Bob Becker: Blog

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 »

The Drag/Ruff Dilemma

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In May, 2011, John Wooton sent an email to many of his drumming friends and colleagues. In it he posed some questions about how to name a basic and historic rudiment. One of the first to respond was Dennis Delucia. There has followed a very interesting and entertaining email debate and discussion about this topic,… 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 »

September in Japan

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I spent nearly the entire month of September, 2010 in Japan. I arrived in Osaka on the 5th and immediately began rehearsals with NEXUS and the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra. Maestro Yutaka Sado conducted the program, which featured NEXUS performing Toru Takemitsu’s From me flows what you call Time, and Gustav Holst’s The Planets…. Read more »

Tenth Annual Ragtime Xylophone Institute, 2010

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The tenth anniversary session of the Bob Becker Ragtime Xylophone Institute was held from August 2 through 7, 2010 at the University of Delaware in Newark, DE. This year’s participants, left to right in the photo, were: Mike Correa, Paul Bernard, Dwayne Corbin, Chris Hogan, Ryan Lewis, Bob, Harvey Price, Julia Ross, Mike Franklin, Sam… Read more »

Super Percussion – Tokyo Music Joy, 1988

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Garry recently posted on YouTube three excerpts from a concert called Super Percussion, presented as part of the Tokyo Music Joy festival in 1988. It was the fourth annual Music Joy festival, produced by Toru Takemitsu and Koinuma Music, and sponsored by the Seibu-Saison Group in Tokyo. The four-day festival was organized around a jazz… Read more »

Spring Activities, 2010

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On April 1, 2010 I was able to spend a day at the Malletech Company facilities in Neptune, NJ. I had discussions with Leigh Stevens regarding the new Malletech rosewood snare drum stick line, and in particular the design for my signature model (these should be appearing soon). We also discussed some new publications, and… 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 »

Wisconsin, Cymbals, and Prepared Drums – February, 2010

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During the week of February 14, 2010 I made visits to two schools in the University of Wisconsin network – UW Stevens Point and UW Madison. I was lucky with the weather as I had to connect through Detroit going and coming back, and at this time of year in the northeast, the more airports… 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 »

Ninth Annual Ragtime Xylophone Institute, 2009

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This year (2009) the Bob Becker Ragtime Xylophone Institute was held from July 27 through August 1. It was our ninth year for this annual event held at the University of Delaware in Newark, DE. The participants, pictured in the photo (left to right) were: Bob, Warren Dewey, Valerie Vassar, Zachary Nandapurkar, Harvey Price, Doug… Read more »

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