Mitchell Peters (1935-2017)

I was saddened to hear the news that Mitchell Peters passed away this weekend. While I never met him, I have played and taught out of his books for over 20 years. He was a great educator and performer and he will be missed.

I don’t think it is a stretch to say that every percussionist in the United States has played something that Mitchell Peter’s wrote. He composed well known marimba solos such as Waves, Yellow After the Rain and Sea Refractions. He wrote many method books including Intermediate Snare Drum Etudes, Developing Dexterity and Fundamental Method for Mallets. He also wrote chamber and percussion ensemble works such as A la nañigo, Sonata-Allegro and Study in 5/8. These are just a few of the many works he wrote for percussion.

Rest in Peace Mr. Peters.

Kettle Brew by Alex Shapiro and David Jarvis

Kettle Brew by Alex Shapiro and David Jarvis (2015)

From YouTube: It all started near midnight in a 2-star hotel lobby bar on the outskirts of recession-hit Reno, Nevada. David and Alex sipped their scotch from plastic cups because the locals had a penchant for stealing the barware. Surrounded by band musicians on the final night of a regional CBDNA conference in March 2012, their scheming about a new piece for timpani began at that table with the chipped brown Formica and cigarette burns, continued over emails that summer when Dave was in Oahu, and congealed into notes on the page when he stopped by San Juan Island, WA. on his return home, to work with Alex at her studio.

“How about an electroacoustic piece?”
“Wonderful, Alex.”
“Let’s add some other percussion for color.”
“Great, Dave.”
“Two words: funk timpani.”
“Oh, yeah, Alex!”

As Bald Eagles flew by the window, Alex inputted Dave’s hand-written timpani riffs as fast as he could pass them to her from the sofa while not spilling his beer. Once Dave went home to Pullman, WA, Alex got busy creating a prerecorded track unlike any other for kettledrums and percussion. When it was largely in place she emailed the audio track and score to Dave, who proceeded to add what seemed like thousands more percussion notes to the fast sections because, well, he knew he could play ’em.

KETTLE BREW represents the best aspects of composer and composer/performer collaboration, and proves what percussionists have always known: two heads can be even better than one.

Purchase “Kettle Brew” here.

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