I have a nice variety of new pieces that were just released this summer (2017), including three pieces for concert band, four percussion ensemble pieces, and a collection of intermediate keyboard percussion duets.Read More
I have a nice variety of new pieces that were just released this summer (2016), including two pieces for young band, three percussion ensemble pieces (easy, medium & difficult), a vibraphone solo, an alto saxophone/marimba duet, and a collection of duets for young percussionists.Read More
I have been very fortunate over the past year to have a steady stream of commissions coming in and keeping me out of trouble. This spring, four of them will come to fruition in four different states. Here's a little information about each.Read More
Now in its 50th season, the Eastern Music Festival has been acting as a gateway for young classical musicians from all over the world right in my backyard since I came to Greensboro 18 years ago. I even served for one season as the coordinator for the Project:Listen Program, EMF's now defunct outreach arm.
I'm honored to now have to my piece Ellipsis performed by the EMF Percussion Ensemble during this landmark season.
EMF Percussion Ensemble Concert
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
Dana Auditorium, Guilford College (Greensboro, NC)
General Admission: $9
Many thanks to John Shaw, principal percussionist with the Florida Orchestra & percussion instructor at St. Peterburg College, and Eric Schweikert, principal timpanist with the Fort Wayne Philharmonic & Director of Percussion at EMF for including my music on the program.
While living in Houston a few years ago, I started developing a new series for C. Alan Publications that would feature percussion ensemble pieces for younger groups with flexible duration, instrumentation and number of players. The Ignite Series for the Developing Ensemble will finally be coming to fruition this spring/summer with a fresh collection of pieces by C. Alan composers, including Josh Gottry, Mario Gaetano, Adam Miller, Kandis Taylor, Scott Harding, Donna Bohn and myself.
My first contribution, titled Topsy Turvy, is meant to conjure up the magical sights and sounds under the big top of the circus. The piece features very flexible instrumentation and also provides the opportunity to 1 or 2 students to be in the spotlight playing percussion "toys," such as siren whistle, slide whistle, slapstick, duck call, ratchet, vibraslap, flexatone, brake drums, or cowbells. It is playabale by as few as 6 players or as many as 14.
Topsy Turvy will receive its world premiere on May 10, 2011 by the Braxton Craven Middle School Percussion Ensemble, directed by Chris Ferguson and Lindsey Eskins.
Topsy Turvy Score
Bells & Toys (double with Vibraphone)
Xylophone & Toys (double with Marimba)
Timpani (2 drums)
Snare Drum & Woodblock (double with Bongos)
2 Concert Toms & Suspended Cymbal (double with Temple Blocks)
Bass Drum & Acme Police Whistle (double with Low Tom)
Optional Toys (extracted from other players' parts)
This past December, I had the wonderful opportunity to perform the 2nd movement of my Concerto for Vibraphone and Percussion Ensemble at the Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic in Chicago with the Union High School Percussion Ensemble. This ensemble from Camas, WA put on a spectacular display with a challenging and varied program. In rehearsal, I met fellow percussionist Chris Whyte, who is a percussion specialist at the school, and learned that he had performed the solo part to the concerto at their concert back home in Washington (and probably played it better than me). I was also struck by the unparalleled talent of senior Kishan Patel as featured playing tabla on one of the final pieces on the concert, "Sketches of India" by director Lewis Norfleet. I followed up wth a brief interview so that you can get to know more about Kishan before he takes over the percussion world completely. (Scroll to the bottom to watch a YouTube video of Kishan playing tabla)
Born: May 24, 1993
High School: Union High School Class of 2011
Activities: Band, Percussion, Music Teacher, Indian Language Teacher
Instruments: Aside from standard western percussion, I also play the Tabla (north Indian classical percussion instrument) , I am a north Indian classical vocalist as well. I also play a variety of Indian percussion instruments such as dholak, dhol, mridangam, ghatam, Aside from percussion, I also play the Sitar, the Tanpura, and the Bansuri (Indian bamboo flute)
Private Percussion Teachers: Lewis Norfleet, Christopher Whyte, Taylor Kragness, Nisha Joshi, Sachin Pimple
Awards & Honors: 3rd place Marimba Solo in the State of Washington, Maestro Award at the Heritage Band Festival in Vancouver, BC Canada, 1st place Marimba Solo Regional Solo ensemble Festival, Performance with the UHS Chamber Choir as Guest Artist at The MENC Conference, Performance at the Midwest Clinic, Performance at the WMEA Conference
Aspirations for the Future: I would like to create my own school of music where I would teach Classical north Indian music and western classical percussion.
When did you get your start in music?
I started learning music when I was 7 years old from Dr. Nisha Joshi, who first taught me the art of North Indian Classical Vocal and Tabla (Indian Drums) playing. Later, my 5th grade year, I joined band, and since then, I have been a very active member of the band program at my Middle school and High school.
Of the instruments you play, which is your favorite?
My list has a very close tie between Tabla and Marimba for my favorite instrument, although I think Tabla is what I enjoy most.
What is your favorite solo piece you have performed and why? Percussion ensemble piece? Concert band piece?
My favorite percussion ensemble piece that I have performed was "Sketches of India" written by Lewis Norfleet. Very close to that would be Lewis Nofleet’s arrangement of Astor Piazzola’s "Libertango." My favorite concert band pieces are any pieces written by Percy Aldrige Grainger, the top three being "Lincolnshire Posy," "Themes from Green Bushes," and "Childrens March." My favorite solo piece which I have performed is "Parody" by Jesse Monkmon because of how it has elements of all qualities I look for in a marimba solo.
