In Tuesday’s (9/18) Grand Rapids Press (Michigan), Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk writes, “Grand Rapids Symphony kicks off its season with a bang. Followed by a crash, a pow and a splash. A Concerto for Section Percussion and Orchestra, composed by Grand Rapids Symphony principal timpanist Shannon Wood, will be premiered this weekend to open the 2012-13 season. … The piece for four soloists and orchestra that begins the orchestra’s 83rd season also is an entry in ArtPrize 2012 at St. Cecilia Music Center. ‘We thought it would be a great reflection of the excitement of ArtPrize and very festive with percussion to open the season,’ said music director David Lockington, when the season was unveiled in February. … Nearly 30 or so specific percussion instruments—assorted drums, cow bell and cymbals, xylophone and marimba—some well-known, some new and unfamiliar, are featured in the 10-minute concerto. Wood designed an instrument he calls a ‘Friction Harp’ with nickel-plated, tuned tubes that are sounded with a violin bow or well-rosined glove. Like many great composers across music history, Wood wrote with his performers in mind, including principal percussionist Bill Vits, a drum set whiz, and associate principal percussionist Dave Hall, a master of the marimba.” For more on the work of Wood and other musician-composers around the country, check out “Local Talent,” a feature in the forthcoming Fall issue of Symphony.

Posted September 18, 2012