New Works for Percussion / Part Two
A commissioning adventure for several new marimba works featuring Andy, five leading composers, and YOU!
Following the success of my previous commission Kickstarter project, I have decided to keep up the momentum and commission solos from several composers.
I started this third adventure to help contribute significant new music to the current repertoire of solo music for percussion. In order to do this, I am commissioning five composers to write a new marimba piece.
About the Project
My goal for this project is to inspire new audiences through the commissioning and performance of high-quality percussion music. Last year saw the successful Kickstarter campaign to commission a marimba solo from Dwayne Rice. This year I want to say the same for five new composers. But, I'm going to reveal the names of each composer gradually.
September 14: I'm very excited to reveal the first composer -- Dan Welcher, professor of composition at the University of Texas in Austin! The first experience I had with his music was during my undergraduate degree at Texas A&M University - Commerce. My teacher, Brian West, programmed Welcher's Chameleon Music for percussion orchestra, and I instantly loved playing the piece. Later on, when I was a band director, I had the chance to teach the composer's Laboring Songs. Dan's expert use of folk songs as the source material really interested me, and I asked him to write a serious marimba solo based on similar source material. Dan will compose a marimba solo as part of this project. Please take a few moments to view his website: www.danwelcher.com
October 1: The second composer announced is Martin Blessinger, professor of composition at Texas Christian University. Martin composed a piece called Image for percussion orchestra. It was subsequently premiered by the Texas Christian University Percussion Orchestra at the Percussive Arts Society International Conference in 2011. Blessinger has also written a marimba solo in the past. My thought to include Martin on this project came after hearing the premiere of his Paul Bunyon Suite for Cello and Piano. I absolutely loved how the composer used folk-like melodies, and asked him to write a 6-9 marimba and B-flat clarinet duo with the same style. His website:
October 8: Ryan George is the third composer on this ambitious project. Ryan is a composer from Austin, Texas. I first heard his piece Firefly as a percussionist with the Lone Star Wind Orchestra. After searching for him through Facebook, I found out he is also heavily involved in the Drum Corps International. Ryan was most recently the Brass Arranger / Composer for the 2012 Boston Crusaders from Boston, Massachusetts. From his lyrical melodies to his intense and energetic writing style, I'm convinced Ryan is a great fit for this project. Ryan will compose a marimba solo with digital accompaniment. His website:
October 14: The fourth composer is Scott Ward. Scott and I first met at Texas A&M University - Commerce where we went to school. Scott was always the kind of student that excelled at everything he did whether it be performance, arranging, or composition. When we both went to graduate school, we kept in touch. I've always wanted to commission a solo from him, and plans for a piece have been talked about since 2004. Since then he has written two multiple percussion solos (published through C-Alan Publications), and is in high demand as an arranger for the marching arts. The Lone Star Wind Orchestra percussion ensemble even commissioned a miniature from him, and it was subsequently premiered on our percussion concert in Spring 2012. Scott will write a marimba solo for this project.
October 22: The final composer on this project is David Maslanka. Most percussionists have had some sort of contact with his music. He has written two marimba solos - Variations on Lost Love and My Lady White. But, like many percussionists, my first introduction to Maslanka's music came in percussion ensemble when I played his percussion orchestra compositition, Crown of Thorns, at Texas A&M University - Commerce. This piece really captures the potential of percussion ensemble with it's symphonic approach. I first thought of commissioning David Maslanka to write a third marimba solo after hearing his Symphony No. 4. In it, Maslanka weaves lyrical melodies around a powerful accompaniment. For this project, David will compose a marimba solo. His website is:
I have received final contracts from five composers, but need to raise $13,500 to follow through. My previous two projects saw pledges from little to substantial amounts, but every amount helped make the projects successful. The old model of fundraising was through grants and generous donations. Today, by way of Kickstarter, everyone can help creative ideas take flight by backing a project. I aim to present these works in recitals, and eventually a recording project. But, in order for this to happen, I urgently need your help!
Kicking it Forward
I have been part of a performing organization called the Lone Star Wind Orchestra since 2008. We annually present 4 - 5 concerts in addition to a percussion ensemble concert. Each year, I'm amazed at the quality of performers in the group. I'm also continually impressed by the level of selflessness the artistic administration displays through their support of the ensemble. Recent notable performances were given at the Texas Bandmasters Association, Texas Music Educators Association, and Arkansas Bandmasters Association annual conventions. We even have an upcoming concert in Chicago, Illinois at the prestigious Mid-West Convention.
One tradition I can faithfully stand behind is their commitment to new music. We have premiered a new work for percussion on each of our annual percussion concerts. The wind orchestra itself has premiered new works by composers Cindy McTee, Donald Grantham, and Christopher Tucker. In order to show my appreciation for the group, and to continue this commitment to new music, I'm committing any amount raised above 100% (minus Kickstarter and Amazon fees) to the Lone Star Wind Orchestra to be used towards the commission of a new piece of wind orchestra music.
You may be asking, "what's in it for me?" A detailed list of rewards can be found on the right side of this project. But, you can be sure of two things: You'll have my eternal gratitude, and your name will be immortalized on a listing of each contributor included inside every solo.
In closing, thank you for your time and support!
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Risks and challenges
The risks of a project like mine lie in deadlines. Sometimes, the revision process of composing can take longer than expected. Rather than rush a new piece out to performance, I like to give composers the extra time necessary to make the piece shine.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (47 days)