NEC Percussion Group: Pereira, Reich, Trevino, Turnage
The NEC Percussion Group (NECPG), directed by Will Hudgins, performs music that is largely centered around the unique and never-ending possibilities within the percussion world, as well as being augmented by extra-percussion musical offerings and instruments.
This year's concert selections will include both fiery and introspective works that will represent established pieces in the repertoire as well as recently composed "ink still wet" pieces. NECPG concerts always bring the fascinating combination of the aural and the visual aspects of music-making.
This is an in-person event with a private stream available to the NEC community here: https://necmusic.edu/live
- Will Hudgins, director
Joseph Pereira | Mallet Quartet
After studying percussion and composition at Boston University, Joseph Pereira became the assistant timpanist in the New York Philharmonic and subsequently became a member of the Los Angeles Philharmonic as the principal timpanist. Pereira has continued his composition career to much acclaim, and his pieces have been performed throughout the world stages. His work Mallet Quartet is a fine example of the originality and creativity Pereira employs in his writing. Unusual percussion effects such as harmonics, ghost notes, and a “catch-pedal” effect abound in this fascinating piece scored for two marimbas and two vibraphones.Artists
- Michael Rogers, Jeff Sagurton, Eli Geruschat, Leigh Wilson, percussion
Steve Reich | Drumming (Part 1)
Steve Reich has been called “the most original musical thinker of our time” (The New Yorker) and “among the great composers of the century” (The New York Times). Starting in the 1960s, his pieces It’s Gonna Rain, Drumming, Music for 18 Musicians, Tehillim, Different Trains, and many others helped shift the aesthetic center of musical composition worldwide away from extreme complexity and towards rethinking pulsation and tonal attraction in new ways. He continues to influence younger generations of composers and mainstream musicians and artists all over the world.
Tonight we share the Part 1 of Drumming. Here are comments from the composer:
In the context of my own music, Drumming is the final expansion and refinement of the phasing process, as well as the first use of four new techniques: (1) the process of gradually substituting beats for rests (or rests for beats); (2) the gradual changing of timbre while rhythm and pitch remain constant; (3) the simultaneous combination of instruments of different timbre; and (4) the use of the human voice to become part of the musical ensemble by imitating the exact sound of the instruments. Drumming begins with two drummers building up the basic rhythmic pattern of the entire piece from a single drum beat, played in a cycle of 12 beats with rests on all the other beats. Gradually additional drumbeats are substituted for the rests, one at a time, until the pattern is completed. The reduction process is simply the reverse where rests are gradually substituted for the beats, one at a time, until only a single beat remains.Artists
- Eli Reisz, Danial Kukuk, Jeff Sagurton, Ross Jarrell, percussion
Ivan Trevino | Seesaw (2020)
Comments from the composer:
Seesaw is scored for two percussionists who perform on one shared acoustic guitar. The piece was commissioned by the New WorksProject, which organized a consortium of 31 musicians from around the globe to support the creation of this work.
The idea of multi-instrumentalism is often a foreign concept in the world of academic music. Classical musicians are often trained via a hyper-focused path on one singular instrument. Meanwhile in other genres, hopping from one instrument to the next is often a normal part of being a musician. Prince, Dave Grohl, and others have recorded entire albums on their own, playing every single instrument and singing every lyric and vocal line. I love this.
Having grown up a self-taught guitar player and sort of hiding that from my classical self, I decided to embrace it with Seesaw. I’ve taken what I know about guitar playing and percussion and have written something where both instruments meet. There are moments when the guitar is used as a percussion instrument, with the players striking the instrument in various areas with sticks to produce different sounds and colors. There are also moments that feature guitar techniques like harmonics, hammer-ons and pull-offs. The piece is notated in tablature, which facilities a non-traditional string tuning and is how I first learned to read guitar music. While the piece was written for percussionists to perform, I can also imagine guitar players performing it by exploring and learning about the various percussion techniques involved.”Artists
- Rohan Zakharia and Mark Larrivee, percussion
Mark-Anthony Turnage | New England Etudes (2023)
Co-commissioned by the NEC Percussion Group, Will Hudgins, director
Etude 3: Conga
Etude 5: Bells for Ukraine
After receiving its world premier at New England Conservatory this
past February with the composer in attendance, Mark-Anthony Turnage’s New England Etudes is being performed again tonight. This is a six-movement work for percussion sextet. Turnage incorporates a variety of traditional instruments throughout the work. His interest in jazz music is a consistent source of inspiration in his output and is immediately evident as this piece has a swinging lilt from the opening measures. The use of a drum set-style setup and two vibraphones also adds to his nod to the genre. Odd meters and the sharing of motives throughout the group abound. The exception to this style is the fifth etude, entitled Bells for Ukraine, a movement that stands apart from the others in its solemnity. This eighteen-minute work is a tremendously welcome addition to the percussion repertoire, and we are pleased to present the work tonight.
– Will HudginsArtists
- Michael Rogers. Jeff Sagurton, Isabella Butler, Eli Geruschat, Leigh Wilson, Ross Jarrell, percussion
- Will Hudgins, conductor