Gabriela Ortiz Aroma Foliado CD

Gabriela Ortiz Aroma Foliado CD

Gabriela Ortiz is a significant composer from Mexico. A couple of years ago, I was fortunate to play on Gabriela Ortiz’s CD called Aroma Foliado. I played percussion on the first track, Elegía (1991). The CD was nominated for a Latin Grammy and featured a lot of great performances. Be sure to check out the final track which features a piece for steel pan and two harps. Below is the personnel listing and the program notes for the piece. Be sure to check out the sample tracks on the Southwest Chamber site. PERSONNEL 1. Elegía (1991) 15:38 Elissa Johnston, Sharon Harms, Laura Mercado Wright & Ayana Haviv, Sopranos Lisa Edelstein, flute/piccolo/alto David Johnson, timpani Ken McGrath & Dave Gerhart, percussion Alison Bjorkedal, harp Phillip Bush, piano/celesta Shalini Vijayan, violin Kira Blumberg, viola Peter Jacobson, cello Tom Peters, double bass Jeff von der Schmidt, conductor PROGRAM NOTES Southwest Chamber Music continues its vibrant association with the musical life of Mexico with its newest album, Aroma Foliado. A musical portrait of composer Gabriela Ortiz, five important works are represented from her colorful and diverse output ranging from 1991 to 2010. Funded by Mexico’s FONCA, Aroma Foliado is a unique and rare collaboration between a Mexican composer and an American ensemble. The disc includes vocal soloists baritone Evan Hughes singing Rio Bravo and four sopranos in Ortiz’s deeply moving Elegia: Elissa Johnston, Sharon Harms, Laura Mercado-Wright and Ayana Haviv. Inspired by a string quartet by Mozart, the title track of the album is Aroma Foliado which alternates from dream seqeunces to pounding Mexican rhythms. Two works celebrate the rivers flowing through Mexican culture. Río Bravo for baritone is accompanied by 6 carefully tuned cystal wine goblets and solo violinist Lorenz Gamma. The legendary Mexican river Papaloapan inspires the magical sonorities of two harps and steel drum in Río de las Mariposas. The disc concludes with the aerobic athleticism of Atlas Pumas, a recreation of a major soccer match for violin and marimba, excitingly performed by Shalini Vijayan and Lynn...
Long Beach Symphony Set-Up

Long Beach Symphony Set-Up

From the Ground Up: Building a Long Beach Symphony POPS! Concert. Long Beach Symphony POPS! concerts are fantastic orchestra dinner picnics featuring 300 dinner tables of 10. Groups are encouraged to bring picnics and favorite libations or to arrange for catering at their tables before and during the performance. This is unlike any other concert that I play and I make a cameo in this video 2:34....
VIVA 21ST CENTURY – Harmonic Canon Streams

VIVA 21ST CENTURY – Harmonic Canon Streams...

On Saturday, December 27, 2014, I was featured on WPRB 103.3 FM (New Jersey) on Marvin Rosen’s Classical Discoveries VIVA 21ST CENTURY. I performed Steve Kornicki’s Harmonic Canon Streams (2006). Listen here: Click Here for more information about composer Steve Kornicki. Click Here for more information about Marvin Rosen’s Classical...
Yamaha Appoints New Product Manager

Yamaha Appoints New Product Manager

On December 15, 2014, I began my tenure with the Yamaha Corporation of America as the Product Manager of Percussion. You can read the announcement here. This has been a new transition for me. Previously, I taught at CSULB in the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music as the Director of Percussion Studies. I applied for the job last year and didn’t get it. I plan on writing more about this transition in the future. Thanks for your continued...
University Percussion Group wins Competition

University Percussion Group wins Competition...

On May 2, 2014 the BCCM/CSULB University Percussion Group won the 2014 California Percussive Arts Society College Percussion Ensemble Competition. This is the second year in a row that they have won the competition. The ensemble performed Sun by Baljinder Sekhon and Quad Helix by Clay Condon (PAS California Ensemble Program) and was awarded a new Yamaha Grand Symphonic Series Maple Snare Drum for placing first. Thank you Yamaha Percussion! The group competed against 4 other colleges, including Chapman University, San Jose State, Fresno State and San Joaquin College. Jazper Saldana (junior) also placed 3rd in the college marimba competition. It was the most competitive solo category. I was extremely proud and grateful to all of the students who performed and competed in the competition. Their hard work paid off. Congrats Jazper Saldana, Jeff Ramos, Kan Adachi, Brianne Kikuchi, Lucas Zumbado and Julio de Leon....
Percussion Paints Pictures

