NEXUS at Fifty: Part Ten, World Drums’86

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#NEXUSat50    1986    WORLD DRUMS at EXPO 86    The seeds of John Wyre’s world drum dream had begun to sprout as early as 1961 during his 3-month tour with the Eastman Philharmonia. In 1984 NEXUS began working with John Cripton producer of the 1984 Toronto International Festival which included the 2-performance “Supercussion” featuring a mere 17… Read more »

NEXUS at 50: Part Nine, the 1980s

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#NEXUSat50   1982   KIDS CONCERTS   Remember all those school concerts we mentioned in our 1982 UK tour? Here are two photos: NEXUS performing “Kobina”, one of our African-inspired pieces, at The Leadmill in Sheffield; and another shot of our appearance playing ragtime on the popular #BBC children’s show “BluePeter”. “Blue Peter” is still going strong, having… Read more »

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 »

Snare Drum Olympics

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Facility on snare drum is at the foundation of much percussion playing in Western music, and young players often begin their percussion studies learning the rudiments of snare drum. When I taught percussion at the University of Toronto, I encouraged the first-year students to spend a large portion of their practice time on snare drum…. Read more »

The new DRUMMING at 50 Website

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DRUMMINGat50 Website

We are excited to share with you a brand new website, www.DRUMMINGat50.com, that NEXUS has created in partnership with Sō Percussion, celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Steve Reich’s monumental work “Drumming”. Russell Hartenberger, Ray Dillard, and Alex Kessaris have been working for months to bring this to its fruition. A full performance of the piece,… 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 »

Chick Corea – The Passing of a Great Spirit

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Diane and Garry Kvistad with Chick Corea

I was saddened to learn of the recent passing of pianist Chick Corea, a giant in the jazz world and a pioneer in the fusion of jazz, rock and world music. Few musicians can claim to have had such an impact on future generations of artists. Having known the vibraphonist Gary Burton since the early… 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 Lan KaiPo

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In August, 2020 I received a series of questions from percussionist Lan KaiPo regarding my piece Never in Word (1998). Below are Lan’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 »

Remembering My Good Friend and Colleague Ron Snider

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I first met Ron Snider in the 1980s while touring with Steve Reich and Musicians and later while working with NEXUS Percussion. Besides being an amazing musician, a loving husband and father, an expert in world music and inventive designer and builder of musical instruments, Ron was a wonderful human being. His recent untimely passing… Read more »

John Wyre: Thoughts on Rhythm

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  In 1997-98, I conducted a series of interviews with percussionists to discuss their thoughts on rhythm. The following is an excerpt from my interview with John Wyre (1941-2006) that took place on December 15, 1997 in Birmingham, England where Nexus was performing the Takemitsu percussion concerto with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra.  … Read more »

Sharda Sahai: Thoughts on Rhythm

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  In 1997-98, I conducted a series of interviews with percussionists to discuss their thoughts on rhythm. The following is an excerpt from my interview with Sharda Sahai (1935-2011) that took place on December 12, 1997 in Southall, London, England.   Teaching Time Feel RH        When you teach students tabla in a… Read more »

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