Bill Cahn: Blog

Creative Music Making in Buffalo – Part 1, October 17, 2012

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On Wednesday, October 17 I had the pleasure of presenting the first of two  “Creative Music Making” workshops at Buffalo State College.  The 2-1/2- hour session on freeform improvisation was based on my book “Creative Music Making” (Routledge, 2005) and it was the result of an invitation from Bradley Fuster, a member of the BSC… Read more »

Tim Genis visits Eastman – September 20, 2012

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One of the advantages of being associated with a major conservatory like the Eastman School is the ability to regularly connect with visiting guest artists from all over the world. Such a visit occurred on Thursday, September 20, 2012 when Tim Genis, the timpanist of the Boston Symphony came to Eastman to present a two-hour… Read more »

Muster in Deep River, Connecticut – July 20 & 21, 2012

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For many years I have thought about attending a New England Fife and Drum muster, but it wasn’t until I was personally invited to one that I made a place on my calendar to do it.  The invitation to attend the 59th Annual Deep River Ancient Muster came from Jim Smith, the founder of the… Read more »

ROCHESTER’S CLASSIC PERCUSSION – Part 2

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A Short History of the Percussion Section of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra – 1922 to 1995 By William L. Cahn Part 2 – 1930 to 1959 The 1930s By the year 1930, the medium of silent movies encountered a rapid decline in popularity due to the advent of “talking” pictures with sound tracks.  The Eastman… Read more »

ROCHESTER’S CLASSIC PERCUSSION – Part 3

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A Short History of the Percussion Section of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra – 1922 to 1995 By William L. Cahn Part 3 – 1960 to 1979 The 1960s The 1960s was a decade of many changes in the orchestra’s percussion section.  In 1962 John H. Beck became the timpanist of the Civic and Philharmonic orchestra’s… Read more »

ROCHESTER’S CLASSIC PERCUSSION – Part 4

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A Short History of the Percussion Section of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra – 1922 to 1995 By William L. Cahn Part 4 – 1980 to (1995) The 1980s By the year 1980, the Rochester Philharmonic orchestra was presenting the following programs: a classical subscription series (broadcast regularly on local radio and occasionally on local television),… Read more »

ROCHESTER’S CLASSIC PERCUSSION – Part 1

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Eastman Theatre Orchestra - ca. 1923

A Short History of the Percussion Section of the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra – 1922 to 1995 By William L. Cahn This article was originally published in “Percussive Notes” magazine, Vol.30, No. 8, June, 1992.  New opportunities for NEXUS, including a new major work for NEXUS by Toru Takemitsu, “From me flows what you call Time,”… Read more »

Instruments You Can’t Buy (Part 2 – NEXUS Repertoire)

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NEXUS has gone through years of repertoire for solo percussion, ensemble percussion, band and orchestra with percussion, and percussion with chamber groups of all sizes.  To this day, virtually every piece has presented problems to solve requiring the construction of instrument support stands or even of instruments themselves, not to mention special kinds of sticks… Read more »

Instruments You Can’t Buy (Part 1 – Orchestra Repertoire)

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Much of the time that I have spent as a percussionist, even dating back to high school days in the 1960s, has been devoted to problem solving – not “how do I play that?” but rather, “how do I make it easier to play that?”  Addressing this problem has often required more than simply practicing… Read more »

Alexander Millener (1760-1865) – A Drummer’s Life

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The Story of George Washington’s Drummer Boy   Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York is the burial place of Alexander Millener, who served in the Continental Army as a drummer boy attached to George Washington’s Life Guard. After the War he was a farmer living at Adam’s Basin [now, Ogden, NY].  He died at… Read more »

NEXUS – Zwilich – Percussion Rochester

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On May 5, 2012, as part of the new “Percussion Rochester” festival, NEXUS performed Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s “Rituals for Five Percussionists and Orchestra” with the Eastman Philharmonia, conducted by Neil Varon. The Zwilich piece was premiered by NEXUS in 2005 and shortly thereafter recorded by NEXUS with the IRIS Orchestra under the direction of Michael… Read more »

A Lot of Snow and A Little “Madness” in Sweden

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It has been a very mild winter in western New York so far in the 2011/2012 season. The temperatures have been in the 40s for extended periods. February had the highest number of days (25) ever recorded in which there was a temperature above freezing at some point during the day. Snowfall totals have been… Read more »

Creative Music Making Course – spring 2012

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Eastman School of Music – January 17 to February 28, 2012 This was the second  year in which I facilitated a Creative Music Making (CMM) course as part of the Eastman School’s Arts Leadership Program.  As in the first year (2011) the course consisted of seven weekly 2-hour-long sessions focused on freeform improvisation based on my… Read more »

Showa Repertoire – December, 2011

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My eleventh residency at the Showa Music Academy in Kawasaki since 1998 included: * performance on a gala percussion concert in the academy’s opera house (Teatro Giglio) * 44 private lessons * 11 small ensemble coaching sessions * 1 Creative Music Making (freeform improvisation) workshop * 1 videotaped interview for students in the English language… Read more »

Showa Residency – 2011, Part 2

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On Sat. Dec. 11 at the end of the first week of my residency at Showa,  I woke up and 7 AM and worked on my computer for several hours.  It was a free day with no lessons and only rehearsals scheduled for the afternoon.  From noon until 5 PM I was involved in a… Read more »

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