Posts By: Bob Becker

Rubber Duckie

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In June 2016 NEXUS performed a concert in the lovely seaside town of Rockport, MA. On the morning of the event, as we were having breakfast, someone mentioned a duck race was in progress right there in Rockport. I was intrigued, and also disappointed that I didn’t know about it earlier, as I would have… Read more »

Bob’s interview with Jonny Smith regarding Steve Reich and Musicians

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In October 2020 percussionist Jonny Smith asked me a series of questions regarding my experience with the music of Steve Reich, and my relationship with his ensemble. Jonny interviewed other members of Reich’s ensemble as well, and wrote a paper: “Relationship and Community in the Creative Process: The Steve Reich and Musicians Ensemble”, which is… Read more »

Bob’s interview with Antti Ohenoja and N.A.R.D. Finland

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In January 2021 percussionist Antti Ohenoja asked if I would answer a series of questions about drum rudiments from members of the N.A.R.D. in Finland. The original National Association of Rudimental Drummers was organized in the United States in 1933, and was responsible for choosing the “thirteen essential rudiments” still taught and practiced today. I… Read more »

Vocal Chamber Music of Bob Becker

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In February 2020, just before live concert music disappeared due to COVID, I was able to present two concerts of my vocal chamber music in Toronto. The first, on February 4th, was part of the Canadian Opera Company’s Vocal/Chamber Music Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre; and the second, on February 6th, was included in… Read more »

Bob’s Interview with Mark Reilly

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In June, 2020 I received a series of questions from SGM Mark Reilly, rudimental champion, composer and Corps Sergeant Major of the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps. Mark’s questions and my answers follow. MR. Who was your first big inspiration and why? BB. I should say that my first teacher, James S…. Read more »

Bob’s Interview with Lin KaiPo

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In August, 2020 I received a series of questions from percussionist Lin KaiPo regarding my piece Never in Word (1998). Below are Lin’s questions and my answers. LK. When notating percussion instruments that are transposed (bells and crotales) do you ever question whether you should write the actual sounding pitch instead of the traditional lower… Read more »

Time in the Rock – Travails of a Composer

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Tragedy. “A drama typically involving a person destined to experience downfall or destruction, as through a character flaw, or conflict with some overpowering force such as fate or an unyielding society.” Hubris. “An extreme and unreasonable feeling of self-confidence.” Posthumous. “Published after the death of the author.” In May of 2001 I began work on… Read more »

The Solo Snare Drum: Bob’s interview with Jonathan Curtis

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  In September 2020 I was invited by British percussionist Jonathan Curtis to take part in his snare drum research project. Details about his work can be viewed HERE. Jonathan was particularly interested in some of the ideas in my book Rudimental Arithmetic, as well as more generally about composing music for solo snare drum…. Read more »

Eight Etudes for Snare Drum

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This month – October, 2020 – Keyboard Percussion Publications released a new edition of my Eight Etudes for Snare Drum. The etudes included in the collection were composed during 2005 and 2006, and formed the seventh and final part of Rudimental Arithmetic – A Drummer’s Study of Pattern and Rhythm, published by KPP in 2008…. Read more »

More from Bob’s Archive (Part 9)

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Following Nexus’ first concert tour to Japan in 1976 my friend and colleague Bill Cahn composed two major works: Nara, for solo percussionist; and In Ancient Temple Gardens, for xylophonist/percussionist and chamber orchestra. Bill himself premiered the latter piece in 1977 with the Rochester Chamber Orchestra. Nexus celebrated its tenth anniversary during 1981/82 with a… Read more »

More from Bob’s Archive (Part 8)

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In 1988 the distinguished Canadian composer Norman Symonds (1920 – 1998) wrote a duet for accordion and marimba titled El Duo. The brilliant accordionist Joseph Petric and I premiered the piece at The Music Gallery in Toronto, and then recorded it in 2001. El Duo is included on Petric’s CD “Orbiting Garden”, released on the… Read more »

More from Bob’s Archive (Part 7)

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In 2003 Nexus was able to commission a new work from the distinguished Canadian composer Christos Hatzis through a grant from the Laidlaw Foundation. We premiered his piece Four Rituals for Percussion Quintet, Chorus and Audience in December, 2004 on the Faculty Artists Series at the University of Toronto. The piece is in four movements:… Read more »

More from Bob’s Archive (Part 6)

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In February, 2004 Frank Epstein invited me to be a soloist on the New England Conservatory Percussion Ensemble’s “Rendezvous in Rhythm” concert. Along with three of my xylophone medley arrangements I played my piece Palta in the revised version for tabla solo with 6 percussion players, piano and electric bass. Also on the program was… Read more »

More from Bob’s Archive (Part 5)

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In 1982 I was able to organize a commission for a new work from the distinguished Canadian composer John Hawkins. His piece Dance Variations is included on the NEXUS CD Rune, which was released in 1997. The recording was made by the Westdeutscher Rundfunk in Köln, Germany following a concert there by NEXUS in July… Read more »

More from Bob’s Archive (Part 4)

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Prisoners of the Image Factory In 1991 I composed the soundtrack for a short film by Toronto director James Stewart. It was the first opportunity I had to collaborate in this medium, and my first experience composing music to time code. The film, which was without dialogue, featured two teenaged actors portraying young lovers cavorting… Read more »

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