Percussion Paints Pictures

Over the past 17 years, I have been a member of the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra Percussion Ensemble. During this time, we have performed over 400 shows for the 2nd and 3rd graders in the Long Beach Unified School District. The LBSO commissioned Lynda Sue Marks  to write the show entitled Percussion Paints Pictures. The current ensemble is Lynda Sue Marks and Gary Long (percussion) with Jamieson Price. This show is one of the highlights of my year. Watching the 2nd and 3rd grade kids reaction to the music is priceless and I can’t wait for my kids to see the show...
Snare Drum Warm-Up Part 2

Snare Drum Warm-Up Part 2

In September, I shared my updated snare drum warm-up. It was my hope to start the conversation about creating a unified warm-up that hit all the basic building blocks on snare drum in a 10-15 minutes. I would love to hear if anyone has been using it and if it has worked. I found over the past 6 months, that it has helped me focus and prepare for my practice session along with getting me warm. I also feel that while I enjoy using the warm-up I needed a metronome to keep me honest and continue to push me. So, I decided to program my metronome with the different lines so I could be more effective in my execution of the warm-up. (I have written before about my favorite metronome app for the iPhone. Tempo Advanced is a killer app and is the best $2 you will ever spend. It is now available on iPhone and Android and has recently been updated to include polyrhythms. More about that in a future article). I programmed each line of the warm-up into Tempo Advanced and created a set list that progresses through the entire sheet. I wanted to figure out a way to share this everyone and it wasn’t until last night (when I found Reflector) that I was able to record my iPad screen. I uploaded the video to YouTube and now anyone can use this video to practice with the sheet music. In the future, I would like to program it at different tempos. Before I do that, I would like some feedback from you. Let me know what you think. Does it work for you? Is there anything I should change? Have a great weekend and happy practicing. —————————- Originally posted on DrumChattr.com on February 21,...
Long Beach Symphony Kids Concerts

Long Beach Symphony Kids Concerts

On January 22 and 23, 2014, I was fortunate to perform the Long Beach Symphony Orchestra’s Symphony Concerts for Young People at the Terrace Theater. The program, entitled “An English Exhibition,” included: Star Spangled Banner, Trumpet Voluntary, Pomp and Circumstance No. 1, Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, Mars (from “The Planets.”). I am always grateful to play with the LBSO and I especially enjoy playing for all of the 5th Graders from the Long Beach Unified School District. Thanks Lynda Sue Marks and the staff of the LBSO for everything you...
Concert Programming

Concert Programming

I am always looking for ways to improve the concert-going experience. As artists, I think we need to find a better way to attract and retain an audience. We need to think about concert programming and how to put pieces together that will be interesting to the audience and help our students learn about musicality and programming. I have always disliked going to percussion concerts and/or recitals and watching percussionists move equipment in between pieces. For this reason, I generally choose to have three parts on my percussion ensemble programs with minimal (or no) movements in between pieces. This takes some planning, but I think it is a more enjoyable show for the audience. For my past faculty recital (January 31, 2014), I decided to take this concept one step further and play the entire second half without pause. This is not a new concept by any means. Vocalists combine arias into larger sets. The first time I saw this during a percussion concert was in Spring 2003 at the USC Percussion Ensemble Concert directed by Erik Forrester. All of the students were on stage and they played each piece without a pause. Erik was able to control the pace of the program by selecting pieces that flowed together and worked as a larger set of pieces. (He had also done this at PASIC when his ensemble performed in 2002.) As an audience member for that concert, it made a big impression and I wanted to try and find an opportunity to try it out on one of my concerts. As I was programming my recital, I wanted to bring back some pieces I had done in the past and combine them with some new and recently composed pieces. The majority of these pieces were 4-6 minutes and I didn’t feel the need for the audience to applaud between every piece. Voila! I finally had the perfect situation to try out this concept. The program I played was: Red Arc/Blue Veil – John Luther Adams A Minute of News – Eugene Novotney Pitch Drop – Dave Gerhart Circles No. 1 – Martin Herman/Dave Gerhart Warm It Up -Tom Osborne When selecting music, I tried to put together pieces that would flow into each other. I also wanted the audience to have some time to process what they heard without having to applaud. Overall, I was happy with the outcome. I know it is different to watch this on YouTube verses being in the audience but I would appreciate any feedback on this topic. Do you think it worked? Would you have done something...
Kopetzki Marimba Concerto

Kopetzki Marimba Concerto

It has been a busy couple of weeks. I performed my Faculty Recital on Friday, January 31 and then I performed the Eckhard Kopetzki Marimba Concerto with the CSULB Symphony Orchestra on Friday, February 7. It was an honor to work with conductor Johannes Müller-Stosch and the students of the orchestra. Below are some photos from the concert. Thanks to Carolyn Bremer for the beautiful photos....