Confession of a Percussionist

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NEXUS Playing Cage’s Dance Music for Elfrid Credit: Donald Dietz, courtesy of The John Cage Trust Long ago I knew that music would be my future. I knew then that percussion specifically would be my passion. This all started in the fourth grade when I joined the school band. Through the years I’ve come to… Read more »

Recordings! Seminars! Premieres! & a Hall of Fame!

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It’s Spring – and a LOT is happening. Russell Hartenberger has been at Virginia Tech workshopping his new piece “Magic Time” commissioned by Escape Ten. Tonight (May 4th) is the premiere. The duo is performing “Magic Time” on marimba with a quintet (the Virginia Tech Percussion Ensemble ) performing on tuned cymbals newly created for… Read more »

Zwilich talks about writing “Rituals” for NEXUS

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In honour of Ellen Taaffe Zwilich birthday, here is an interview where she shares her thoughts on writing this concerto Rituals for NEXUS. Frank Oteri at New Music Box calls the interview Goose Bumps In The Candy Shop. Ellen has some intriguing comments about percussion instruments and their intrinsic nature: FJO: My favorite piece of… Read more »

From Music Boxes to Vacuums

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New style music boxes are a favorite gift for Valentine’s Day. I have a number of music boxes in my collection and one of my favorites is a large, rare Regina music box from 1899. It was made after the company moved from Germany to New Jersey. These antique instruments used large metal disks to… Read more »

More Cowbell

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I have an extensive collection of a few hundred cowbells, ranging from tiny to gargantuan, which makes the famous Saturday Night Live skit “More Cowbell” ring a bell with me, so to speak. I even incorporated a Dharma Cowbell into the Woodstock Chimes line, so popular it’s out of stock at the moment! It’s funny… Read more »

A new piece by Russell, collaborations, anniversaries and a festival

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With the 21C Music Festival about to begin (January 16-20), we are so lucky to be based in Toronto where we can take in its awesome line-up featuring the great Terry Riley and our friends and fellow-percussionists, Sō Percussion.

Tale of a Library

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In the 1970s, as I was searching for recordings by George Hamilton Green, I discovered that in virtually every antique shop that had 78 rpm records on its shelves, I could find a few records on which either Green, or his brother Joe, or another xylophonist was playing. By the early 1980s, after rummaging through… Read more »

It’s a Laughing Matter

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Diane and I recently attended a performance by the four comedians from the TV show Impractical Jokers. It was my birthday present from Diane but like many good presents, we both got to enjoy the gift. I knew they were really funny and popular but I was amazed at just how popular they are. There… Read more »

Unusual Instruments, Part 6 – Antique Roller Organs

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I can’t help myself. I am addicted to music and collect objects of musical beauty. I am especially drawn to mechanical musical instruments and have been fortunate to add many to my collection over the years. In fact, you could say I invented my own by creating the first musically tuned windchimes, which are mechanical… Read more »

Giving Thanks for all YOUR help! Drumming At 50

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Here in Canada, we celebrate Thanksgiving on Monday, October 8. What more fitting time to give a BIG THANK YOU to all of you who contributed to our Kickstarter Campaign for Drumming At 50.  September was definitely exciting – if a bit nerve-wracking! We were fund-raising for our Video Recording with Sō Percussion and friends… Read more »

Help us Kickstart DRUMMING’s 50th anniversary!

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Epic. Exhilarating. Revolutionary. Iconic.  Words that describe Steve Reich’s monumental DRUMMING. Russell Hartenberger had a thought. And now that thought has evolved into an exciting project, backed 100% by Steve Reich: We have joined with the wonderful Sō Percussion to create a videography of DRUMMING in celebration of the piece’s 50th Anniversary!

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