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The great thing about NYC is that there’s always something cool going on…the downside is usually you are too busy to go check things out. As I’ve been doing more studio work (rather than touring) this past summer and fall, I was in town and made a point to attend many shows. Some of the memorable and inspirational performances included Aviva Jaye, Clara Kennedy, Ron Carter/Billy Cobham/Donald Harrison, Buika, Eddie Palmieri, Michael Leonhart Orchestra, and the Dred Scott Trio. Conrad Herwig and Ray Mason (playing the blues over Wu Tang Clan) took my love of trombone to a new level, and Jonathan Powell made the trumpet do some crazy things while barely moving an inch. I hadn’t seen Dred Scott since playing with him in the Robert Hohner Percussion Ensemble…his playing shined at his recent record release show, and he recalled taking out a Berio score in my name some 20 years ago which almost held up getting my degree…Small clubs are not dead. Well, maybe hanging on by a thread, but that experience is too valuable to go away.

Ron Carter Blue Note sm
One of my all-time faves, Mr. Ron Carter, at the Blue Note this fall.

Child of the Earth Premiere Downbeat1 smallThe downbeat of the premiere performance of Child of the Earth by the NYU Percussion Ensemble, conductor Jonathan Haas, at Frederick Loewe Theatre in New York City. (Photo credit: Tsing Bardin)

In the fall of 2007 we made the first official release of original Loop 2.4.3 music with an album titled Batterie. It was essentially a live album, recorded all in one take for Doug Haire's Sonarchy Radio on KEXP in Seattle. (Listen to the original review from NPR’s Fresh Air)

Throughout this year we get to help celebrate the culture that our label, Music Starts From Silence, has helped us to cultivate, as part of a 10-Year Anniversary Celebration. Part of that celebration has been curating a new live performance series, Brooklyn Classical, featuring contemporary music and visual art. This fall the series included a retrospective of early Loop 2.4.3 works (first 2 albums) and featured guest artists Sub-Verse, Catherine Rutgers, Yuhan Su, Alex LoRe, Jon Waldo, and Colleen Clark. What an honor to host and perform with all of these talented and dedicated artists - thank you for the contribution! Special thanks to series co-producers Tom Burnett and István B'Racz - couldn't have happened without you!

Promo materials and links to the artists' work can be found on the series site: brooklynclassical.org

Many of these artists will join us for the culminating Brooklyn event on May 18 at ShapeShifter Lab - Please come hang!

Wishing you health, peace, and happiness in 2018,

Thomas Kozumplik for Loop 2.4.3

Co-Producer Tom Burnett at the final 4am load out - call me a car!
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In this blog entry we remember David Maslanka (August 30, 1943 - August 6, 2017)

The quote in this entry's title was by Robert Hohner, who commissioned, performed, and recorded several works by David. I was lucky enough to witness and participate in their collaborations.

When David Maslanka was the featured guest at the composers symposium at Central Michigan University, he discussed topics such as the "Library of the Universe", as he called it, where one could go to learn about anyone, past or present. I imagined that one reached the library of the Universe through some sort of focussed, meditative state. He discussed his life, working regimen, family, nature, and time.
Maslanka's ideas about time were incredibly interesting. It seemed to me that he prescribed to the philosophy that all things were happening at the same time. Chronological time only exists for the sake of perception, and to make it possible to meet someone for coffee. He encouraged composers to see time in an expansive way, so as to work at a time when one is creative, and not feel confined to a schedule per se (unless that is what inspires you, or is necessary...).
The first photo below was taken at the memorial concert for Robert Hohner in Mount Pleasant, MI. David wrote a piece for the occasion, simply titled, Hohner. Pictured with David (center) are Jon Johnson (left), and Doug Corella (right). All three heroes of mine.

