Percussion Rochester at the Eastman School of Music

Starts:  May 4, 2012 12:00 AM (ET)
Ends:  May 5, 2012 12:00 AM (ET)
Associated with  PAS New York Chapter


Biennial music festival announces John Beck Composition Prize of $5,000

Eastman School hosts; world-renowned NEXUS headlines

Rochester, NY – Organizers have announced the first-ever Percussion Rochester at the Eastman School of Music, which is hosting the every-other-year festival. Percussion Rochester, celebrating the art of percussion performance, will debut Friday and Saturday, May 4 & 5, 2012 with two full days of music events.

Percussion Rochester has also announced the John Beck Composition Prize, a $5000 cash prize, made possible by the Goldberg Berbeco Foundation, Inc., that will be awarded to the composer whose work best showcases “percussion with others” – Percussion Rochester’s debut theme. Open to composers of all ages and nationalities, the Prize-winning composition will be announced on February 1, 2012, and will receive its world premiere at Kilbourn Hall on the evening of Friday, May 4, 2012, during Percussion Rochester. Submission details can be found at

The Prize is named after John Beck, an Eastman School of Music Professor Emeritus of Percussion, as well as the former principal percussionist/timpanist for the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra for more than 40 years. Beck is revered by fellow percussionists and former students all over the world.

“I am honored to have a composition prize named for me,” says Beck. “It is my hope that Percussion Rochester attracts not only percussionists, but other instrumentalists as well. The results of this event will benefit the entire music community. “

At least one special guest drummer is yet to be announced, but NEXUS percussion group is already a confirmed headliner. The internationally-renowned ensemble includes Percussion Rochester co-organizer, Bill Cahn, along with fellow virtuosos Bob Becker, Russell Hartenberger and Garry Kvistad. Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, NEXUS was the first Western percussion ensemble to perform in the People’s Republic of China, and is especially renowned for the improvisational skills of its members. (

“The idea behind Percussion Rochester is to showcase an eclectic mix of music that features percussion – classical, jazz, Latin, pop and world music,” explains Cahn, who’s a Grammy Award winner and part-time associate professor of percussion at the Eastman School of Music. “By adding the John Beck Composition Prize – which we believe is large enough to attract some great composers – we’re enriching the existing percussion repertoire as well.”

Ticketed evening concerts in Kilbourn Hall and Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre will feature:

  •  NEXUS with Eastman Philharmonia, conducted by Neil Varon, presenting the Rochester premiere of Pulitzer Prize–winning composer. Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s “Rituals” 
  • Eastman Wind Ensemble, conducted by Mark Davis Scatterday, with the world premiere of a new concerto composed and performed by Eastman Professor of Percussion, Michael Burritt
  • Eastman Musica Nova, conducted by Brad Lubman, featuring the world premiere of the John Beck Composition Prize-winning piece
  • Eastman New Jazz Ensemble, conducted by Dave Rivello, with special guests TBA

The festival will include daytime open rehearsals, workshops, master classes and more. Organizers also plan to include free family, interactive and community-oriented events, including participation from Eastman Community Music School’s Drum Joy percussion ensemble.

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Eastman School of Music
Rochester, NY