Performed by the UW Percussion Ensemble, with split parts to accommodate more players- Evan Berge, David Norgaard, Rachel Zeiger, Isaac McDonald, Emerson Wahl, David Gaskey, Courtney James, Lynn Park, Brendan Ryder, Janella Kang, and Andrew Angell, conducted by Aidan Gold

Symphony for Percussion Ensemble is a four-movement symphony written for percussion quartet with an optional electronics part.

NOTE: player 2 has a pennywhistle in their part, and player 4 has a flute. This is because the piece was originally written for percussionists that could also play those instruments. If you are interested in performing this piece but do not have percussionists that can double on flute and pennywhistle, there are a couple options: Hire a flute player and a pennywhistle player for the solos in the 3rd movement, OR, play the solos on whichever mallet percussion instrument is most convenient (the composer recommends vibraphone for flute, and glockenspiel for pennywhistle, though some range adjustments will have to be made for the solos, since they don’t fit in the normal range of a vibraphone). For this option, the players cannot walk around like indicated for the flute and pennywhistle, so they will have to remain in place by their instruments.

Also, the optional electronics part (4th page of the score) was originally written for percussionist Andrew Angell that had developed electronic percussion technology that allowed him to play instruments wirelessly from anywhere in the room, as well as other things taken advantage of in the optional electronics part. If you wish to include the electronics part in your performance, you are encouraged to creatively find ways to approximate the kinds of effects described in the electronics part.

This symphony follows the normal symphonic form of fast movement, scherzo, slow movement, and fast finale. Each movement has a title. The first movement, Landscapes, starts with a slow, mysterious introduction where the ensemble sings a Gregorian chant-like melody above dark accompaniment. Gradually a fast theme emerges with syncopated triplet accompaniment, and it dominates the rest of the movement, as it moves from one “landscape” of sound to another. At the climax, the Gregorian chant melody returns on top of the fast music, and then the fast theme is played very slowly and fades out in a mournful marimba solo, before rushing back in to end the movement. The second movement, A Dance, is a humorous dance that experiments with irrational meter, meter that cannot be simplified to whole numbers (such as 3 and a third / 4). The third movement, A Dream, is played with the stage lights off. It uses mysterious textures where each musician plays in a different tempo from the others, and also features a duet between flute and pennywhistle in the central section accompanied by crystal glasses. The finale, A Song, is a slow buildup of a triumphant, extremely simple theme that emerges through quiet whispering out of the dream of the third movement. The fast theme from the first movement returns briefly and threatens to bring the music back to that landscape, but instead it is met with the final, huge presentation of the finale theme, sung by all the percussionists (just as they sing in the beginning of the symphony), and the piece concludes with an amen cadence and a dramatic timpani solo.

Specific instrumentation details are in the second page of the score.

For additional information, questions, or parts requests, contact Aidan.