RS transparentthe official blog of the Percussive Arts Society

New Music/Research Presents² Sophie Chin performs Carolyn Chen's “What We Swallow Turns Around”

May 2, 2022, 08:00 AM by Rhythm Scene Staff

Sophie Chin is a percussionist and a composer based out of Seattle, Washington. They bridge the gap between performer and composer through creating improv works that transcend the boundary of composition, as well as developing working relationships with composers and commissioning new works for percussion with a focus on singing/speaking percussion. They bring focus, quiet intensity, and emotional resonance to both old and new percussion works, including their own.

Of the work, Sophie says, "It’s hard to explain why this piece pushed me out of my comfort zone so much. I enjoy very focused, deliberate playing, yet there was something about the minutiae of “What We Swallow Turns Around” that took a lot of time and intention to get right. Each of these miniscule actions requires focus and a sort of presence that’s hard to tap into. Not only did each action need prep time to get the technique right (practicing spinning tops or rolling couscous), but the space between actions and how I carried myself was even more important. I wanted to play with the balance between efficiency and intentionality in how I moved and interacted with the piece. Often as percussionists we strive for efficiency—tuning timpani pedals during rests, changing mallets as quickly and quietly as possible, etc. Yet this piece wants a sort of deliberation, focusing only on the action in front of you and not what comes after. I encourage an exploration of this balance between intentionality and efficiency, not only in Chen’s work, but also in everything else — in music, in work, in play."

To learn more about Carolyn Chen visit her website at

New Music/Research Presents² is a new series for the PAS Rhythm! Scene blog. This is a continuation of the New Music/Research committee’s curatorial work for PASIC and aims to highlight up-and-coming percussionists' work (video or audio recordings, new compositions, and research). If you would like to be featured, please submit a downloadable link of your work via this form:

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