If I Were At PASIC ...

I imagine that many of you are reading this are just arriving in Indianapolis for PASIC 2014.  Unfortunately, I can’t be there this year — I’m happily working because of those who can be there! — but I’ve looked over the schedule of performances and clinics to figure out what I would see if I were there.  After a quick skim of the schedule, here are my picks in chronological order:

ENSEMBLES/CLINICS/MASTERCLASSES

Rutgers Percussion Ensemble Thursday 1:00pm - 1:50pm - My friend, colleague and business partner at New York Percussion Service, Joseph Tompkins, has been the head of the percussion department at Rutgers University's Mason Gross School for the Arts since 2008.  This year, he brought Mike Truesdell on as an adjunct faculty member.  Mike and the Rutgers Percussion Ensemble will present: Percussive Topology (Concert C): "Excerpts from Treatise by Cornelius Cardew."

Amadinda Percussion Group Thursday 8:30pm - 10pm - This percussion group from Hungary has been around for 30 years(!) and there's a very good reason.  They are RIDICULOUS.  If you miss this, there's no reason for you to even have gone to PASIC at all.  'Nuff said.

Richard Weiner Friday 10am - 10:50am - This is a no brainer as well.  Richard Weiner was Principal Percussionist of the Cleveland Orchestra for 43 years!  Most of you reading this haven't even been alive for 43 years, so I'd be willing to bet he has some valuable insight about "The Snare Drum in the Concert Hall and at Auditions."  Just a guess.

Nancy Zeltsman Friday 12pm - 12:50pm - Nancy is one of the most incredible marimba artists I have ever heard.  Her depth of musicality, her reading skills and her fervor for championing the merits of the marimba as a solo instrument have been responsible for innumerable commissions from some of the most talented composers around the world.

Sō Percussion Friday 4:00pm - 4:50pm - There are lots of percussion groups out there and So Percussion is one of them that is truly making things happen.  Go see what they're all about.

Rob Knopper Friday 5:00pm - 5:50pm - Rob is the most recent member of the percussion section in the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and he has just released the first and only recording of Jacques Delécluse's Douze Etudes on CD and DVD.  I've had the pleasure of playing with him quite a bit over the past two years at the MET and if there's one takeaway, it's that he can figure shit out.  Go see his class so he can help you figure your shit out.

EXHIBITS

Black Swamp Percussion - Disclaimer: Yes, I am an artist endorser for BSP.  However, I don't endorse companies I don't believe in. So go to their booth, meet Eric and Tim and the gang and see what amazing things they've got going on.  Apparently there's an anniversary drum that you will see before I do!

Freer Percussion - Tom Freer is making some incredible sticks mallets as well as other various gizmos.  You definitely need to check this stuff out in person.

Evans Drumheads - I use Evans heads on almost all of my instruments.  Their new Level 360 manufacturing process makes the heads incredibly easy to put on and the sound of their Strata Timpani, Strata Staccato SD heads and Strata 1000 heads on concert toms are second to none.

Matt Nolan Custom - Please go there and report back to me!!!  Seriously!  I haven't had the opportunity to play any of his instruments, but he is making triangles in the tradition of Buddy & Thein as well as custom cymbals.

Stern Tanning - Stern Tanning makes beautiful calf heads.  I use them on my snare drums and we use them on two of our three best concert bass drums at New York Percussion Service.  Quick tip: If you're feeling like you want to splurge on a calf head for your concert snare drum, make sure it's on a steel flesh hoop!  Wood flesh hoops are designed for tom-toms and can't withstand the high tension of a concert snare drum.

Zildjian - They're making really great cymbals these days.  I would say I use them for 90% of my orchestral playing and use them almost exclusively for anything else: chamber music, drumset, etc.  Visit their booth and see what amazing instruments they have to offer!