Alan Abel

Where Music Lives
6:00 am
Mon February 4, 2013

Where Music Lives: At Percussionist Alan Abel's House

Music lives on a leafy street in the Philadelphia suburb of Wynnewood, where a former Philadelphia Orchestra percussionist and longtime teacher continues to share his talents as a musician and craftsman. WRTI’s Susan Lewis visits percussionist Alan Abel:

Lewis: Abel’s basement was long ago transformed into a studio where he teaches current students, and coaches former students for orchestra auditions.

Abel:  I bought a five octave marimba to accommodate the students and auditionees. This came in pieces... Now, the timpani, that’s another story...This is an old old xylophone ...that’s an interesting bass drum.. and my bass drum stand, which I invented in the early to mid '60s.

Lewis:  Today, orchestras all over the world use Abel’s suspended drum stands – as well as the triangles he began manufacturing 50 years ago.  In a backyard workshop, Abel teaches groups of students to create triangle HOOKs – from coat hangers, plastic tubing, and fishing line – that hold the instrument  just so.

Abel:  I’ll show you what happens when you suspend it...Now I can play faster rhythms...I can also play rolls.

Learn more about Alan Abel’s philosophy of music.

Lewis:  Three of the four members of the Philadelphia Orchestra’s current percussion section studied with Abel, including Principal Chris Deviney.

Deviney:  Jan, his wife, offered you tea, and then you’d go down into the basement, or we’d call it the dungeon sometimes, and you’d have your lesson, and you felt really kind of like you were an extension of his family.

Lewis:  Although he retired as a full time member in 1997, Abel continues to play with The Philadelphia Orchestra when it calls.

Let us know Where Music Lives in your community! Add your ideas in the comments section here and check out our other Where Music Lives posts.

Creatively Speaking
4:23 pm
Sat January 7, 2012

Yannick!--Percussionist Alan Abel--A Star Tenor and His Teacher

Alan Abel

Jim Cotter speaks with Yannick Nezet-Seguin, music director designate of The Philadelphia Orchestra.

Susan Lewis profiles the legendary percussionist Alan Abel.

David Patrick Stearns examines the relationship between star tenor Stephen Costello and his coach Bill Schuman, an Academy of Vocal Arts faculty member who is considered to be one of the great voice builders - and re-builders - in the business.

More Information:

Creatively Speaking
3:33 pm
Sat September 10, 2011

The Fabulous Philadelphians in Europe--Operas at OCP--All About Alan Abel-Photography Show at PMA

Mezzo-soprano Rinat Shaham, a Curtis Institute of Music alumna, sings the title role in Opera Company of Philadelphia's CARMEN.

David Patrick Stearns reports from the Philadelphia Orchestra's European tour.

Opera Company of Philadelphia's new season is previewed.

Susan Lewis profiles legendary percussionist Alan Abel.

Jim Cotter looks ahead to a new exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art featuring the photography of ten local artists.

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