Unsnared Drum

I’m excited to announce a new project dedicated to pushing the limit what’s possible with the snare drum. Over the next year four of America’s most interesting composers—Nina C. Young, Hannah Lash, Tonia Ko, and Amy Beth Kirsten—will collaborate with me on new works for snare drum solo with or without electronics or video.  These four composers will expand the expressive potential of this underutilized instrument through dramatic, sensitive, creative, and multi-media solos. In the process, we will change the way that people think about, listen to, perform, and practice the snare drum.

I love the snare drum.  While I perform frequently on myriad percussion instruments, I’ve always (moderately) comfortable playing the snare drum, and the instrument forms a significant part of my playing and teaching.  Yet, the snare drum’s identity as a solo instrument is constrained by its history as a militaristic time-keeper.  I believe the snare drum is a vast horizon, both an unexplored taxonomy of sounds and a playground for percussionists’ most subtle and refined techniques.    


As Amy, Nina, Tonia, Hannah and I work together over the next year, we will shine a light on our collaborative process, we will posting video and audio of our explorations, written reflections of our work together, and all sorts of snare drum related miscellany. 

Thanks to Vic Firth, each of the composers will have an assortment of sticks, mallets, and other implements with which to experiment as they write. I’m also grateful for the support of Pearl Drums, whose drums the composers will be exploring over the next year.  

Stay Up to Date

This fall, I’m partnering with Second Inversion to showcase some of our workshopping activities.  In the meantime, stay up to date here, and through Instagram (#unsnareddrum).