percussion

Philadelphia Orchestra Principal Percussionist Christopher Deviney has long been drawn to the music of guitarist Pat Metheny and his composing partner, pianist Lyle Mays. And this Sunday’s Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast features the world-premiere performance of Deviney’s orchestration of three Metheny jazz tunes into a Duo Concerto for Vibraphone, Marimba, and Orchestra.


A leading percussionist loves the marimba, and WRTI’s Debra Lew Harder asks her why.

A New Take on Timpani

Jun 19, 2017

There aren't many concertos composed for timpani. But, as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, Maurice Wright has written a work that celebrates the instrument and its often untapped range.

The path to landing a full-time position as an orchestral musician can be a rocky and competitive climb.  As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, one successful percussion player says it's all about staying with it, and  "Sticking It Out," which is the title of a new memoir by Patti Niemi.


Dave Tavani

A new work by master percussionist Pablo Batista uses changing rhythms, music, and dance to tell the story of how people forced from their homeland, survived and thrived by creating a new home. WRTI’s Susan Lewis has more about El Viaje, a music and dance narrative in eight scenes, featuring 22 performers in a mix of authentic Afro-Cuban bata drumming, chant and dance, with elements of classical music, jazz and blues, rhythm & blues, funk and salsa.

The word percussion comes from the Latin word percussionem, meaning 'to strike.'  But as WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, playing percussion in a symphony orchestra also requires rhythm, musicality, and physical grace.

Percussion instruments can keep the beat, but they also add color. Angela Zator Nelson is The Philadelphia Orchestra’s associate principal timpani and a member of the percussion section.