How has music helped or influenced you in other areas of your life?
Music in my life has taught me dedication, commitment, and humbleness. Learning any sort of music requires lots of time and commitment, and music has helped me learn that. The suave nature of Indian music has taught me humbleness and relaxation.
Who are the most influential people in your life? Personally, musically, etc.?
The people who have influence me the most musically include my band director, Lewis Norfleet, and my Indian music teacher, Dr. Nisha Joshi. In my personal life, the person who has influenced me the most would be my Uncle.
What do you see yourself doing in 10 years? 20 years?
Ten to twenty years from now, I see myself continuing my passion teaching Indian music and keeping it alive throughout the generations to come, and also helping out with a drum line and privately teaching western percussion as well.
What are the 10 most frequently played/listened to artists on your iPod or in your iTunes library and why? Does this influence your performance in any way?
Being a north Indian musician, I listen to lots of vocalists and percussionists. Some of the main vocalists I listen to are Pandit Rajan Sajan Mishra, Pandit Uday Bhawalkar, Gundecha Brothers, Ustad Sayeeduddin Dagar, Ustad Rashid Khan, Shrimati Kaushiki Chakrabarty, and Begum Parveen Sultana. Musicians in the Indian Percussion world that I listen to include Ustad Zakir Hussain. In the western world, my number one source of inspiration is She-e-Wu.
The vocalists that I listen to strongly impact how I sing, and the techniques I use when I do perform certain raagas. Anytime I know I will be performing a certain raga, I will go back and listen to those artists renditions of the raga, and see how I can apply it to my performance.
Because tabla is my main instrument, Ustad Zakir Hussain has always been a role model for me, and when I listen to him, I always listen to his clarity, and watch his expression. These two elements are also what have greatly helped me in western percussion.
She-e-Wu is the number one person I look up to when I perform marimba. The way she expresses herself through what she plays truly touches me. Her superb note accuracy and her technique has always been one that pushes me to be better at performing.
Kishan plans to attend either the University of North Texas, University of Oregon or Central Washington University in the fall, majoring in Music Performance and Music Education.
I feel like Christmas has come early! In the past week, I've been fortunate enough to receive 4 fantastic recordings of my newest pieces – 2 for percussion ensemble and 2 for concert band. I'll be sharing them each in their own entry over the next week.
The first I'll share is The Cry, which was commissioned and premiered by the OU Percussion Orchestra. I had the opportunity to fly out to Norman, OK to work with Lance Drege and his ensemble for a few days back in November (2010) and had a blast. This recording is the result of a session during an afternoon rehearsal the day of the concert.
"The Cry" will be published by the OU Percussion Press and available from Steve Weiss Music.
Several of my new compositions are being released this summer by C. Alan Publications. Below you will find descriptions, recordings, and score samples. All will be available for purchase from Steve Weiss Music in the next 2 weeks.
Medium: Marimba/Piano Duo
Publisher: C. Alan Publications
Performed by Nick Ryan (marimba) and Angi Ko (piano)
Medium: Xylophone w/ Piano Accompaniment
Publisher: C. Alan Publications
Duration: 8:00 (each book)
Medium: Percussion Ensemble
Publisher: C. Alan Publications
bells, xylophone, vibraphone, 2 marimbas, 4 toms, SD, timpani, BD, 2 woodblocks, bongos, sus cym, hi-hat, tam-tam, wind chimes
Medium: Solo Vibraphone
Publisher: C. Alan Publications
(with optional extended range to 3.5-octave)
The University of Oklahoma Percussion Ensemble performs the first movement ("Improvisation") of my piece, Adaptation. Based on my solo piano piece, Episodes, I scored Adaptation for 11 percussionists specifically for the "5:00 Ensemble" at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro while I was there as an adjunct professor of percussion. It won 3rd Place in the 2005 Percussive Arts Society Composition Contest, the same year that David Skidmore's Whispers (see my earlier video post) won 1st Place and another piece of mine, Limerick Daydreams, won 2nd Place.
Adaptation is published by C. Alan Publications.
The University of Oklahoma Percussion Ensemble, directed by Dr. Nathan Daughtrey, performs Roland Barrett's "Aboriginal Dreams." It was commissioned by and premiered by the Mt. Lebanon High School Percussion Ensemble under the direction of Rick Minnotte.
Aboriginal Dreams is published by C. Alan Publications.
Mvts. IV & V
concert band | 2:30 | Grade II
Selected as a 2009-10 J.W. Pepper's Choice, "Downtown Dash" is meant to depict a brisk 5K road race through the city streets of a bustling downtown.
concert band | 3:40 | Grade IV
Originally written for keyboard percussion ensemble, "Immortal Dream" is a fantasy on the beautifully poignant Irish ballad "Old Skibereen."
percussion ensemble | 8 players | 5:00 | Grade IV
Dedicated to the Lincoln-Way Central High School Percussion Ensemble (Eric Wellman, director), "Power Struggle" features a balanced ensemble of keyboard vs. battery percussion.
Tangling Shadows (version 2)
soprano saxophone and 5-octave marimba | 7:50 | Grade V
Originally written for oboe and vibraphone, I reworked the piece last fall for performance at the 2008 UNC-Greensboro New Music Festival.