The Modern Percussion Revolution: Journeys of the Progressive Artist, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Modern Percussion Revolution

Journeys of the Progressive Artist, 1st Edition

Edited by Kevin Lewis, Gustavo Aguilar


308 pages | 28 B/W Illus.

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Hardback: 9780415716956
pub: 2014-06-09
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More than eighty years have passed since Edgard Varèse’s catalytic work for percussion ensemble, Ionisation, was heard in its New York premiere. A flurry of pieces for this new medium dawned soon after, challenging the established truths and preferences of the European musical tradition while setting the stage for percussion to become one of the most significant musical advances of the twentieth century. This 'revolution', as John Cage termed it, was a quintessentially modernist movement - an exploration of previously undiscovered sounds, forms, textures, and styles. However, as percussion music has progressed and become woven into the fabric of Western musical culture, several divergent paths, comprised of various traditions and a multiplicity of aesthetic sensibilities, have since emerged for the percussionist to pursue.

This edited collection highlights the progressive developments that continue to investigate uncharted musical grounds. Using historical studies, philosophical insights, analyses of performance practice, and anecdotal reflections authored by some of today's most engaged performers, composers, and scholars, this book aims to illuminate the unique destinations found in the artistic journey of the modern percussionist.


"This book is profound, intellectual, insightful, appropriate for the times and will fill a void between the practical and the futuristic look at percussion. The information obtained from reading the book will greatly benefit the careers of the modern percussionists." – John Beck, Professor Emeritus of Percussion, Eastman School of Music, University of Rochester, USA

Table of Contents

Preface Kevin Lewis and Gustavo Aguilar Part 1: Looking Back, Moving Ahead 1. Not Knowing, the Cart Got in Front Gustavo Aguilar 2. What of the Performers? The Case of the Percussion Group Cincinnati and the Need to Reconsider Percussion Chamber Music Historiography Thomas J. Kernan 3. At Loose Ends with Anticommunication Allen Otte 4. Writing (at the End) of New Music Christopher Shultis Part 2: Exploration, Discovery, and Illumination 5. Abstracted Resonance: The Percussion Music of Peter Garland John Lane 6. The Speaking Percussionist as Storyteller Bonnie Whiting 7. I Drum the Body Electric Rob Esler 8. The Search for Self: An Exploration of the Percussion Music of Stuart Saunders Smith Kevin Lewis Part 3: Conversing about the Journey 9. A Conversation with William Winant Thad Anderson 10. Percussive Thoughts Fritz Hauser 11. On the Nature of Percussion Masterworks Bill Sallak Part 4: Reflections on Paths Traveled 12. Meandering Steven Schick 13. Bagatelles Robyn Schulkowsky 14. Composing, Thoughts Stuart Saunders Smith 15. Letter to a Young Percussionist (Preferences in Percussion, 2010) Allen Otte

About the Editors

Kevin Lewis recently completed a doctoral degree in percussion from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He is a section percussionist of the Akron Symphony Orchestra, a founding member of the progressive Akros Percussion Collective, and is currently Instructor of Music at Muskingum University, USA.

Gustavo Aguilar is an experimental performer/composer/improviser with an extensive history of collaboration with dancers, filmmakers, poets, painters, dramaturges, and sound installation artists. He is currently Music Director with GroundWorks Dancetheater of Cleveland, Ohio, and Assistant Professor of Experimental Performance in the Department of Sound, Performance, and Visual Inquiry at the University of Maine, Farmington, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Music

This series is our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections. Considering music performance, theory, and culture alongside topics such as gender, race, ecology, film, religion, politics, and science, titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General
MUSIC / Musical Instruments / Percussion