Sandbox Percussion to bring Celebrated Seven Pillars to Yale Schwarzman Center

Press Release

Sandbox Percussion; Photo: Kjell van Slice

On February 4, 2023, Yale Schwarzman Center (YSC) is pleased to present GRAMMY®-nominated ensemble Sandbox Percussion performing Seven Pillars, an interdisciplinary commission by GRAMMY®-nominated and Pulitzer Prize finalist composer Andy Akiho (Yale, ’11 MM). Hailed by The New York Times as “a lush, brooding celebration of noise,” Akiho’s Seven Pillars is his most ambitious project to date and features lighting design by Michael Joseph McQuilken (Yale, ’11 CDR) in coordination with the music, as performed by Sandbox Percussion. This event will take place in Commons and is free and open to the public. Registration is now open at

Seven Pillars is structured as a large-scale palindrome and consists of seven ensemble movements and one solo movement for each member of Sandbox Percussion, all of whom are Yale graduates. McQuilken's lighting scheme reinforces the work's form throughout the theatrical live performance. Performed by Sandbox, this evening-length work is the largest-scale chamber music work that Akiho has written, and that Sandbox has commissioned. Akiho and Sandbox's ongoing collaboration for Seven Pillars has spanned the past eight years. The success of Seven Pillars has resulted in sold-out shows internationally, including a sold-out run at Théâtre du Châtelet with LA Dance Project. 

Seven Pillars is notable in its structure, lighting, and sound, and we’re pleased to make this groundbreaking work accessible to both our students and the broader community,” said YSC’s new Executive Director Rachel Fine. “I am eager to see people across New Haven engage with the variety of performing arts in our spring 2023 lineup and share in the power of live performance.”

Described as “exhilarating” (New York Times) and “utterly mesmerizing” (The Guardian), GRAMMY®-nominated ensemble Sandbox Percussion brings out the best in composers through their unwavering dedication to artistry in contemporary chamber music. Sandbox captivates audiences with performances that are both visually and aurally stunning, solidifying them as leaders in the fields of contemporary music and percussion. Brought together by their love of chamber music and the simple joy of playing together, Jonathan Allen (Yale '13 MM, '14 AD), Victor Caccese (Yale '13 MM), Ian Rosenbaum (Yale '10 MM, '11 AD), and Terry Sweeney (Yale '15 MM) engage a wider audience for classical music through multidisciplinary collaborations with today’s leading artists.

Andy Akiho is a “trailblazing” (Los Angeles Times) Pulitzer Prize finalist and GRAMMY®-nominated composer whose bold works unravel intricate and unexpected patterns while surpassing preconceived boundaries of classical music. Known as “an increasingly in-demand composer” (The New York Times), Akiho has earned international acclaim for his large-scale works that emphasize the natural theatricality of live performance. He is the only composer to be nominated for a GRAMMY in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category in both 2022 and 2023.