Current Collaborations

Stay tuned for more information about current projects

Commissions

Commissioning and incubating new works from dynamic composers is at the core of my work. I work collaboratively with composers whose music I admire and whose friendship I value. Typically, we brainstorm ideas together and workshop material in the process of being composed, allowing me to have more of a creative voice in new works than I might otherwise.  As an artistic collaborator, I seek to help create works which are

  • Interpretable: where the musical decisions of the performer are essential, where replacing the performer with a pre-recorded track is detrimental, where different performers can go different directions with a piece.
  • Idiomatic: pieces that could have only been written for percussion.  Works that draw upon the unique characteristics of my instrument family, and highlight its uniqueness rather than foregrounding its weaknesses
  • Subversive: that cause you to rethink what you know about music, that challenge your expectations of what percussion can do and be.

Below are some of my favorites:

Solo Percussion

Unsnared Drum
Four new works for the snare drum from Tonia Ko, Nina Young, Hannah Lash, and Amy Kirsten, coming in 2019.
Read more here

Robert Honstein: Lost and Found
2018
Prepared marimba solo
I organized a consortium of 35 percussionists from around the country for a new piece from frequent collaborator Robert Honstein.  Scored for marimba with “junk” objects, the piece is heartwarming and whimsical.

Tonia Ko: Blue Skin of the Sea
2014
Marimba solo
A pathbreaking, genius work which dramatically expands the sonic and expressive potential of the marimba. Before Tonia, I didn’t know the marimba could sound like this! At the same time, Blue Skin is full of intuitive, poetic music.  Never before have I played a piece in which the performative techniques are so tied to the work’s acoustical and metaphorical inspirations.  Blue Skin is about how the marimba’s sound seems to hover above the instrument, the same way the “skin” of the ocean appears to exist above its surface.  The piece is based on a horizontality of sound and performance technique—I scrape, rustle, and jangle throughout. Commissioned by a consortium of 9 percussionists from around the world.
Watch it

James Wood: Secret Dialogues
2014
Marimba solo
Bird songs meet constellations in a pared down work from percussion guru James Wood. I participated in an international consortium for this piece.

David Crowell: Celestial Sphere
2013
Marimba and electronics
I was happy to join a consortium for a fantastic piece by David for marimba and pre-recorded marimbas.  
Ian Rosenbaum’s fantastic video

Christopher Cerrone: Memory Palace
2012
Percussion and electronics
Soon-to-be-classic work for percussion and electronics. I’m proud to have been part of the consortium, led by Owen Weaver to make this work a reality.
Check out Ian Rosenbaum’s amazing recording!

Amy Kirsten: Empty Shell Girl
2007
Marimba solo
A solo about how we remember what we remember.  Soon to be released on an all-Amy disc.

New Morse Code:


David Crowell: Catharsis
2018
Cello, percussion, and pre-recorded cello/percussion
David’s signature rhythmic vitality+a dreamy, aching soundscape.  New Morse Code organized a consortium of 18 percussionists and cellists to commission the piece, which can be performed by a single duo or more.

Thomas Kotcheff: 8D$
2018
The result of a week at Avaloch Farm, a 10-minute explosion inspired by marching snare drum, squirrel calls, and tiny tiny tiny woodblocks.
Video coming soon

Patrick van Deurzen: Three Scenes from ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’
2015
Music about art
Watch it here

Paul Kerekes: Trio in Two Parts
2012
Marimba, cello, and piano
Tightly wrapped, carefully wrought, easy to hear, fun to play.  Music for friends by a dear friend.
Listen to it here

Matthew Barnson: Vanitas
2015
Baroque dance-inspired mega piece full of clarity and wit from one of my favorite composers and thinkers. Vanitas was the result of a few workshops at Avaloch Farm Music Institute, and a long history of shared conversations about music and culture.
Recording coming soon!

Christopher Stark: The Language of Landscapes
2015
A conceptual work for cello, percussion and electronics which comments on human wastefulness and resourcefulness. Four abstract scenes,with a narrative created through juxtaposing sounds and concepts relating to what we perceive as “natural” and “synthetic.” Sonically, the work includes many attributes traditionally associated with the cello and percussion, but it also includes more unusual sounds: field recordings of water and wind and the performance of discarded objects like glass bottles, styrofoam, junk metal, and cardboard. Commissioned with generous support by Chamber Music America

Robert Honstein: Down Down Baby
2015
A tour-de-force work for two people, 1 cello, 2 woodblocks, 10 deskbells, and 2 plastic tubs.  
Watch it here

Robert Honstein: Unwind
2015
A study in floating polyrhythms.  Originally written for Hannah and myself, Robert soon expanded the piece into a flexible ensemble.
Listen here
Watch a video of the piece from Hannah Wasileski

Loren Loiacono: Gnarl
2015
Composed for NMC’s Kettlecorn New Music Shows in NYC and Ithaca.
Watch us make prepare by making popcorn here

Caroline Shaw: Boris Kerner
2013
Obbligato flowerpots+basso continuo+traffic theory.  One of NMC’s first commissions, and one of the first pieces for Hannah and Mike rather than cello and percussion
Watch it here

Tonia Ko: Hush
2012
Stunning duo which dramatically increased NMC’s collaborative potential.  One of our most sensitive and musical works, the first work we commissioned which felt like it was for us .
Watch it here

The Triplepoint Project

In 2017, NMC asked classijazz superfriends Triplepoint Trio to compose works performable by a duo or with our complete forces. The three pieces were developed at Avaloch and premiered at the University of Kansas.

Sam Suggs: Origen Jaw
Cello and vibraphone
2017
An alien hears the “Men’s House Song” from the Voyager record and extrapolates an entire culture.  Featuring Sam’s acoustically-centered extended techniques shrunk down to cello size.

Jonny Allen: Icarus
Cello and percussion OR bass, cello, 3 percussion
2017
Beautiful melodic writing from one of my favorite drummers

Doug Perry: Shattered Structure
2017
An exercise in symmetry.
Watch it here

Other Chamber Music

Martin Bresnick: A Message from the Emperor
2009
Two speaking percussionists
Proud to be part of the consortium for a major duo from one of my musical idols
Listen to our recording here