Bob Becker: Articles and Interviews

Andrew Feldman – An Appreciation

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I first met Andrew Feldman at PASIC in 1981. For several years beginning in the late 1970s he manned a small booth at the conventions, and advertised his sticks and mallets in the classifieds at the back of Percussive Notes. I bought a number of bass drum beaters and tam tam mallets from his display… Read more »

SEA TO SEA (La Mer and cymbals)

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When my touring schedule permits, I often play in the percussion section of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra. Hamilton, Ontario is a thriving city about 70 km southwest of Toronto. The HPO is a fine orchestra with a long history. The original Canadian Brass was formed by members of the orchestra’s great brass section in 1970…. Read more »

Xylophone vs. Marimba: more thoughts.

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In April, 2013 I received an email from Jesse Strauss, a student at Belmont University, asking for my thoughts about an article by Vida Chenoweth in which she reached some conclusions about the terms ‘xylophone’ and ‘marimba’. I have discussed the distinctions that differentiate these terms in clinics, as well as in the Xylorimba article… Read more »

Recent composing

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I had a very intense spring season, with NEXUS performances in California, Arkansas, Georgia, Ohio and New York, as well as extended solo tours of my own in Ohio, Indiana and Arizona. Usually I am unable to compose while traveling, and also I find it difficult to work creatively on writing projects without having at… Read more »

Answers to questions about the beginning of NEXUS

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In December, 2011 I received a request from Yale graduate student Victor Caccese to answer a few questions about how NEXUS began and developed. VC: Mr. Becker, I mainly wanted to ask you about the start of NEXUS with your first performances in 1971. Even though all of its members have accomplished a great deal… Read more »

Answers to questions about New-thaan

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In March, 2010, I received a request from graduate student Bruce Salyers to answer some questions about my drum solo New-thaan, which is included in NEXUS Portfolio for Snare Drum, published by HoneyRock. Bill Cahn recently posted his answers to similar questions about some of the pieces in Portfolio, and so I thought it might… Read more »

NEXUS, Cage and Ewazen: answers to questions by Daniel Smithiger

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Last year (2009) percussionist Daniel Smithiger asked the members of NEXUS to answer a number of interesting questions for an interview now posted on the Percussive Notes magazine. Below are my answers to a few of Daniel’s questions. DS: Of what things are you most proud, in the accomplishments and history of NEXUS? BB: I… Read more »

George Lawrence Stone’s STICK CONTROL

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George Lawrence Stone’s Stick Control for the Snare Drummer first appeared in 1935. With a terse two-page introduction followed by a mere 21 pages of what he called “practice rhythms”, Stone unleashed a new and powerful method of technical development for all styles of drumming. The “HOW TO PRACTICE” page alone is worth the price… Read more »

Bob’s interview with Justin DeHart

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Dear Bob, It was great to talk to you the other day, and have the opportunity to hang out with you while here in Banff. Thanks again for your willingness to answer some questions for my doctoral dissertation and larger project to collect anecdotes and interviews from various important senior/accomplished percussionists in our field. Your… Read more »

Bob’s interview with Gene Koshinski (re two-mallet performance)

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My name is Gene Koshinski, Professor of Percussion at University of Minnesota Duluth. I am currently finishing a document as my final step to completing my doctoral degree at The Hartt School in Hartford, CT. The title of my paper is: “From West Africa, through Vaudeville, to the Concert Hall: The Evolution of Two-Mallet Keyboard… Read more »

Panel Discussion at PASIC, 2008

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For those of you who did not make it to PASIC 08, or for those who did and could not attend this event on Friday, the world panel discussion: “Early Pioneers of World Music in the Field of Western Percussion” with John Bergamo, Emil Richards, and me can be viewed in a six-part posting on… Read more »

Answers to questions about Rain Tree, by Toru Takemitsu

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Last year (2008), percussionist Dan Heagney sent an email to NEXUS with a question about the lighting effects in Rain Tree, by Toru Takemitsu. Here is his question and my response. DH: I was hoping you could help me with Takemitsu’s Rain Tree. I’m getting ready for a performance of the piece, but am having… Read more »

Answers to questions about “minimalist music” and Steve Reich

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Nancy Uscher is currently Provost of the California Institute of the Arts. The following correspondence involved questions from her daughter, Alessandra Barrett, now a student at CalArts, regarding the term “minimalist music” and my association with the composer Steve Reich. December 1, 2008 Dear Bob: I think I mentioned that Alessandra (my daughter) had decided… Read more »

Bob’s interview with Shannon Wood

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The following excerpt is from an interview with Shannon Wood, originally published in the Artist Insight section of the July, 2005 issue of Mallet Shop Quarterly. MSQ: Two names come to mind when one thinks of virtuoso xylophone playing: the late George Hamilton Green and Bob Becker. Bob has raised the bar of xylophone soloing… Read more »

Bob’s interview with Lindsay Haughton

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Hi Bob, Following are the questions I’d like you to answer. You may take your time – the paper isn’t due until December 11th, 2007. As a percussionist, you often play music and musical instruments from around the world. What are your thoughts on performing music that is not part of your culture? This is… Read more »

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