Notable performances include the 2018 Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Indianapolis, Percussive Arts Society Ohio Chapter Days of Percussion at Capital University, Ohio Northern University, Youngstown State University, and Ohio Music Education Association Conferences in Cleveland, Columbus, and Cincinnati. A central part of our mission involves collaborations with composers in the commissioning, premiering, and critically acclaimed recording of their works. Our 2005 release "Dark Wood" includes six premiere recordings and commissions. Our commission project with New York City-based percussionist/composer John Hollenbeck on his "Ziggurat" for five percussionists and four saxophonists, was premiered at the Whitney Museum of Contemporary Art in New York City, and is available on his 2008 release "Rainbow Jimmies." The Youngstown Percussion Collective's 2012 release "Forms Of Things Unknown" is a concert-length suite by YSU professor of jazz studies, bass, and composition, Dr. Dave Morgan. Our 2012 recording of Ron Coulter's "Cajon Trio" will appear on an upcoming 2019 Coulter CD release.
Three Brothers is a jazz work for nine players: three soloists and six accompanists. This was Colgrass’s first composition, prior to which he had only improvised. In his words, “Three Brothers is a drum solo that I had been developing for five years as a jazz drummer and soloist.” The title is inspired by Woody Herman’s 1940’s composition Four Brothers, which featured four saxophonists.” Notes by Glenn Schaft
I. Horse Thief
II. Noble Prarie
This work was the first major piece that Kreutz wrote for marimba and was premiered by the James Dutton Marimba Ensemble at the American Conservatory in Chicago.
Phil Faini taught percussion at West Virginia University for 40 years, the last ten serving as Dean of the College of Creative Arts, where he retired as Dean Emeritus in 2000. He has long been involved in the development of percussion ensemble literature, composing and arranging numerous works for the medium, ranging from popular, jazz, and ethnic music of East and West Africa, to the standard classical literature. Allan Teel comments, “Faini's Highlife is a work for Western concert percussion instruments based primarily on a composition for gyil, a xylophone of the Dagara and Lobi cultures of northwestern Ghana. Faini's composition also uses materials taken from traditional Ghanaian drum ensemble music.” Notes by Glenn Schaft
Ogoun Badagris was written by Christopher Rouse for the Ithaca College Percussion Ensemble in Ithaca, New York. In the composers words, Ogoun Badagris derives its inspiration from Haitian drumming patterns, particularly those of the Juba Dance. Hence, it seemed logical to tie in the work with various aspects of Voodoo ritual. Ogoun Badagris is one of the most terrible and violent of all Voodoo loas (deities) and he can be appeased only by human blood sacrifice. This work may thus be interpreted as a dance of appeasement. The four conga drums often act as the focal point in the work and can be compared with the role of the four most basic drums in the Voodoo religion - the be-be, the seconde, the maman, and the asator. The metal plates and sleigh bells are to a certain extent parallels of the Haitian ogan. The work begins with a brief action de grace, a ceremonial call-to-action in which the high priest shakes the giant rattle known as the asson. Then the principal dance begins, a grouillere: this is a highly erotic and even brutally sexual ceremonial dance which in turn is succeeded by the Danse Vaudou, the point at which demonic possession occurs. The word “reler”, which the performers must shriek at the conclusion of the work, is the Voodoo equivalent of the Judaeo-Christian “amen.”
“The Minuano is a cold wind that blows in the South of Brazil and in Uraguay.” Minuano (Six Eight) is also the title of a tune played by the Pat Metheny Group and recorded on their 1987 album Still Life (Talking).
Clapping Music Variations is a musically and intellectually intriguing exploration of the rhythmic motives of Steve Reich's composition "Clapping Music" (1972). Reich’s work is composed for two performers, one clapping a constant rhythmic pattern and the other progressively displacing the same rhythm by shifting the pattern by one eighth-note to create various rhythmic counterpoints. After experimenting with Clapping Music as a practice exercise for two hands, then all four limbs on the drumset, Kotche developed an arrangement using numerous percussive textures, including melodic percussion to highlight the rhythmic interplay of Reich’s rhythms. Notes by Ed Davis and Glenn Schaft
Johanna Magdalena Beyer was born in Leipzig on July 11, 1888. She was a major figure in the experimental music movement of the 1930’s. Beyer worked closely with other composers of her time, such as Henry Cowell and Percy Grainger, in an attempt to create a new aesthetic in music. In addition to composing, Beyer was an active poet. Sadly, much of Beyer’s life and work have been drowned in a shroud of obscurity resulting in much of her music and poetry being overlooked or lost all together. Notes by Christopher Kimble
The Doomsday Machine is named for an episode from STAR TREK, my favorite science fiction series. The “Doomsday Machine” is an enormous weapon, both in size and strength, left adrift in space. The war machine was capable of destroying whole planets and was discovered, of course, by Captain Kirk and his crew. The Enterprise ultimately conquered the “Doomsday Machine” by feeding it another star ship set to self-destruct. My “Doomsday Machine” is meant to be an aurally and visually captivating work that explores a multitude of wood, metal, and membrane sounds in an explosively energetic dance. Notes by Michael Burritt.
Glenn Schaft and the YSU Percussion Studio wish to thank Avedis Zildjian Cymbal Co., Remo Inc, Innovative Percussion Inc., and Black Swamp Percussion for their support.