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Beethoven’s 5th, Eurythmics Style

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Here’s something that is fun and amazing but strange. It’s the 1st movement of Beethoven’s 5th symphony performed on body percussion by school children. The conductor is using a piano reduction score (which means that it has been simplified and condensed, making it more easily playable on piano) and when s/he opens to the music,… Read more »

NEXUS at Fifty: Part 16: 1997

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RUNE We seemed to hit some kind of perfect constellation for CD recordings in 1997. February took us to California where we performed with the Pacific Symphony Orhcestra under Carl St. Clair in preparation for recording Takemitsu’s “From me flows what you call Time…” the following days. The reviewer of the performance said, “You listen… Read more »

NEXUS at Fifty: Part 15: 1995-1996

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1995   CATHEDRAL SONGS, PEEPERS and COLGRASS   CBC Producer David Jaeger had asked the Winnipeg Symphony’s composer-in-residence Glenn Buhr “to compose a piece that would be an expression of musical community building. The work would be designed as a surround-sound symphony for performance in the Barbara Frum Atrium at the new CBC Centre: on the ground… Read more »

NEXUS at Fifty: Part 14: 1993-1994

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1993   KROUMATA AND AMADINDA IN BUDAPEST   In Spring’93 the New York Times pointed out that “Canada takes the spotlight at this year’s Budapest Spring Festival”. We were honoured to represent Canada along with the Canadian Brass, Trio Lyrika, flautist Robert Aitken, pianist Katja Cerovsek and violinists Corey Cerovsek and Erika Raum. (In ‘92, Erika had… Read more »

NEXUS at 50: Part 12: 1989-1990

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#NEXUSat50   1988-1989    EVERYBODY’S WRITING!   In the midst of the heavy 1988 travel schedule we somehow found time to compose!  Toronto concerts and a Stamford CT concert in 1988 saw premieres of new works, as did Merkin Concert Hall in New York City in 1989: “Lali-Pops” by Wyre (not related to the movie that was just… Read more »

NEXUS at Fifty: Part 13: 1991-92

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#NEXUSat50    1991    ORIGINS   We decided to release our Direct-to-Disc LP Ragtime Concert of 1976 on CD. It would still be a recording of a live performance in every meaning of the word. We also recorded ORIGINS in 1991 and, similar to the ragtime recording, the music on ORIGINS was recorded directly from the studio floor… Read more »

NEXUS at Fifty: Part 11: 1986-88

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#NEXUSat50   1986    RARE INSTRUMENTS FOR GEORGE HAMILTON GREEN – with sound bytes: Between an Australian tour, Expo86 World Drums, Kennedy Center with Sharda Sahai (PASIC86) and a week-long tour of Tennessee, we found time to go into McClear Place in Toronto (photo attached) and record THE NOVELTY MUSIC OF GEORGE HAMILTON GREEN. Bob Becker says,… Read more »

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, Bob McGrath and Marimba

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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 »

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