NEXUS, percussion ensemble
Photo Credit: Richard Bowditch
"NEXUS should not be missed. Their precision and virtuosity...are breathtaking." --The Independent (UK)
Bob Becker, Bill Cahn, Russell Hartenberger, Garry Kvistad
“percussion concertos, with built-in excitement as virtuosic soloists scurry from drums, marimbas and other colorful instruments” help connect orchestra audiences in today’s visual age. --The Wall Street Journal
Compelled to share their insatiable curiosity, knowledge & passion, NEXUS has contributed greatly to musical education with symphonic & solo programs for family audiences from “The Story of Percussion in the Orchestra” to their concert, “An African Celebration”. In recent seasons they presented three wonderfully-received student concerts with the Toronto Symphony, hailed by educators as “the best concert in years”. Internationally, NEXUS has participated in high school, college & university residencies giving master classes, workshops & concerts. NEXUS members consistently write compositions that become core repertoire for percussion ensembles.
Recent NEXUS events include Kansas City and Pacific Symphony performances, residencies at the 2008 Ojai Festival in California where the L.A.Times music critic commented, “Ojai felt, for that hour, like holy ground.” This followed on their 2007 Ojai performances that reviewer Charles Donelan called “thrilling” and said would “certainly stand as one of the most memorable of 2007 in any venue, anywhere”. NEXUS has also recently appeared at the Colours of Music, Cool Drummings, Collingwood, Kincardine & the Ottawa Chamber Music Festivals, and at Woodstock Beat in New York. In 2007 NEXUS honored John Cage at Bard College’s Fisher Center in New York, giving the U.S. premiere of Dance Music for Elfrid Ide (1940), which was rediscovered in 2005. In October 2008 Nexus took part in a Talking Drum symposium in Toronto and played the premiere of a new concerto in Texas, written for NEXUS by celebrated composer and educator Eric Ewazen.
Works for Orchestra for Subscription Series Programs
From me flows what you call Time by Toru Takemitsu (30')
Celebrate what would have been Takemitsu’s 80th in 2010 with this signature piece. Since the premiere in Carnegie Hall with Seiji Ozawa and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Nexus has given more than eighty performances of this magical work. From Los Angeles to Chicago, to Philadelphia, London, Hamburg, Lyon and Tokyo, audiences of all ages have been enraptured by Takemitsu's brilliant orchestration and Nexus' sensitive playing on their fantastic array of instruments.
" ravishing in atmosphere. … The players of Nexus are uncanny in their precision of ensemble, in their individuality, and in the subtlety of their interaction; each is a master of attack, dynamics, and color." -- The Boston Globe
“ the most exquisite meditative quiet you have ever heard in a concert hall. … The Nexus players simply were marvels, on their own and as a group. -- Chicago Tribune
< Recorded by Nexus and The Pacific Symphony on Sony Classics >
Rituals by Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (27' ; for chamber orchestra)
The March 2004 premiere of this work in Memphis, Tennessee was heralded by a standing ovation with rousing applause. Rituals’ four movements explore orchestral and percussion sonorities created by instruments suggested to the composer by members of Nexus. At times mysterious, translucent, vivacious and disturbing, Rituals is not of the typical percussion concerto mold of hair-raising bombast, but is rather more introspective; though its last movement is fiery and exuberant. Conductor Michael Stern and Nexus recently recreated the excitement of this work in Kansas City. Celebrations of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Ellen Zwilich’s 70th birthday in April 2009 continue to bring her music to a wide appreciative audience.
The instruments invited the world into [the concert hall], and in…Zwilich's "Rituals" they engaged in all manner of discourse… the rhythms leap out in interjections of tangos, African dances and marching band flourishes..." - The Commercial Appeal
“Rituals is a celebration of percussion as used in various world cultures…it's a total delight, from the opening Invocations, with its stunning pageantry of bells, gongs, and cymbals, to the dancing Ambulation, to the electrifying Contests, Under Michael Stern's leadership, NEXUS/IRIS Chamber Orchestra members play magnificently as they build to a frenzied, exhilarating conclusion.”- ClassicsToday <Recorded by Nexus and IRIS Chamber Orchestra on NAXOS >