Snare Drum Quintet

Premiered by Ictu5 Percussion Ensemble (Colombia).

Some years ago I played with my percussion ensemble a snare drum quartet by Igor Lesnik called Chamade Suite (great piece BTW!). One day we had a gig but we were only supposed to play music by Colombian composers, but we still wanted to play that piece! So I said “Ok, I’ll write a Colombian piece that we can play.”


Members of the University of Missouri percussion quartet with guest percussionist Colin McCall, rehearsing for the US premiere of the Suite.

Lesnik’s piece has a very colorful approach to the snare drum and also has the energetic and rhythmic approach that one always expects from percussion, my idea was to write a “Latin-American” response to Lesnik’s suite.  The dances in Suite are inspired by the folk music from the coasts of my country—that are  quite similar to many other dances throughout the continent—and the challenge was to push the “primitive” snare drum to get more colors and to be able to create a long piece of music based only on the sounds this instrument is capable of.  Looking for expansion in the colors of the instrument I ask the performers to play with different kind of mallets, bare hands, and even singing! (Percs. time to show off your sight singing skills!)The song in Chigualo “Velo que bonito” (Look at him, so beautiful) is part of the oral tradition from the Colombian pacific coast and still is both used as a funeral song for a child and as a praise for baby Jesus.

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