THEATRICAL MUSIC FOR SOLO PERCUSSION

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2010

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Abstract

The act of playing percussion is innately theatrical. The motions by which a percussionist plays his instruments often resemble a carefully choreographed dance. Our bodies are freed from having to hold or blow into an instrument. We are free to move to and from our instruments, to change our facial expressions, and to vocalize. This performance dissertation consists of three recitals featuring theatrical music for solo percussion. The selections are limited to works in which the composer instructs the solo percussion performer to perform in an extra-musical capacity, whether it be by singing, speaking, moving, acting, dancing, or any other action. On all three recitals, I performed established works for solo theatrical percussion. However, on the first recital, I also played the world premiere performance of The Authors, a new work by Stuart Saunders Smith. This half-hour long marimba opera requires the solo performer to speak, sing, and act while playing the marimba. For the final recital, I featured pieces commissioned from two professional composers, John Leupold II and Daniel Adams. Through this series, I hope to both pay tribute to existing great works and to encourage new composition of solo theatrical percussion music.

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NOTICE: Recordings accompanying this record are available only to University of Maryland College Park faculty, staff, and students and cannot be reproduced, copied, distributed or performed publicly by any means without prior permission of the copyright holder.