Percussion becoming a force in concert halls

Posted on: November 18, 2009

In Wednesday’s (11/18) Wall Street Journal, Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim writes, “When Jonathan Haas set out to pursue a career as a solo percussionist 30 years ago, he knew he was in for a struggle.” Today, the story points out, such percussionists as Evelyn Glennie and Colin Currie “have thriving solo careers fueled by a growing repertoire of pieces written for them by new and established composers. … There is the uniquely athletic—and often theatrical—aspect of percussion performance. Mr. Haas recalls a formative encounter with Stomu Yamashta in the late 1960s in which the Japanese percussionist would strike gongs with martial-arts kicks. … The extramusical elements may be the reason percussion music is so popular with audiences, and often draws crowds that are substantially younger than average. Sometimes it bridges the divide between classical music and rock: Mr. Yamashta remains an icon in alternative rock circles; a percussion concerto by Stewart Copeland, the former drummer of The Police, will be given its premiere next year by the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.”

Photo of Jonathan Haas by Robert Caplina

Posted November 18, 2009