Mallets and Membranes

The New England Conservatory of Music has announced a new commissioning project for the NEC Percussion Ensemble and conductor Frank Epstein. John Harbison, Robert X. Rodríguez, and Gunther Schuller are among the composers named for this program initiated by the Bradford and Dorothea Endicott Foundation. The project follows upon and extends the Endicott Foundation’s successful commission of Joan Tower’s quintet DNA, which premiered in 2003 and has been subsequently performed at the Aspen and Tanglewood Music Festivals and Carnegie Hall. The second installment in the Endicott commissioning project is Schuller’s GRAND CONCERTO FOR PERCUSSION AND KEYBOARDS — a new 24-minute work for eight percussion, piano, harp, celesta, and keyboard glockenspiel. The piece received a preview this summer at Tanglewood and premieres on 14 November as part of NEC’s celebrations for Schuller’s 80th Birthday. The Harbison and Rodríguez works will premiere during the 2006-2007 season.

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