Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra (2000)
for orchestra with percussion soloist
Commissioned by the New York Youth Symphony.
Premiered February 6, 2000. Carnegie Hall, New York, NY.
Dedicated to Damien Bassman
The concerto is in two movements. In the first, Groove, the soloist primarily provides rhythmic accompaniment for the orchestra. Groove is largely inspired by Indian and African folk music. Melodically, the movement is extremely simple and uses a modal folk scale consisting of only five pitches.
As the title suggests, the second movement, Steady Rock, owes a lot to rock music. The movement maintains the same meter, tempo, and phrase length throughout and demands that the soloist play a large percussion setup with the ease of a much smaller trap set. The soloist must also play timpani with drum sticks rather than standard timpani mallets. I didn't realize it when I made this demand, but drum sticks should never be used on timpani, as the sticks cause serious damage to the heads of the instrument. As a result, this is the only concerto of which I am aware that, if played "correctly," requires the soloist to damage his own instrument. It seems that this movement owes even more to rock music than I originally intended
I wrote this piece to showcase the amazing gifts of Damien Bassman, percussionist and drummer extraordinaire.