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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Dance to the beat of the Arizona Percussion Ensemble

    The Arizona Percussion Ensemble will perform at 7:30 p.m. on May 2.

    “”We’re playing a variety of works from some of the very first percussion ensemble pieces ever written to some of the most recent ensembles written,”” said Norman Weinberg, director of the Arizona Percussion Ensemble and the director of percussion stories.

    One of the pieces, called “”Drusser,”” is a theatrical work.

    “”It’s a trio, so we’ve been working on it this whole academic year, and it’s been quite an undertaking,”” said Alex Wier, a senior music performance major. “”It’s nice to be able to perform it finally.””

    “”It has the three percussionists doing things on stage that one might not expect them to do,”” Weinberg said. “”They have to speak at times, sing at times, grunt at times. It’s very highly specific in the score. What they do at any particular time is laid out in great precision. It turns out to be quite funny.””

    The ensemble will also be performing Amadeo Roldan’s “”Ritmica #5″” and “”Ritmica #6,”” which some consider the first percussion ensembles ever composed.

    “”It’s a bunch of Cuban instrumentation,”” said Kyle Maxwell-Doherty, a first-year

    master’s student studying music with an emphasis in percussion performance. “”It flows really well as an ensemble. With the instruments that we’re playing on it, it’s a giant groove. It’s pretty fun.””

    The instruments in the Ritmicas are unique.

    “”It’s a bunch of Cuban instrumentation,”” Maxwell-Doherty said. “”We have the timbales, the claves, there are some timpani thrown in, there’s also a bombo, which is like a common modern day bass drum, and then a a really hip instrument called the marímbula. It’s basically a box with metal tongues that come out, and you pluck the tongues.””

    The performance will be a new experience for many viewers.

    “”I think it’s definitely quite an experience to hear so many different instruments and sounds that either you’ve never heard before or you didn’t think was possible or all kinds of things that all in one little show,”” Wier said. “”It’s just an experience that you don’t get often or at all.””

    “”A lot of the music is going to be things that they have never heard before in terms of explorations into sound colors,”” Weinberg said. “”The physicality of playing percussion instruments is another thing that is kind of attractive. It’s a very visual performance.””

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