The second photo is from an old notebook of mine..a draft of a letter I sent to Maslanka over 20 years ago. This excerpt gives an idea of the importance I placed on him as a composer and a person. I was asking him to look at a score I was working on. He wrote back an expansive critique that was crushing and inspiring at the same time. Ultimately it was motivating. He was honest and genuine, direct, and extremely generous. A peaceful, loving, intelligent and kind genius. Thank you David.  Thomas Kozumplik

Maslanka Corella Johnson

photo by Scott Thompson

Maslanka Letter Draft

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This winter was a mixture of deep creative hibernation, freelance work, and collaborations.  We now emerge with a very special collaborative project with the New York University percussion studio, to be premiered May 1 in New York City.

A couple of years ago, I approached Jonathan Haas, director of NYU percussion ensemble, about performing the album version of Loop 2.4.3’s Time-Machine_music.  Jonathan was interested, but the timing wasn’t right. As the conversation continued, it was decided that I would write a new large scale work, essentially a symphony for percussion.  

Jonathan clearly wanted a large work, and it ended up being huge. He has said the work is larger in scope than anything they have ever taken on. There will be 16 musicians sprawled across the stage with keyboard percussion, piano, timpani, drums, metals, and a literal cage of tuned gongs. Every performer plays multiple instruments; some are called upon to sing as well. I have been meeting with the ensemble throughout the winter as they ready the premiere on May 1.

I would like to thank Jonathan and his fabulous percussion studio for their dedication and thoughtful approach to this music. It has been an amazing opportunity and experience.

The 40-minute work, entitled Child of the Earth (un niño busca a Dios), is in four movements:

I. Mother Nature (la inocencia pérdida)
II. Mysticism (Carillon)
III. A Journey (baile de los tambores)
IV. Beauty and Its Passing (cuando habiamos podido amar)

Child of the Earth is dedicated to the memory of Chad M. Plasters.

Please join us for this premiere, made possible by the generous collaboration of all parties. Brief program notes follow below.

The full May 1 program includes landmark works by Lou Harrison and Minoru Miki, providing context with the origins of symphonic thinking in percussion literature in Harrison’s Concerto for Violin and Percussion Orchestra, and the virtuosity and visceral, tribal energy of Miki’s Marimba Spiritual. These highly evocative works, along with atmospheric, romantic, and groove oriented musics, influence Child of the Earth.

Long-time Loop 2.4.3 collaborators Aviva Jaye and James Godwin will assist with the vocal material on Child of the Earth.

NYU Percussion Ensemble
Miki, Harrison, Kozumplik World Premiere
Monday, May 1, 7:30 p.m.
Frederick Loewe Theatre
35 West 4th St.
New York, NY 10012

Admission is Free

Information: 347-687-5243

Presenter Website: http://events.nyu.edu/#!event_id/146712/view/event

Notes on the program
Child of the Earth is semi-programmatical and explores man finding his place in the world, and then leaving it. The title is personal and universal - we are all children of the earth. The second part of the title (un niño busca a Dios) represents man’s journey to find meaning in life. This is also personal and universal - we are all on a journey, yet everyone is on his own. People seek meaning, seek God, in many ways - through religion, through nature, through art, through physical feats, through drugs, relationships…

In Movement I we explore birth, youth, the loss of innocence, and a cry for help.

Movement II is a moment of connection to the universe. A youthful declaration of love and faith.

Movement III is an active journey, exploding with the energy of life.

In Movement IV we suffer the anguish of lost love, then remember when we could love…

In form, Child of the Earth resembles the symphony of the late Romantic period; the language and execution are contemporary and led by expressive intent. Viewing the percussion family as an orchestra one could imagine marimbas as strings, vibraphones as brass, glockenspiels as high winds…drums, gongs, piano, and the wide variety of world percussion provide great opportunity for expression. There is no attempt to reference any style, only the attempt to express through music, which pays homage to all that I hold dear.

My heartfelt thanks to Jonathan Haas and the NYU Percussion Ensemble for inspiring and realizing this work. My sincere gratitude to my family and friends for putting up with me during its creation.

Child of the Earth is dedicated to the loving memory of Chad M. Plasters.

- Thomas Kozumplik