Since 1999, SŌ Percussion has been creating music that explores all the extremes of emotion and musical possibility. Called an "experimental powerhouse" by the Village Voice, "astonishing and entrancing" by Billboard Magazine, and "brilliant" by the New York Times, the Brooklyn-based quartet's innovative work with today's most exciting composers and their own original music has quickly helped them forge a unique and diverse career. Excitement about composers like John Cage, Steve Reich, and Iannis Xenakis - as well as the sheer fun of playing together - inspired the members of SŌ to begin performing together while students at the Yale School of Music. A blind call to David Lang, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer and co-founder of New York's Bang on a Can, yielded their first commissioned piece, the so-called laws of nature. SŌ's recording of the so-called laws of nature became the cornerstone of their self-titled debut album on Cantaloupe Music (the record label from the founders of Bang on a Can).
Voices of Change is the Southwest's premiere professional chamber music ensemble dedicated to the performance of music of our time. Now in its 36th year, Voices of Change fills a unique niche in the music world by performing small ensemble works by 20th and 21st century composers, encouraging and preserving the impulse of musical creativity and imagination.
Founded in 1974 by pianist Jo Boatright and clarinetist Ross Powell, Voices of Change is one of the longest-lived and most distinguished new music ensembles in the United States. In 1999, Voices of Change was a finalist for the prestigious Grammy Award for Best Performance by a Small Classical Ensemble. The CD, Voces Americanas, features works of five living composers of Hispanic descent. The Grammy nomination is a first for any Dallas/Fort Worth area chamber music ensemble. Voices of Change has been awarded the annual ASCAP Award for Adventuresome Programming an unprecedented five times and has recorded LPs and CDs on the CRI, Crystal, Innova, Albany, Centaur, and Redwood labels.
A member of the Yaqui people of southern Arizona, Gabriel Ayala is at the forefront of a new generation of Native Americans making a career performing classical music. He began playing the guitar as a child. He earned a Master's Degree in Music Performance from the University of Arizona in 1997, has taught at all educational levels from elementary through college, and serves as a competition adjudicator. Although Gabriel truly enjoys being a teacher his busy touring schedule allows him to only teach in masterclass settings.
Ayala performs regularly throughout the United States and has appeared at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, National Museum for the American Indian, ASU Kerr Cultural Center and Oscar Meyer Theater in Madison, Wisconsin. He has been recognized by the former State of Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, now Director of Homeland Security, for his musical achievements.
Gabriel was selected as one of ten musicians featured in "Native Musicians in the Groove" highlighting stories of musicians in their struggles while persevering with a career in music. He also has been featured in several media publications such as "Native Peoples", "Indian Country Today", "SAY Magazine" (Canadian and United States Editions), "Spirit of the Southwest (German Publication)", "Native America Calling", "Canadian Broadcasting Corporation" and numerous others.
Ayala has released three self-distributed albums: "Self Titled" in 2003, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" in 2007 and "Tango!" in 2008. He has also been a featured artist on several other CD releases. Gabriel signed with record label Canyon Records to release their first classical CD, "Portraits" on Canyon Records Explorer Series- Classical. The Explorer Series is the new sub label developed by Canyon to be able to feature Native Americans performing music outside of the traditional genre. Gabriel has been breaking stereotypes amongst Native and Non-Native people by performing classical, jazz, flamenco, and new compositions of his own. In 2009, Gabriel was nominated and performed in the Indian Summer Music Awards, Native American Music Awards, Aboriginal People Choice Awards, and the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. He led the Native American Music Awards (NAMMY's) with the most nominations and received Best Instrumental CD for "Tango!". Gabriel received many accolades in this year alone including the honor of sharing the stage with Motown living legends The Four Tops and The Temptations.