NEXUS in Potsdam

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In 1974, I performed with the Blackearth Percussion Group at the State University of New York at Potsdam. The young percussion teacher at that time was Jim Petercsak. Last week, 43 years later, history repeated itself, but this time it was with the percussion group NEXUS. The instructor in charge was, yes, Jim Petercsak. Professor… Read more »

Unusual Instruments – Log Drum

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Wooden boxes with carved tongues are musical instruments found all over the world. They go by lots of names such as Log Drums, Slit Drums, Kulkul and Teponaztli, to name a few. In this video, I demonstrate some of these instruments from my collection which have a range of sizes and styles. They are universally… Read more »

Heading to sunny SUNY-Potsdam

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Did you miss us? Yes, we had some technical issues with our blog, but all is “good to go” once again, thanks to our tech wonder Alex Kessaris. Coming up is our residency this weekend at SUNY-Potsdam with a concert on Friday evening (April 21st) in Hosmer Hall, start time 7:30 pm. As part of… Read more »

Bob’s interview with Greg Giannascoli

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In 2016 I received a request from marimbist Greg Giannascoli to answer a series of questions for an upcoming publication. Greg’s questions and my answers are below. GG: Hi Bob, I am writing a book with a series of interviews with the important marimba and xylophone artists of the 20th century and I would be… Read more »

San Jacinto College, Pasadena TX – see you soon!

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San Jacinto College Central has invited us for a March residency that’s going to cover a LOT of ground! The emails have been flying about the concert programming and it’s going to be a lot of fun, with fanfares and ragtime and Bob Becker’s “Palta” arranged for steel band – it’s going to be great.

Broadway, CIA and Timpani

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  Every so often I have the pleasure of playing timpani with a full orchestra. This was the case recently when I played with the Northern Dutchess Symphony Orchestra led by Kathleen Beckmann. This concert featured the Broadway star Craig Schulman. The program included big hits from many different Broadway shows, including Les Misérables and The Phantom of the… Read more »

Coming Up! Texas and New York!

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The NEXUS members never sit still. Even a winter “respite” has taken Russell to the Sacher music archive and its Steve Reich Collection in Basel, Switzerland; Bob’s heading out on U.S. tour dates; Garry is heading to warmer climes to the south. Bill and Ray are hardier types enjoying brisk temperatures and a multitude of… Read more »

Woodstock, the Most Famous Small Town in the World

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On Friday night Jack DeJohnette played a spectacular piano concert at the Woodstock Byrdcliffe Guild to an overflowing audience. He called it the Concert for Inner Peace. Jack is known as one of the very finest jazz drummers on the scene today, but his first instrument was piano and his range of styles and his… Read more »

Steve Reich’s 80th Birthday Parties

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On October 3, 2016, Steve Reich celebrated his 80th birthday. This festive occasion was the catalyst for a year-long tribute to the man who has been acclaimed as “our greatest living composer” (New York Times) and “the most original musical thinker of our times” (The New Yorker). A quick glance at the concert section of… Read more »

Mohonk Concerts

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Brubeck Brothers Band

Diane and I attended a day of jazz at the Mohonk Mountain House yesterday with friends. We saw two absolutely amazing concerts and had a wonderful dinner at this historic resort right here in the Catskill Mountains. One concert was a trio led by the fabulous Janice Siegel of the Manhattan Transfer with pianist John… Read more »

Blackearth Percussion Group Retrospective at PASIC 16 in Indianapolis

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The Blackearth Percussion Group was conceived in 1971, formed in 1972 and disbanded in 1979. It was inspired in part by Jan Williams’ New Percussion Quartet of Buffalo and named after a small farm town in central Wisconsin. I was one of the original group members at age 22, along with my brother Rick Kvistad… Read more »

Interview with Ken Shorley

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In July, while I was in St. John’s, Newfoundland participating in Sound Symposium, I was interviewed by Ken Shorley for his Canadian Percussionists. You can see the interview here: All of Ken’s interviews with Canadian Percussionists can be viewed here:

Music and Math

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They say there are three types of people: those who are good at math and those who aren’t. But seriously, we have somehow lost our cultural connection between the sciences and the arts. There are only a few higher education institutions that have forums to create a nexus between these disciplines. One of these institutions… Read more »

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