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Alan Abel: 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 Alan Abel that took place on March 29, 1998 in Wynnewood, PA. RH       How did you develop an accurate sense of time? AA      When I was really young,… Read more »

Time in the Rock – Travails of a Composer

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Tragedy. “A drama typically involving a person destined to experience downfall or destruction, as through a character flaw, or conflict with some overpowering force such as fate or an unyielding society.” Hubris. “An extreme and unreasonable feeling of self-confidence.” Posthumous. “Published after the death of the author.” In May of 2001 I began work on… Read more »

The Solo Snare Drum: Bob’s interview with Jonathan Curtis

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  In September 2020 I was invited by British percussionist Jonathan Curtis to take part in his snare drum research project. Details about his work can be viewed HERE. Jonathan was particularly interested in some of the ideas in my book Rudimental Arithmetic, as well as more generally about composing music for solo snare drum…. Read more »

Eight Etudes for Snare Drum

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    This month – October, 2020 – Keyboard Percussion Publications released a new edition of my Eight Etudes for Snare Drum. The etudes included in the collection were composed during 2005 and 2006, and formed the seventh and final part of Rudimental Arithmetic – A Drummer’s Study of Pattern and Rhythm, published by KPP… Read more »

NEXUS at Fifty: Part 8

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#NEXUSat50   1984   FOUR MONTH WORLD TOUR: CHINA!   In May we embarked on a tour that would take us to 10 countries. This meant putting a great many other things in Life on hold – but what an opportunity! We began in China where we were the first Western percussion group to perform in the People’s… Read more »

NEXUS at Fifty: Part Seven

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#NEXUSat50    1982    PLAYING WITH POETRY    We spent 3 days at Toronto’s McClear Place with 78-year-old poet Earle Birney, recording a 3 volume set. Released in LP and audio cassette format, they have never been re-issued as CDs, but 2 of the poems were included in our later “The Best of NEXUS” CD.              We had… Read more »

More from Bob’s Archive (Part 9)

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Following Nexus’ first concert tour to Japan in 1976 my friend and colleague Bill Cahn composed two major works: Nara, for solo percussionist; and In Ancient Temple Gardens, for xylophonist/percussionist and chamber orchestra. Bill himself premiered the latter piece in 1977 with the Rochester Chamber Orchestra. Nexus celebrated its tenth anniversary during 1981/82 with a… Read more »

More from Bob’s Archive (Part 8)

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In 1988 the distinguished Canadian composer Norman Symonds (1920 – 1998) wrote a duet for accordion and marimba titled El Duo. The brilliant accordionist Joseph Petric and I premiered the piece at The Music Gallery in Toronto, and then recorded it in 2001. El Duo is included on Petric’s CD “Orbiting Garden”, released on the… Read more »

More from Bob’s Archive (Part 7)

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In 2003 Nexus was able to commission a new work from the distinguished Canadian composer Christos Hatzis through a grant from the Laidlaw Foundation. We premiered his piece Four Rituals for Percussion Quintet, Chorus and Audience in December, 2004 on the Faculty Artists Series at the University of Toronto. The piece is in four movements:… Read more »

More from Bob’s Archive (Part 6)

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In February, 2004 Frank Epstein invited me to be a soloist on the New England Conservatory Percussion Ensemble’s “Rendezvous in Rhythm” concert. Along with three of my xylophone medley arrangements I played my piece Palta in the revised version for tabla solo with 6 percussion players, piano and electric bass. Also on the program was… Read more »

NEXUS at Fifty: Part Six

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1980   SYMPHONY POPS and ERICH KUNZEL    We were developing repertoire for symphonic pops concerts mostly centered around orchestrations of the novelty ragtime music that Bob Becker and @BillCahn had arranged. John Wyre’s and Bill’s orchestra positions in Toronto and Rochester connected them with Erich Kunzel who was becoming a leading pops conductor in North America…. Read more »

NEXUS at Fifty: Part Five

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1979   LAYING GROUNDWORK   At least 2 personal projects in 1979 laid groundwork for the future. Bill and Garry tried a couple new directions. During the 1970s while rummaging for xylophone music, Bill had found several large boxes of sheet music in a Rochester antique shop. The hundreds of titles had been published in the early… Read more »

NEXUS at Fifty: Part Four

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1977:   FIRST NEXUS COMMISSION   Bob Becker tells us that “The first piece commissioned by NEXUS came from the Canadian composer Bruce Mather in 1977. (We would premiere it in April ’78.) At that time, Bruce’s music was known only vaguely by most of us, but Robin Engelman had become an admirer. He made the commission… Read more »

NEXUS AT FIFTY: Part Three

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1975:   DIFFERENT MUSIC   We continued performing our George Hamilton Green ragtime arrangements. Bob Becker was totally smitten, and says, “I was tracking down all of it”. For two appearances, we played rags and also our improvisation at the famous (or infamous) Bohemian Embassy coffeehouse in Toronto which (thanks to founder and long time CBC performer… Read more »

NEXUS performs Bolero: Spanish Dance

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For your enjoyment, the NEXUS performance of “Bolero – Spanish Dance No.5“ is now on YouTube! You can access it HERE.  “Bolero – Spanish Dance No. 5” by Moritz Moszkowski, performed by NEXUS with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in 1992 on “The Story of Percussion in the Orchestra” (NEXUS CD#10306). Featuring Bob Becker on xylophone…. Read more »

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