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PE - 11/7/17 Spotlight

Youngstown State University Percussion Ensemble

Dr. Glenn Schaft - Director


Spotlight Theater - Bliss Hall

7 November 2017



Trio (1994)                                                                                          Daniel Levitan (b. 1953)

Trio is based on a two-measure rhythmic phrase that recurs frequently in classical literature. Here, that phrase serves as a rhythmic theme, developed by the cowbells and drums over the steady time kept by the temple block. Composer and percussionist Daniel Levitan studied composition at Bennington College with Henry Brant Vivian Fine, and Marta Ptazynska. Percussion studies include marimba with Tom Hemphill, talba with Phil Ford and Ray Speigel, and conga and Latin percussion with Frankie Malabe. The YSU Percussion Ensemble has recorded Levitan's Septet which available on our commercial release Dark Wood. Notes by Daniel Levitan


Snare Drum for Camus (1980)                                                                       Joseph Celli (b. 1944)

Unlike much Western concert music, Snare Drum for Camus is not notated, but is transmitted aurally. The composer states: it is a tone color exploration which is built on a simple seven-note sticking pattern (LR LR LRR) repeated throughout. However, the performers are encouraged to think in larger phrases such as 14 or 28 notes. The formal structure consists of a general timbral progression, a symmetrical arch form, utilizing rim sounds, rim shots, skin sounds, rim shots, and concluding on rim sounds. The performers exhibit considerable freedom by choosing various predetermined and improvised phrases. This type of piece can be understood as “slow process music” in which the beauty unfolds gradually from one pattern to the next. Not only do the timbral patterns change, but the listener’s perception of their place in the metric phrase may also change. Notes by Glenn Schaft


Catching Shadows (2013)                                                                   Ivan Trevino (b. 1983)

Tommy Starr, Nathan Weingart - marimba

            Catching Shadows is a marimba duo commissioned by Michael Burritt, professor of percussion at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. The piece was premiered by Michael and I at the 2013 Rochester Fringe Festival.

            Michael and I have become good friends and collaborators over the years, and on a recent road trip to a gig, he said, "I'm in charge of the tunes!" Honestly, I didn't know what to expect! He plugged in his iPod – Radiohead, Dave Matthews, then Earth, Wind & Fire. That's when I discovered something cool about Mike: he's as much a rock musician as a classical musician. It just so happens he plays marimba. Sometime, I feel the same way. With Catching Shadows, I thought about our road trip and decided to write a rock tune inspired by Mike's playlist. Ivan Trevino, October 2013


Tub Thumper (2013)                                                               Nicholas Sainato (b. 1988)

(Concerto for Drum Set with Five Percussionists)

            I. Pocket Watch

            II. Clockwork

            III. Second Hand

Edward "Hobie" Butcher – Soloist

Nicholas Sainato is a Boardman, OH native. After graduating from Boardman High School in 2006, Nicholas attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, later transferring to Youngstown State University and graduating in 2014 with a Bachelor of Music in Jazz Performance (Drum Set). While at YSU, Nicholas performed in the Jazz Ensembles, Jazz Combos, and the Percussion Ensemble. As a member of the Youngstown Percussion Collective, he participated in the commissioning and recording of Dr. Dave Morgan's Forms of Things Unknown. He performed regularly around Northeast Ohio with The Strange Familiar, The Dennis Drummond Trio, and The Vindys. Several songs that he wrote with his group The Strange Familiar were featured in television shows such as The CW's The Vampire Diaries and ABC Family's Pretty Little Liars. After graduation, Nicholas moved to Nashville, TN where he currently lives and works as a touring/session drummer. He is currently performing with pop duo Nightly (Interscope), country artist Clare Dunn (Universal/MCA), & Nolan Neal (The Voice), including performances at Bonnaroo, Austin City Limits, and the Grand Ole Opry. Tub Thumper was composed under the direction of Dr. Schaft for the percussion ensemble and Nick's senior recital, and later recorded at TakeNote Productions for a future release. Notes by Nick Sainato




Rancho Jubilee (2009)                                                                        Andrew Beall (b. 1980)

Rancho Jubilee is the name of a Dominican restaurant on my neighborhood corner in Washington Heights, New York City. It's fun decor and lively atmosphere mixed with Latin and Caribbean influences provided a nice setting for composing this trio. Cajon is a Spanish word, meaning "box". The instrument originated in Peru and has become popular in Spanish Flamenco music. Because of the wire strings extending across one of the instrument's interior panels, it produces distinct low, mid, and high frequency timbres, not unlike the drumset snare drum and bass drum. Notes by Andrew Beall


Cross (1997)                                                                                        Eugene Novotney (b. 1960)

Cross features freshmen Zachary Criss, drum soloist, accompanied by the rest of our 2017 freshmen class as hand-clappers. Eugene Novotney, the composer, was raised in Mentor, Ohio and is Director of Percussion Studies at Humboldt State University in northern California. He has written several outstanding works for percussion ensemble and soloist and has studied Afro-Cuban Folkloric and popular music with master Cuban musicians and this influence is readily apparent in Cross, which is based on the Cuban clave and cascara rhythms. We have expanded the work to include an improvised solo section. Notes by Glenn Schaft.


Fandango 13 (2013)                                                                          Michael Burritt (b. 1962)

Fandango 13 is a virtuosic dance in mixed meter scored for percussion sextet. It was originally scored as a quartet and served as the third and final movement to a larger piece titled 4 Points West, a commission from the West Point Academy Percussion Quartet in 2005. Fandango 13 is a re-orchestration and expansion of this movement. The pitch material is essentially modal in nature with cadences in major and minor tonalities but never truly establishes a true tonal center. Fandango is a milieu of the many styles, ranging from pop and jazz to minimalism and contemporary music, that comprise my musical experience. Notes by Michael Burritt



Edward Butcher, Salem, OH

Zachary Criss, Warren, OH

Spencer Crosser, Lisbon, OH

Joel Gillespie, East Liverpool, OH 

Brandon Maffitt, Warren, OH

Evan McCreary, Poland, OH

James Reardon, East Liverpool, OH

Tracy Rusk, Brookfield, OH

Tommy Starr, Pittsburgh, PA

Anthony Tresky, Pittsburgh, PA

Nathan Weingart, Canfield, OH

Brett Whitely, Orwell, OH


Thanks to Avedis Zildjian Co. (cymbals), Remo Inc. (drumheads and world percussion), Innovative Percussion Inc. (sticks and mallets), and Black Swamp Percussion (accessory percussion) for their product and artist support.


Audio Recordings for Sale $5 each - proceeds benefit the Youngstown Percussion Collective

Dark Wood - chamber music featuring six premiere recordings and four commissioned works recorded by the Youngstown Percussion Collective and Youngstown State University Percussion Ensemble, Glenn Schaft performer and Executive Producer. Forms Of Things Unknown is the Youngstown Percussion Collective's commission project with YSU faculty member Dr. Morgan, who composed a one-hour tour de force chamber work. Premiered in 2011 at the Butler Institute of American Art, YPC subsequently recorded the work at the Dana School of Music and performed it at the Ohio Music Education Association Professional Conference in Columbus. Available at I-Tunes and CD 

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