Sõ Percussion (from left) Josh Quillen, Jason Treuting, Eric Beach and Adam Sliwinski. Photo courtesy of Sõ Percussion.

Under music director Peter Askim, the Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra’s annual spring New Music Concert is very often just that — new, very new. Askim regularly premieres works that are groundbreaking, challenging, and shake up the musical sensibilities of audiences. The Saturday, April 28, campus concert is no exception, featuring three world premieres and one West Coast premiere that promise a vibrant mix of musical voices, styles, approaches, and guest artists. Sõ Percussion, the four-man New York City percussion ensemble will bang, strike, tear and hit almost anything corporeal that can make a sound. The other guest performer, Richard Thompson, will sing of things noncorporeal in an eerie suite of songs about things phantasmagorical.

Thompson, reviewed by Rolling Stone Magazine as, “the greatest guitarist in British folk rock,” will present his orchestral suite, “Interviews with Ghosts,” with texts taken from actual medium-conducted interviews with the dead.

Sõ Percussion, called by Billboard Magazine an “experimental powerhouse” will present the West Coast premiere of member Jason Treuting’s “Oblique Music for 4 Plus (blank).” “We try to make the audience a part of our shows whether they like it or not,” said Sõ’s Josh Quillen in interview. “Everyone walks through the same door, so [our performances] are a weird group meditation [of performer-audience involvement].” He described how once they started a big hugging chain that went throughout the audience as part of a performance.

“There was this incredible sound and it was fun to watch. Sometimes we’ll ask them [the audience] to hum pitches or to shake their keys,” Quillen said.

Sõ Percussion will also join the IAA Orchestra in a world premiere of the orchestral version of John Cage’s “Credo in Us.” written in 1942. “Credo,” was originally scored for a pianist and two percussionists who strike a variety of objects. A fourth performer operates a radio and a phonograph. Cage suggested in notes that the phonograph should sample “classic” pieces such as Sibelius or Beethoven and that the radio should tune to any station but a news program so as to avoid announcements of “national emergencies” in post-Pearl Harbor United States. Askim premieres the orchestral version of Cage’s piece, with the IAA Orchestra substituting for phonograph sampling and Sõ Percussion playing the part of the radio.

Askim regularly notches concert coups by commissioning new works, importing nationally known guest artists and in consistently eliciting high quality performances from his international ensemble of student musicians. But it is his spring new music concert that is especially compelling because of its wealth of innovation.

Askim is a world-recognized new music composer and will premiere his own compostion, “Elsewhere.” His works have been commissioned and premiered by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, the Honolulu Symphony, the International Society of Bassists, the Yale Symphony Orchestra and the Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra. Also on the program is the world premiere of Chinese composer Chen Yi’s “Tone Poem.” “Chen Yi was in the first graduating class [from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing] after the Cultural Revolution,” noted Askim. “Her music is both western and Chinese.

“I’m incredibly excited about the diversity of music on this program and the amazing level of world class soloists and composers participating,” he said. “Any one of these soloists or composers on a concert would be fantastic and to have all at once is a musical dream come true.”

The Idyllwild Arts Academy Orchestra New Music Concert is free to the public and takes place at the campus IAF Theater at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 28.