Posted By : PrometheanEditions
Piece Title : Drum Dances
No. of times Viewed (January 2019) :25
Total No. of times Viewed :3944
No. of Media Uploads :0(Videos -0, MP3 - 0, Photos - 0)
Dificulty Rating :
Level : Senior / Graduate
Composer / Arranger : Psathas, John (1966-)
Composer / Arranger Details:

John Psathas (1966) is one of a few New Zealand composers who have made a mark on the international scene, particularly in Europe and North America. He is now widely considered one of the three most important living composers of the Greek Diaspora. Raised in Taumaranui and Napier, John is the son of Greek immigrant parents who arrived in New Zealand in the early 1960s. After studying piano and composition at Victoria University, he studied privately in Belgium with Jaqueline Fontyn before returning to take up lecturing at the New Zealand School of Music in Wellington. John’s music has been commissioned and performed by many great musicians and orchestras around the world. These include Michael Brecker, Dame Evelyn Glennie, Michael Houstoun, Joshua Redman, The New Zealand String Quartet, Federico Mondelci, The New Zealand Trio, Pedro Carneiro, the Takacs Quartet. The Netherlands Blazers Ensemble, the Halle Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic, the Melbourne Symphony, the BBC Scottish Symphony, the Auckland Philharmonia, the Vector Wellington Orchestra, the NZSO, and many others. John has a natural inclination and innate ability for mega-projects. Since writing much of the ceremonial music for the 2004 Olympic Games, John’s music has been on the radar screen of a wider public than that normally associated with contemporary classical music. To him, music composition is first and foremost a communicative art form. He is constantly seeking ways and means of making intellectual music accessible to a wider audience. He explores connections between contemporary music and age-old musical traditions and he puts together programs, like his “Zeibekiko” that create context for the appreciation of difficult contemporary works. In 2010 John’s “A Cool Wind” will receive its Carnegie Hall debut with the Takacs quartet, and he will be Distinguished Guest Composer at the Winnipeg’s 2010 New Music Festival.


Total Number of Percussionists Required :1 Percussionist(s)
Categories : Drumset Percussion / Mixed Chamber Ensemble
Instrument / Discipline : Drumset and Piano Duet
Instrumentation : Drum Kit / Glockenspiel / Piano
Range of Instruments / Number of Drums : NA
Written for / Commissioned by : Evelyn Glennie
Permission given for Youtube video by Copyright holder
and Youtube Channel Owner. Recorded / Provided by:
 John Psathas
Accompanied :Solo with Piano Accompaniment
Publisher :Promethean Editions
Publishers Website :www.promethean-editions.com/
Publisher Details :

A Greek legend tells how the demigod Prometheus stole fire from the Gods and brought it to mankind in order that they might establish civilisation. Subsequently Zeus took vengeance on Prometheus for his cunning, condemning him to be bound in chains for eternity and sending an eagle to feed upon his immortal liver!

Promethean Editions was established in 1996 with the mission of bringing the fire of new, fresh and exciting contemporary music to performers and audiences throughout the world. Today we publish, promote and market music by emerging and established composers in the global market-place.

We publish and represent the music of thirty composers and work closely with our house composers: Gareth Farr, Christos Hatzis, Vincent Ho and John Psathas.

Key strategies include the publication of sheet music and services to composers (management, music typesetting and administration of music hire and facsimile score publication).

Promethean Editions are intended primarily for performance. Scores and parts are sturdy and easy to use: durable outside, clearly and sensibly laid out within.

Music is engraved using either Music Press (Graphire) or Finale (MakeMusic!). Music Press is a high-end expert music typesetting software package whose output is comparable to the finest classical hand engraving, and custom fonts and spacing are employed in Finale to achieve clean and stylish scores.

Gareth Farr and John Psathas are two important New Zealand composers. Together with Canadians Christos Hatzis and Vincent Ho they form part of an emerging unique artistic voice. Gareth Farr is renowned for his colourful melodies and driving, percussive writing, while referencing musical styles of the Pacific-rim, including Cook Island drumming, Balinese Gamelan and Maori music traditions. Christos Hatzis, a Greek born Canadian resident, draws musical inspiration from Christian spirituality, his own Byzantine heritage and other cultures. His music is eclectic and combines elements of jazz, pop and world music, including several earlier works inspired by the music of the Inuit, Canada’s arctic inhabitants. Canadian Vincent Ho’s music is rich and energetic, a unique integration of influences ranging from the visual arts, electroacoustic and natural soundscapes, traditional classical music forms, and the physical properties of the instruments and ensembles for which he writes. Ho is currently Composer in Residence with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra. New Zealand born Greek John Psathas was recognised early in his career for writing high-energy and propulsive music. He continues to fuse a new classical style by drawing from his heritage and aspects of European art music, jazz and rock.

Year Composed / Copyright Date :1993 /  1998
Duration :10Minutes
No. of Mallets/Sticks Required :2
Special Needs :Glockenspiel needed for the second movement
Sheet Music Available From :www.promethean-editions.com      Check to see if in stock
Programme Notes / Performance Details :

Each of the four dances was stimulated by a certain rhythmic interaction possible between the two performers. From the chaotic first movement (which is like a game where both players attempt to force each others` cadences), to the ending of the prestissimo fourth movement (in which both parts are synchronised), the two performers gradually begin working together instead of battling for superiority. The second movement is a loosely-written stately dance, and the third movement involves very tight rhythmic interaction and is driven by syncopation occurring simultaneously on several levels (from the semiquaver to the crotchet).The work is heavily influenced by jazz and rock music, particularly that of the late 1980s and early 1990s. I am greatly inspired by the drumming of Dave Weckl, the very different piano styles of Keith Jarrett and Chick Corea, and the enormous energy in the music of guitarists like Steve Vai.


“New Zealand composer John Psathas has created a real workout for piano and drum set in his four-part work Drum Dances. Psathas, who admits to being influenced by Chick Corea and Dave Weckl, has produced a very detailed piano / drum set score that attempts to capture the spontaneity and rhythmic interplay of a duet between these two musicians. He has done an excellent job.

“The first movement is a lengthy drum solo with specific accents that correspond to the melody. The slower second movement requires the drummer to play glockenspiel atop a bass drum / hi-hat accompaniment. The third movement is a study in rhythmic displacement for the drums as the pianist takes the forefront. The fourth movement is a fast and furious ‘duel’ between the pianist and the drummer that challenges both players with shifting meters and accent patterns. The piano part is really a study in two-hand independence.

“Written for a five piece kit (with four cymbals), this is for the advanced player who has great chops, solid time, good reading skills, and nerves of steel. The piano part would require someone of equal talent. It would make an excellent finale for any professional concert.”

Terry O`Mahoney, Percussive Notes

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