Iktus Duo performs

woman plays flute

Originally from Buglaria, Hristina Blagoeva was the first in her family to abandon the violin
and take up the flute as an instrument. 
The Lion's Roar / Heather Jewell

When a conductor of an orchestra is waving his hands, there is an imaginary line that he is using to ‘bounce’ his hand off of, almost like a table top. This imaginary table line is called an iktus, and its purpose is to help him maintain precision in his movements. This inspired the name of the musical group that visited Southeastern University this past week.

Iktus Duo performed in Pottle Auditorium following a workshop they conducted earlier that day for the music students enrolled in Instructor of theory and composition, Dr. Philip Schuessler’s master class. The duo consists of Chris Graham on percussion and Hristina Blagoeva on the flute. 

The two traveled all the way from New York City and conducted a series of visits to various universities where they hosted educational workshops followed by a performance free to the public. Southeastern was the duo’s final stop before returning home up north.

Both Graham and Blagoeva have teaching experience with emerging young artists; Graham works with student composers and percussion ensembles while at Suny Purchase and Cuny Brooklyn College as an artist-in-residence. Likewise, Blagoeva is a flute and theory instructor at several teaching institutions such as the University of Texas, University of Houston and Stony Brook University.

“It was great, they went for it. It was quite experimental,” said Blagoeva on the students’ reactions to the day’s events.

Those invited to perform with Iktus Duo were the students who attended the workshop on musical improvisation earlier in the day. For many of these aspiring musicians, this was a new experience since most of them are used to reading and playing traditional music in their studies. Among them is graduate student Geneva Gálvez, who played the flute.

“I am usually performing classical music. This was a very different, but enjoyable experience,” said Gálvez.

They had a light rehearsal and Dr. Schuessler compared the workshop to a meet and greet between the students and Iktus Duo.

“It’s almost liberating for them, like ‘hey, this is a playground where I can improvise,’ and I think they got a lot out of it,” said Schuessler, “It was a great chance [for the students] to meet professional performers and not only to learn their technique but to also see how they react to one another.”

At the workshop, they were given pages with nontraditional music scores to follow. There were few notations and they were given an estimated length of the piece they would perform. A note to begin was decided as well as a note to end on. They would just pick up on the rhythmic motive of those near them, allowing the students to communicate through gestures.

“It led them to build something up from what was at first a timid sound,” said Schuessler. “This event was a raging success and we hope to do more things like it in the future.”

For more information on upcoming events related to the Fine and Performing Arts Department here on campus, contact the department head Kenneth Boulton via e-mail at [email protected] or check out the Fine and Performing Arts Department page at the university website.

For additional information on the Iktus Duo, take a visit to their website at iktuspercussion.com/iktus-duo.