March and April are the "money" months, so to speak. On a 4,000 mile (that's 6,500+ kilometers) trip to Minot, ND and Edmonton and Regina, Canada I performed (so not actually a premiere) Neil Thornock's Illumination for solo chimes. Neil is the composer that has written me a carillon and percussion ensemble piece and a dulcimer solo. Some may not be surprised that he had composed a chime solo some years back, but I was extremely excited to be able to program a chime solo! I have just remembered that I neglected to mention Bjorn Berkhout's solo dulcimer work Torque that I premiered in January at ISU, which I also performed three times on the Canada tour. This "Great Tour of the Upper Prairie-lands" came about because of a fortunate rekindling of a friendship on Facebook. Angela Schroeder and I were at Northwestern University doing our Master's degrees together back in 2003 and she invited me to perform the Canadian premiere of Andrew Ardizzoia's Glass House Concerto for percussion soloist and wind ensemble with her ensemble at the University of Alberta-Edmonton.
Next up is the premiere of Steven Simpson's Images of Africa for dulcimer and six percussionists with the University of Iowa Percussion Ensemble, Daniel Moore, director. The very next day is the premiere of Igor Iachimciuc's Rustic Sketches for Marimba and Contrabass Ensemble with the Chicago Bass Ensemble (Jacque Harper, director) and Leslie B. Dunner conducting. Both of these compositions I hope to perform many more times, and the process with the composers, directors, and ensembles has been added to the top of the list of great collaborations!
So far we have just covered January through March. April will bring the premieres of solo marimba works by Igor Iachimciuc and Neil Thornock. Respectively, Through flowers (Iachimciuc) and Fanfares and Quantasy (Thornock) will be premiered at the Wyoming Day of Percussion at Casper College and the University of Utah.
Taking some time to write this timeline of events puts many things in perspective. These projects and collaborations are something to be forever cherished and considered in the class of living dreams. The fortune contained in these experiences is too great to funnel into words, but I hope that many artists will be inspired to tackle the lot of their creative fancies and bring together more unheard-of collaborations.
A big thank you to Bjorn Berkhout, Scott Metlicka, Sonja, Giles, Neil Thornock, Angela Schroeder, Andrew Ardizzoia, Dexter Morrill, Jacque Harper, Chicago Bass Ensemble, Leslie B. Dunner, Daniel Moore, the University of Iowa Percussion Ensemble, Steven Simpson, and Igor Iachimciuc!