Gagal The NEXUS Blog

Surviving Steel Pans – A Saga (Part 2)

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In 1993 two major composers – Michael Colgrass and Bruce Mather  – began work on commissions for NEXUS. Mather, an intimate friend of Robin Engelman, had already composed two quartet pieces for us: Clos de Vougeot (recorded on the LP Changes in 1982) and Clos d’Audignac (recorded on the CD Rune in 1997). The new… Read more »

Homemade Castanet Machines

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A few months ago I received the following in an email: Question: I would like to make a castanet machine. I want to use it at schools (children 10-12 years) Can you tell me how to make it, like you did? My Response: I made my first castanet machine when I was in high school…. Read more »

Moondog, Reich, Rhythm, Physics, Acoustics – and “This World”!

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I think we should just call November 30 to December 4 “NEXUS Week” and be done with it! Here in Toronto NEXUS will be deeply involved in a symposium under the auspices of the Jackman Humanities Institute called “Reich, Rhythm, and Repetition: Patterns in Music, Speech, and Science”, being held at the University of Toronto… Read more »

Surviving Steel Pans – A Saga (Part 1)

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In 1989 Carnegie Hall announced a series of commissions to celebrate the hall’s 100th anniversary season in 1990/91. A former member of our management team, Costa Pilavachi, recommended NEXUS be the featured soloists in a new piece by Toru Takemitsu, to be premiered with the Boston Symphony Orchestra and Seiji Ozawa. A concerto by Takemitsu… Read more »

Colin Currie’s Visit to ROC Drummers

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  On November 2, 2016 we were surprised and delighted when Colin Currie, one of the world’s foremost percussion soloists, entered into the ROC Drummers’ rehearsal space at the David F. Gantt Community Center in Rochester, NY. Colin was in town for two performances as the featured soloist with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra in Jennifer… Read more »

Chimalong

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We designed the Chimalong® to help children develop creativity at an early age. When our two daughters were young, I found little on the market that would inspire them to learn music, so I decided to create a metallophone from musically tuned Woodstock Chime tubes, and the Chimalong was born. Little did we know that… Read more »

Dance of the Octopus and Red Norvo

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In January, 1989 NEXUS recorded a new CD for the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s Musica Viva label. CBC no longer distributes our Dance of the Octopus CD, which is unfortunate because it includes a lot of wonderful repertoire not available anywhere else. A truly great harpist, Judy Loman, joined us for two works by Bill Cahn:… Read more »

The (Art?) of Hanging Gongs

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Further to emailed inquiries on the subjects of percussion performance and instruments, one recent inquiry was seeking advice about support structures for gongs. This topic is right up my alley. I’ve always had a fascination with pitched gongs and unpitched tam-tams, probably inspired by John Wyre, a colleague in NEXUS until his passing in 2006…. Read more »

A Question about Teaching Beginners

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As mentioned in previous blog postings, I regularly receive emails containing questions about percussion instruments, performance and pedagogy. One such question was emailed to me recently. Question: How would you start a beginning mallet student? What exercises and books that you would use to have the player develop a feel for the instrument? How would… Read more »

Happy Birthday to our dear friend Steve Reich!

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We have had an extraordinary and exciting two years celebrating Steve Reich in a multitude of ways. This past season, in celebration of Steve’s 80th, Russell has been coaching “Music For 18 Musicians” in various parts of the world, we performed with Steve in his iconic “Drumming”and “Clapping Music” here in Toronto and in Soundstreams… Read more »

My Generation and the Next

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People try to put us d-down (Talkin’ ’bout my generation) Just because we get around (Talkin’ ’bout my generation) Things they do look awful c-c-cold (Talkin’ ’bout my generation) I hope I die before I get old (Talkin’ ’bout my generation) This is my generation This is my generation, baby Those are some of the… Read more »

NEW CD – CHIAROSCURO with NEXUS and PRANA

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We are delighted to announce CHIAROSCURO and tell you a bit about it. In 2014 Garry invited Baird Hersey to his studio to show him a new instrument that he had built. Two years later the result of that meeting is a new recording, Chiaroscuro. The album is a suite of pieces which combines ancient,… Read more »

Suspended Cymbal Mallets

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In response to my recent posts about the cymbal parts for La Mer and Daphnis and Chloé I received some comments and questions regarding the mallets I use on suspended cymbals. As I pointed out in my blogs, early 20th century composers often employed specific terminology regarding striking implements in their cymbal parts – for… Read more »

Becker Bow Cymbal Demo

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Last spring (February, 2016) I spent several days in Meductic, NB working on some projects for the Sabian Cymbal Company. My main job was to select and mate 60 pairs of 18 inch Artisan Traditional Medium Light Crash orchestral cymbals. It was some of the most physically demanding work I’ve done in my life, and… Read more »

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