Collide Contemporary Music Series & Festival
Founded in 2011 by artistic director Thad Anderson, the Collide Contemporary Music Series presents multiple “new music” events each semester on the campus of the University of Central Florida. Past guest composers and artists include: Paul Lansky, Marc Mellits, Jonathan Kolm, Zack Browning, Matthew Barnson, Billy Ryan, Charles Griffin, Meehan/Perkins Duo, Third Coast Percussion, Samuel Solomon, Matthew Coley, Michelle Schumann, line upon line percussion, Bill Solomon, Owen Weaver, Bob McCormick, Ian Rosenbaum, Adam Silverman, Trevor Saint, Ensemble P4, and Robert Dick. In addition to collaborating with composers and presenting guest artist concerts, Collide serves as a vehicle to present faculty and student chamber music and is often used as a laboratory to feature student compositions.
Cage Percussion Players
During the summer of 1939, the Bennington School of Dance hosted a groundbreaking concert on the campus of Mills College in Oakland, CA. This performance did not feature dancers, but rather musicians playing on clay pots, chunks of metal, and blocks of wood. This unique concert was presented by John Cage and his percussion group from the Cornish School in Seattle, WA. They performed music that was specifically composed for them by West coast composers such as Lou Harrison, Henry Cowell, William Russell, Johanna Beyer, and Cage himself. John Cage created this opportunity by establishing his own creative outlet, a percussion ensemble, which scarcely existed at this time. The group, made up of mostly dancers and artists, continued to perform and tour the United States through the early 1940s. In doing so, they brought many of our most important early percussion ensemble works to audiences for the first time.
Currently in residence at the University of Central Florida, the modern reincarnation of the Cage Percussion Players aims to establish a performing body of repertoire that is similar to that of the original ensemble. This task includes seeking out original parts and authenticating instruments, implements, and performance practice.
Percussion Commissioning Project
As an advocate for new music, I am currently collaborating with contemporary composers and colleagues to create new works for percussion. Some of these projects include the following:
Marc Mellits — Zodiac for solo marimba
Marc Mellits — Gravity for two marimbas and two vibraphones
Steven Snowden — Long Distance for solo vibe, marimba, and electronics
D.J. Sparr — Compass Chrome for percussion quartet
David Bennett Thomas — Fine Tune for bass clarinet & percussion ensemble
Chris Cerrone — Memory Palace for solo multi-percussion
John Psathas — 4BY4 for percussion quartet
Jonathan Kolm — Stardance for two marimbas and two vibraphones
Zack Browning — Flying Tones for percussion quintet
Jonathan Kolm — Cantogo for percussion quartet
Martin Bresnick — A Message from the Emperor for percussion duet
John Serry — Groundlines for solo marimba
Halim El-Dabh — Sailing Wind for solo vibraphone
Jonathan Kolm — Haven for solo marimba
Paul Lansky — Idle Fancies for solo marimba/percussion
Travis Jeffords — Gearbox Transmission for solo marimba/percussion
Jonathan Kolm — Warrior from the Deep for vibraphone trio
Vignette No. 1 for Solo Percussion
Vignette No. 1 is a unique “collage” percussion recital which features newly commissioned works for keyboard percussion instruments by Jonathan Kolm, Travis Jeffords, and Halim El-Dabh as well as some adaptations of music by J.S. Bach and John Cage and standards by Gordon Stout and Thom Hasenpflug. The recital also highlighted some recent video and percussion collaborations that I have been involved in with Diana Reichenbach, Christopher Brannan, David Randag, and Ruwan Perera.
Standard Deviation | www.standardeviation-themovie.com
I am fortunate to have worked with documentary filmmakers Chris Brannan and David Randag on their project Standard Deviation, a documentary film about Billy Cottrell, the brilliant young physicist turned ecoterrorist. I composed and recorded about 35 minutes of original music for the film. The project has done well and even won an EMMY for best documentary at the 2009 College Television Awards. Below is a 90 second trailer about the film.
The soundtrack is available for purchase over on Bandcamp:
Long story short, composer Travis Jeffords wrote a piece for solo marimba, three woodblocks, and a resonant metal for me. The piece is titled Gearbox Transmission and the blocks and metal represent “gears” for the marimba (shifting between various rhythmic values). I recorded the audio in May of 2008 and videographer, Ruwan Perera, put together all of the visuals. Enjoy!