Stay tuned for more information about current projects
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:
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
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
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.
James Wood: Secret Dialogues
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
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
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
A solo about how we remember what we remember. Soon to be released on an all-Amy disc.
New Morse Code:
David Crowell: Catharsis
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$
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’
Music about art
Watch it here
Paul Kerekes: Trio in Two Parts
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
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
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
A tour-de-force work for two people, 1 cello, 2 woodblocks, 10 deskbells, and 2 plastic tubs.
Watch it here
Robert Honstein: Unwind
A study in floating polyrhythms. Originally written for Hannah and myself, Robert soon expanded the piece into a flexible ensemble.
Watch a video of the piece from Hannah Wasileski
Loren Loiacono: Gnarl
Composed for NMC’s Kettlecorn New Music Shows in NYC and Ithaca.
Watch us make prepare by making popcorn here
Caroline Shaw: Boris Kerner
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
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
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
Beautiful melodic writing from one of my favorite drummers
Doug Perry: Shattered Structure
An exercise in symmetry.
Watch it here
Other Chamber Music
Martin Bresnick: A Message from the Emperor
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