Sonic Boom Duo
Dr. Yuri McCoy, is a recent graduate of the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University in Houston, Texas, where he studied with organist Ken Cowan. Currently, he works as organist at South Main Baptist Church, in Houston. Yuri is equally adept at both piano and organ, and is especially passionate about music of the 20th and 21st centuries. Whether it is Ligeti’s Etudes on piano or his daring transcription of Varese's massive orchestral tone poem, Amériques, performed with percussionist Brady Spitz, Yuri enjoys the opportunity to share less familiar masterworks with audiences. During the summer of 2019, Yuri performed a transcription of Lutoslawski's piano concerto alongside pianist Yvonne Chen at the Spoleto Music Festival. He also supports the music of living composers, premiering most recently, Theo Chandler's Space Poem (2020) for organ and percussion and, in 2006 premiered Voices of the Invisible Blue Butterflies by Vach Sharafyan at the SoundSCAPE music festival in Cortona, Italy.
Dr. Yuri McCoy
Sonic Boom is an ensemble that seeks to harness the inherent tension between two seemingly disparate instruments - organ and percussion. This tension manifests itself in a hyper-spatialized sonic world that calls upon extremes in dynamics, articulation, and timbre to create vivid colors and tell compelling stories through sound.
Both organ and percussion have a rich history of transcription, and it is from this place that the duo builds their repertoire. Their concert pieces range from exciting transcriptions of Gershwin and Bach to their provocative and ambitious showstopping rendition of Edgard Varèse’s Amériques, which boils the original 122-player orchestral score down to two players plus an assistant. There are a scant few pieces written for organ and percussion, so the duo is aggressively commissioning repertoire to expand this medium. The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has postponed several of their concerts dedicated to premiering new works for organ and percussion, including a headlining event at the Auckland Town Hall in Auckland, New Zealand.
Sonic Boom is comprised of Drs. Yuri McCoy and Brady Spitz. Yuri McCoy is organist for South Main Baptist Church in Houston and has established himself as a champion of new and unusual music. Recent projects include a newly released disc on the ACIS label entitled Symphonic Roar: An Odyssey of Sound from the Paris Conservatoire and a series of videos culminating in a recording of William Bolcom’s rarely performed masterpiece Black Host, complete with a claymation narrative. Bolcom lauded the performance as “thrilling,” adding that the claymation “helps the apocalyptic mood mixed with the fun in equal measure.”
Brady Spitz is on the faculty at Houston Baptist University and a freelance percussionist and drum set artist in Houston. He also has extensive experience with contemporary percussion and chamber music in a diverse group of performance situations, working with contemporary art music collectives like Musiqa and accompanying Broadway star Idina Menzel. He has also performed at the Percussive Arts Society’s International Conventions in 2005, 2008, and as a featured soloist in 2009. As an orchestral musician, he has performed with the Houston Symphony, Hawaii Symphony, and Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, among many others. His recent research has led him to help curate and commission new works for the composer Lou Harrison’s long-dormant microtonal American Gamelan instruments.