Articles and Interviews

Surviving Steel Pans – A Saga (Part 1)

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In 1989 Carnegie Hall announced a series of commissions to celebrate the hall’s 100th anniversary season in 1990/91. A former member of our management team, Costa Pilavachi, recommended NEXUS be the featured soloists in a new piece by Toru Takemitsu, to be premiered with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Seiji Ozawa. A concerto by Takemitsu… Read more »

The (Art?) of Hanging Gongs

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Further to emailed inquiries on the subjects of percussion performance and instruments, one recent inquiry was seeking advice about support structures for gongs. This topic is right up my alley. I’ve always had a fascination with pitched gongs and unpitched tam-tams, probably inspired by John Wyre, a colleague in NEXUS until his passing in 2006…. Read more »

Suspended Cymbal Mallets

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In response to my recent posts about the cymbal parts for La Mer and Daphnis and Chloé I received some comments and questions regarding the mallets I use on suspended cymbals. As I pointed out in my blogs, early 20th century composers often employed specific terminology regarding striking implements in their cymbal parts – for… Read more »

Becker Bow Cymbal Demo

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Last spring (February, 2016) I spent several days in Meductic, NB working on some projects for the Sabian Cymbal Company. My main job was to select and mate 60 pairs of 18 inch Artisan Traditional Medium Light Crash orchestral cymbals. It was some of the most physically demanding work I’ve done in my life, and… Read more »

Daphnis and Chloé and Cymbals

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Last week (on June 2nd and 3rd, 2016) the Toronto Symphony performed the complete music from Maurice Ravel’s ballet Daphnis and Chloé (1912). I was invited to play cymbals, which have an extensive individual part that is twelve pages long – something unusual in the symphonic percussion repertoire. I was familiar with the second suite… Read more »

Some reflections on John Cage

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In response to the request on NEXUS’ Facebook, here are a few more John Cage recollections. In June, 1984 NEXUS embarked on a major European tour lasting over two months. Our first stop on the trip was Amsterdam and the Holland Festival. We played two concerts there, including a monumental all-night improvisation in the Nieuwe… Read more »

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 »

Percussion “makes music worth listening to”

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Reviewer John Terauds gave a great shout-out to NEXUS this weekend in his excellent review of Rob Power’s new album “Touch”:  “There’s been an explosion (or should we call it striking growth?) in the number of fine percussionists in this country  — largely due to the influence and inspiration of Nexus, the Toronto ensemble founded… Read more »

Music and Business Make Good Bed Fellows

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I recently had the honor of being a keynote speaker for the Ulster County Leadership Development Institute (ULDI) sponsored by the Ulster County Chamber of Commerce here in the Hudson Valley of New York State. The 25 or so participants were top employees sent by local businesses to help develop their leadership skills. Since I… Read more »

The NEXUS Book of Yorkers

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Yorker (yor’ ker)  n.  a thought-provoking phrase or comment made by participants during the two-week residency of NEXUS at York University in July/August 1973.

Listen to an Interview with Bill, Russell and Maestro Peter Bay – May 2013

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On the eve of a performance of Takemitsu’s “From me flows what you call Time” with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Peter Bay and NEXUS members William Cahn and Russell Hartenberger were interviewed by WXXI’s Julia Figueras to talk about the piece.  Click HERE to listen to the complete interview.

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 »

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