Some remarkable things have been happening lately. I've been writing orchestral music like crazy, learning new material, diving into the complexities of 5/16 (which man let me tell you how that numbs your brain after a few hours), and binging on every expansion of Rocket League that comes out (somebody please help me I CAN'T STOP.)
Something awesome happened this weekend, though. See me at the far right of that picture? That's me. Timid composer that I am. See the guy next to me? That's Dr. Omar Carmenates, an incredible percussionist and all around awesome dude. For some reason, that awesome dude decided to give timid composer me a shot at writing for percussion ensemble.
Man. I had no idea what joy awaited.
Back when Pixel Tsunami came out, Omar took a listen and decided he really dug it. Asked me if I wanted to write for percussion ensemble. I'll give you a hint as to my answer.
The second word was yes.
So after months of writing themes in stupidly complicated time signatures, it was time to start pulling the piece together. It came together over the course of one week surprisingly. I typically find that my process smooths out when I have a lot of material to mix and match, so having all of those themes and riffs lying around turned the writing session into one super long crazy fun musical Lego building adventure. When I was done, I sent it over to him with the hopes that it would at least be a good starting place. Not only did he think it was a good starting place, he wanted to the scores ASAP to get his players shedding it!
Fast forward a few months, and I'm rehearsing with some of the coolest percussion dudes I've ever gotten to hang with. They were kind, responsive to feedback, attentive, ridiculously proficient considering the absolutely stupid things I asked them to do, and most importantly willing to have a good time with the piece. After all, what's the point in playing 25/16 against a steady quarter pulse if you can't rock out to it?
The performance absolutely blew me away and I was overwhelmed with the positive reception. Seeing something you've been working on for so long finally come to fruition and bring joy to people was a humbling experience, and I'm so incredibly thankful to all the percussionists for their amazing performances, both on my piece and the other stellar pieces of the evening.
Needless to say, I've been bitten by the percussion bug. I need to write polyrhythms. All of the polyrhythms.
ALL OF THEM.