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NYU Steel and Sonatas at the 2012 PAS KoSA NYU Weekend of Percussion

Jonathan Haas - Man With A Vision

A When Steel Talks Exclusive

In Pictures

New York, USA - While the attention of hundreds of thousands of steelpan music enthusiasts worldwide is firmly fixed on the home of the steelpan instrument—Trinidad and Tobago—as the largest annual gathering of steelpan instruments commences for the Panorama competition this weekend - in New York city one of the most significant events in the history of New York Pan took place. New York Pan and Pan globally may never be the same. On this day, as part of a two-day percussion-filled weekend, one of the home-based New York City powerhouse orchestras performed with a college orchestra on the same card of percussive events.

Over the February 11-12, 2012 weekend, New York University hosted the 4th annual PAS (Percussive Arts Society)-KoSA (KoSA International Percussion Workshops)-NYU Weekend of Percussion at the University’s Frederick Loewe Theater. The event presented to the public free of charge “15 hours of percussion clinics, concerts, and competitions from the hottest percussionists, drummers, and industry heads in the country….” A much-anticipated solo marimba competition, Scottish [bag]pipe band drumming, insight into the music business and entrepreneurship, master classes and more took center stage during the two-day event.

Weekend of Percussion's three hosts perform at showcase concert - from left: Andrew Beall (PAS), Aldo Mazza (KoSA), Jonathan Haas (NYU)
Weekend of Percussion’s three hosts perform at showcase concert - from left: Andrew Beall (PAS), Aldo Mazza (KoSA), Jonathan Haas (NYU)

Two showcase concerts were the highlights at the end of each day, with the NYU Steel Band and Sonatas Steel Orchestra sharing the concert spotlight on the final evening. Event hosts Jonathan Haas (NYU, Director of the NYU Steinhardt Percussion Program), Andrew Beall (President of PAS, NY) and Aldo Mazza, founder and director of KoSA - were themselves also part of both showcase concerts.

NYU Steel Band performs for the 2012 showcase concert
NYU Steel Band performs for the 2012 showcase concert

As a percussive instrument, the steel pan is part of NYU’s percussion program, where mastering several voices of the steelpan instrument family is not optional, but mandatory – an initiative of program director Jonathan Haas. In a relatively short time the idea from this man with a vision has become a distinct reality. Moreover that reality took a leap forward that will forever impact the landscape of Pan in New York. This resultant NYU Steel Band was therefore a welcome showcase stopper for a select and appreciative audience.

Sonatas Steel Orchestra performs for the 2012 showcase concert
Sonatas Steel Orchestra performs for the 2012 showcase concert

Under the musical leadership of director Josh Quillen the NYU Steel Band has developed into a proficient and viable steel orchestra that can musically tackle anything from Len “Boogsie” Sharpe to Philip Glass. Pan has taken an equal place among the instruments at New York University, one of the most prestigious institutions in the USA.

Event co-host Jonathan Haas of NYU (left) greets attendees
Event co-host Jonathan Haas of NYU (left) greets attendees

 

Event co-host Andrew Beall (with microphone) of PAS-NY addresses audience
Event co-host Andrew Beall (with microphone) of PAS-NY addresses audience

For the 2012 Weekend of Percussion, the original vision was for NYU Steel Band to be joined by four additional steel orchestras for a mass steelband feature performance. While this did not materialize, the audience were privy to the percussive sounds of steel from NYU Steel Band and Sonatas Steel Orchestra in two thirty-minute performances. With their combined repertoires, the music of a variety of artists was highlighted in scintillating steel from the two groups including the works of Len “Boogsie” Sharpe, Philip Glass, David Rudder, Andre Tanker, Ralph MacDonald, Chris Brown and more, with Aldo Mazza joining NYU Steel Band for a cameo.

Sonatas' players prep for show
Sonatas’ players prep for show
  Lucky Lisa Samuel with Zildjian cymbals won in raffle
Lucky Lisa Samuel with Zildjian cymbals
won in raffle


NYU Steel & Sonatas Steel Orchestra

Such a weekend burgeoning with percussive performances, acclaimed artists, music professionals and raffle giveaways—like the Zildjian cymbals won by former Sonatas’ player-now chaperone Lisa Samuel—would not be possible without some stalwart sponsors. The involvement of the likes of Ableton Live, Aquarian Drumheads, Bachovich Music Publications, Beall Percussion Specialties, Cambrian College, Cooperman Fife and Drums, Drum Workshop (DW), Evans Drumheads, Fall Creek Marimba, Factory Metal Percussion, Innovative Percussion, Latin Percussion (LP), Laurentian University, Ludwig Drums, Malletech, Mike Balter, Musser Mallets, Natal Drums, New York Metro Pipe Band, New York University, Offworld Percussion, Pearl Drums, Percussive Arts Society, ProMark Drumsticks, Remo, Roland-V Drums, Rhythm Tech, Sabian, StickTape, Vater Percussion, Vic Firth and Zildjian contributed in large part to make the 4th annual Weekend of Percussion at NYU a success.

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