Black Swamp Percussion Instruments and Accessories. A native of Milan, IL, Andrew’s percussion studies were mentored by James Campbell, Rich Holly, Robert Chappell, and Orlando Cotto.

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