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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 »

Japanese Instruments and Improvisation

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In the early days of Nexus, our concerts were totally improvised featuring many non-Western percussion instruments that we collected. John Wyre was an influence on all of us as he brought instruments from his travels to Asia to our improv sessions. I began scouring antique stores, import shops, and yard sales and discovered a few… Read more »

NEXUS at Fifty: Part 2

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1973:   EXPANSION  We were performing “our own unique brand of improvised music”, says Bill, with the “simple desire to expand our own musicianship…There was absolutely no thought given to marketing – there was no market!” 1973 took us to the CBC Winnipeg Festival and also brought us our first foray into film music for Canadian… Read more »

NEXUS AT FIFTY: Part One

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GUESS WHAT! NEXUS is celebrating its 50th season! To celebrate, over the coming year we’re going to bring you snapshots of each year in our career. We have been posting weekly on our Facebook and Instagram feeds: Fifty years, fifty weeks! Every now and then, we will amalgamate the latest posts and place them here… Read more »

Garry Kvistad in the Percussion Hall of Fame

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We are delighted to announce that NEXUS member Garry Kvistad will be inducted into the Percussion Hall of Fame this autumn, along with Ndugu Chancler and Neil Peart. Garry joined Nexus Percussion in the Fall of 2002 and is one of 18 musicians to win a Grammy award for the 1998 recording of Steve Reich’s… Read more »

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