For the past three seasons, I’ve had the honor of being a member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two program. CMSLC is a fantastic organization that presents a plethora of concerts with an incredible roster of artists each season, both in NYC and on tour throughout the world. CMS Two is their young artist program, and members are thrust headlong into every aspect of the Society: performing, touring, educational events, recording, and more.
My residency comes to an end this season, and as a kind of culminating experience, CMS is presenting an all-percussion program next week, both at Alice Tully Hall and at the Harris Theater in Chicago.
The program is centered around Béla Bartók’s Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion. This titan of a work is one of the earliest examples of meaningful chamber music with percussion, yet it remains one of the absolute best pieces that we have. The great pianists Wu Han and Gilbert Kalish will join me and percussionist Chris Froh for this work.
The first half of the program is a kind of rapid-fire journey through the last 50 or so years of percussion music. Chris and I, along with percussionists Ayano Kataoka and Victor Caccese, will play music by John Cage, Thierry de Mey, Conlon Nancarrow, Steve Reich, Toru Takemitsu, and Nebojsa Zivkovic. A huge array of different styles of composition are presented here, alongside an impressive battery of percussion instruments. Our hope in programming this music is to give an audience member who may be unfamiliar with percussion music a glimpse into how composers began to write for percussion, and some of the many directions that they are heading to today.