Percussion Ensemble

I have directed the McMaster Percussion Ensemble since my arrival in 2009, which brings together students from a wide variety of programs (as well as staff members). We regularly perform both on and off campus concerts, such as the Ontario Day of Percussion events. It is a pleasure directing this talented group!

Featured Recordings

Peforming Sofapilla by Chuck Ricotta for 11 percussionists – high energy piece for 10-14 composed by an old friend from my days at Penn State (Chuck is a PSU alum from 2001). This performance features the entire 2021-22 ensemble, bringing together students and staff from across campus: Justin Bennett (staff), Colin Bruce (Integrated Biomedical Engineering), Andy Chen (Chemical Biology), Tristan Chung (Theatre & Film), Jonathan Gonzalez (Life Sciences), Reginald Hart (staff), Cindy He (Life Sciences), Cody Johnson (Music), Kevin Mathan (Music), Nadia Mohammed (Life Sciences), Cindy Zhang (Health Sciences), and William Zhang (Arts & Science).

Instrumentation: Glockenspiel Xylophone Chimes Vibraphones 2 marimbas—(1) 4-octave, (1) low A w/optional low C indications 4 timpani Drums (4 concert toms, snare drum, concert bass drum, bongos, congas (2), timbales, mounted kick drum) Cymbals & gongs (splash cymbal, hi-hat, medium suspended & large suspended cymbal, crash cymbals (pair), china cymbal) Accessories (vibraslap, brake drum, cowbell, ocean drum, maracas, triangle, ribbon crasher, shaker, guiro)

A beautiful transcription of Debussy’s Dance by Whitney Prince. Played brilliantly by Andy Chen, Jonathan Gonzalez, Cindy He, Nadia Mohammed, Cindy Zhang, and William Zhang. Instrumentation: Orchestra Bells, Chimes, Vibraphone, 3 Marimba.

Featuring syncopated rhythms and fast moving lines, Spanesque Oscillations is a high energy quartet that is a treat for performers and audiences alike. Performed by Andy Chen, Jonathan Gonzalez, Nadia Mohammed, and William Zhang. Instrumentation: Marimba 1 (4-octave) Marimba 2 (4-octave) Marimba 3 (4-octave) Marimba 4 (4.3-octave).

Archival recordings of past concerts

From our 2023 December concert, The Chameleon features a large range of percussion instruments and changing colours. This performance involved all 13 members of the 2023/24 percussion ensemble. Instrumentation: Vibraphone – Kevin Mathan Marimba 1 – Cindy Zhang Marimba 2 – Amelia Li Xylophone / Bells – Richard Ma Marimba 3 – Bruce Colines Marimba 4 – Tiēnchee Liu Timpani / shaker – Cindy He Aux 1 (gong, triangle, temple blocks, tonal bass drums, thunder sheet) – Ethan Evans Aux 2 (conc. bass drum, guiro, vibra-slap, cowbell) – Yinui (Lily) Li Aux 3 (flexatone, Cymbal, temple bells, claves, congas, xylo, bongos) – Andy Chen Aux 4 (cabassa, tambourine, slap stick, anvil, tom toms) – Catherine Deng Drum Set – Rasam Zakeri Piano – Cody Johnson.

Live recording from the 2020 Ontario/Quebec Day of Percussion Festival in Ottawa. This rendition of Infancia by Egberto Gismonti (arr. Brennan) features fourth year student Ryan McEwan (lead marimba part), as well as Kevin Mathan, Brad James, Andy Lopez, and Juan Zanguna (percussion).

Power Struggle (Nathan Daughtry). Performed byJonathan Gonzales, Andy Chen, William Zhang, Sarah Slabon, Juan Nieto, Dhuvy Mathan, Brad James, and Justin Bennet. Instrumentation: Player 1 (bells & xylophone) Player 2 (3-octave vibraphone) Player 3 (4.3-octave marimba*) Player 4 (4.3-octave marimba*) Player 5 (4 timpani) Player 6 (4 concert toms, snare drum, chimes) Player 7 (splash cymbal, suspended cymbal, hi-hat, China cymbal, shaker) Player 8 (bass drum, tam-tam)

Shared Space, by Ivan Trevino, performed live at LR Wilson Hall (Dec 2023). Performed by Pierre August-Ahrens, Jamaar Bryan, Thomas Dykstra, Andres Elizondo, Tom Johnston, Ryan McEwen, and Sarah Slabon. Instrumentation: Marimba (5 octave) Vibraphone Glockenspiel Cajon Concert toms

Divertimento No 1. (Haydn). Three movements, performed by Ryan McEwen, Nadia Mohammed, Tom Dykstra.

Antiphon (F. Michael Combs). Performed Pierre August-Ahrens, Jamaar Bryan, Thomas Dykstra, Andres Elizondo, Brad James, Tom Johnston, Ryan McEwen, Nadia Mohammed, Eveline Rowley, and Sarah Slabon.

Antiphon by F. Michael Combs is percussion ensemble piece scored for “double percussion choir” (ten players).

Choir 1: One snare drum with snares, two snare drums without snares, two tom toms (high and low), two timpani (any sizes as long as they will accommodate the appropriate pitches), large bass drum (concert) with medium soft mallet, pair crash cymbals – minimum of 17″ but preferably 19″ or 20″

Choir 2: small snare drum – higher in pitch than the snare drum in Choir 1, two bongos played with light sticks, two tom toms – the larger should be higher in pitch than the lower tom tom in Choir 1, two timpani – (any sizes as long as they will accommodate the appropriate pitches)

Woodwork (Gottry). Performed by Pierre August-Ahrens, Jamaar Bryan, Tom Johnston, Ryan McEwen, Nadia Mohammed. Instrumentation: 4.3-octave marimba, 5.0-octave marimba, cajon.

Our December concert of 2023 featured Steve Yeager’s arrangement of Blue Rondo a la Turk, originally written by Dave Brubeck. The classical rondo form features a 9/8 Turkish folk rhythm pattern with a 4/4 blues in the middle. This performance features Cindy Zhang, Cody Johnson, Andy Chen, Colin Bruce, and Cindy He. Instrumentation: Orchestra Bells, Xylophone, 2 Marimbas, Vibraphone, Drum Set.

Toccatta without instruments, by Ramon Meyer performed Dec 2023. This performance features Ethan Evans, Rasam Zakeri, Richard Ma, Tienchee Liu, Lily Li, Amelia Li, and Catherine Deng.

Teamwork (Glassock). Performed by Pierre August-Ahrens, Jamaar Bryan, Michael Coates, Moj Modares, Sarah Slabon, Madison Walters, Andrew Mrozowski. Instrumentation: Player I: Marimba 1, Wood Block, High Snare Drum Player II: Marimba 2, Hi-Hat Player III: Vibraphone, Claves, Bongos Player IV: 4 Timpani Player V: Chimes, 2 High Temple Blocks, 2 Snare Drums Player VI: Bells, 2 Low Temple Blocks, 2 Medium Tom-Toms Player VII: 2 Suspended Cymbals, Tambourine, Triangle, 2 Low Tom-Toms

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