On HK Gruber's "Rough Music"

This Friday it will be my enormous pleasure to be soloist in HK Gruber's "Rough Music" with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Juanjo Mena. I would strongly contest that this work has earned the status of a "classic" in the repertoire, for being both a pivotal work in the lineage of percussion concerti (a relatively early premiere in our history of 1983) but mainly for the exceptional quality of the music

An Autumn full of highlights - perhaps none more ablaze than TROMP PERCUSSION, EINDHOVEN.

This was quite an autumn!! Each event so memorable, and with such a diverse set of colleagues and repertoire to cherish, a brief run-down felt in order... My debut with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra was absolutely the "complete" touring experience. Intense musical adventures, coupled with a fabulously rich social side(including just the right amount of tomfoolery!), in overwhelmingly beautiful surroundings.

Unveiling Rautavaara's new Percussion Concerto...

Season 09/10 sees the world premire of a percussion concerto by one of the most well established composers ever to approach the medium - Einojuhani Rautavaara. The concerto came to exist as the result of my interest in this composer's mesmeric and expansive  style, which combines immediately discernible romanticism with an air of adventure and the mysterious. Such works as "Cantus Arcticus" and "Angels and Visitations" were at the forefront of my mind in approaching him about the idea of a symphonic work for percussion and orchestra. I felt that the repertoire could benefit hugely from his  reflective dynamic, and whilst I have enjoyed recent success with the boisterous and the clamorous, it would be interesting to invest in a less obvious and in many ways more experimental collaboration. The result, to be debuted in London, Rotterdam, Tampere and Baltimore this season in a collection of premieres is a concerto of very great intensity and scope. The opening orchestral tutti, which returns twice more in the work at key moments, has a wonderful Sibelius-like sweep and sets up what remains throughout to be a harmonic language that is rich, exotic and evocative. Working at the piano with the full score at present, I am constantly charmed by the unexpected, the glowing chord substitutions and the tenacious bass notes which so pull at the superficially simple 7th chords perched atop. I'm very excited too by his ambitious use of the percussion; I have spent weeks getting to grips with the closing section of the first movement which requires me to play in constant alteration tubular bells, crotales and marimba, which will result in one of the strongest and most sonorous passages yet to feature in a percussion concerto.

I'm also thrilled to be presenting my own cadenza in this concerto; about two minutes in duration it takes a variety of harmonic and thematic elements from the concerto and develops them as best this percussionist can, having some fun en route and finally some reflection of his own at the end to link the music back to the final minute or so of the piece. (Studying the score also left me with an interesting observation, in that Rautavaara's harmonies occasionally take on those of Balinese Gamelan music, so my cadenza also reflects that overlap too).

I urge all those in proximity to come along to these concerts and engage in what will be a fascinating re-thinking of the percussion concerto; this is am extremely stirring piece of music and one not to be missed at this, its very first stages of presentation where the excitement will be especially keen.

I look forward to meeting you at London's Royal Festival Hall as well as any of the other venues in question throughout the course of this season...

Best wishes, Colin.

My debut with The National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia and Azultrabuco!

Last month saw my first visit to South America, a tour which had long excited me as I have always harboured a keen desire to see that part of the world. Colombia, Bogota specifically, was a wonderful place to make that arrival. My work was with The National Symphony Orchstra of Colombia, one of the most exciting ensembles I have ever played with. There was a true sense of occasion to the project I was involved with, which daringly presented Jennifer Higdon's "Percussion Concerto" to an audience largely unfamiliar with contemporary music. The media really picked up on the event though, and I was kept busy with numerous television and radio interviews, whilst flattered by a whole page in El Pais! Struggling earlier in the season to get 1/3rd attendance for certain classics of the repertoire, we were thrilled to sell the concert out and I was overjoyed with the reception the work received. Further amusement and satisfaction came at the interval when I sold out of the 50 Cds I brought with me to "maybe" sell - Colombia has numerous new Dave Maric fans now!! After the concert I was invited by one of the bass players to join his band Azultrabuco and have a shot on the timbales!! Now, timbales are truly one of the great percussion instruments, and I have always wanted to play them in a salsa band of any ilk, so to get that chance "Live in Bogota" was one of my life's most exciting moments. The guys in the band were brilliant at keeping me right and very generous to allow me to be part of their amazing music. So infectious and so brilliant - please preserve me from every hearing the generic dull throb of bland pop music ever again, which seems to be everywhere now, but gorgeously absent in places like Bogota.

The city itself was a spectacular place to visit, with terrific, humble and energetic people, amazing culture, and delicious food and fruit juices at every corner. A career highlight on every level. Thanks to all...

Colin.