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Quey Percussion Duo Interview

Posted on 12 June 2006. © Copyright 2004-2014David Bruce


C:T talks to American-based 'Quey' percussion Duo, who are looking for composers to increase their repertoire.

Quey Percussion Duo
Why did you decide to form the Quey Percussion Duo?

We formed the duo in order to compete in the 2002 International Marimba Competition held in Belgium. After realizing our musical connection during the competition, we decided that we should continue to play together. While developing our own repertoire we realized that the current repertoire of percussion duo seemed limited. Therefore our mission quickly became to generate new works for percussion while also bringing standard repertoire to a broad audience.


Tell us about your Composition Contest. Why did you decide to set it up?

The contest is completely open to all who wish to enter. Requirements are few and basically specify that the piece is to be written for percussion duo (any instrumentation) and range in time from five to ten minutes. The contest was started in order to generate works to add to the percussion duo repertoire. This also gives us the opportunity to work closely with numerous composers in the development of the duo repertoire.


What excites you about a piece of music - what keeps you interested?

As a duo, we tend to look toward works that are musically intriguing and challenging. We prefer works that would be accepted in the general chamber music repertoire, and not just that of a “cool” percussion piece. In doing so, we allow ourselves to continue to develop our musical abilities by playing substantial pieces of music.

And what turns you off ?

Music that tends to turn us off is often based on, or reduced to, some sort of gimmick. Admittedly, some works written in this manner are quite intriguing and a joy to listen to and perform, however pieces that we present from this genre seem few and far between.

How do you go about programming your concerts?

A great deal of our programming is dependent on the audience. We always strive to create a program that is appropriately aimed at our different audiences. With this in mind, music that is chosen for an educational children’s concert at an elementary school will greatly differ in repertoire and in presentation from that of a formal concert in a music concert series. Constantly attempting to present a program that varies greatly in style, our concerts may consist of anything from standard percussion literature, classic marimba works, contemporary art music, jazz transcriptions, world music, and even speech songs.


What do you see as the role (intended and actual) of new music in the modern world?

We feel that new music, just as all music previous, is an outlet for personal expression both of composers and of performers. Composers of new music should strive to find new and creative ways of conveying their artistic expression while not losing sight of the important aspects that performers and audiences rely on for their musical experience.


Any typical/common mistakes that new composers tend to make in writing for percussion?

Often new composers do not recognize the abilities of the percussion instruments themselves including the natural colors and sounds of the instruments. Also, in writing for mallet percussion, non percussionist composers tend to compose at a piano keyboard resulting in numerous passages easily playable by ten fingers, yet often unplayable with four mallets. Composers should always take into consideration the idiomatic aspect of all percussion instruments as they compose. There are several other things that could be said, however it is most important that the basis and purpose of what is done should always be about the music first.

What are your plans for the future?

Our plans are to continue to promote the music that we generate at as many venues and for as many varied audiences as possible. In doing this we hope to build a repertoire that will continue to develop our musicianship as well as enriching peoples lives.

How can people find out more about you?

Our website is http://www.queypercussion.com. Here you can find biographical
information, reviews, sound files, concert information, and information



Interview by David Bruce © Copyright 2004-2014

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