The Bradford and Dorothea Endicott Foundation has initiated a five-year commissioning project to create new works for the New England Conservatory Percussion Ensemble, directed by Frank Epstein, Boston Symphony Orchestra percussionist and chair of brass and percussion.
The commissions are intended to revitalize the percussion ensemble repertory and to honor NEC, according to Dorothea Royer Endicott, who earned two master’s degrees in theoretical studies and musicology from NEC in 2000 and is currently the executive director of the New York Collegium. The project, which will result in six new pieces, is funded by gifts that will ultimately total approximately $75,000.
The project follows the foundation’s commissioning for NEC of Joan Tower’s DNA for five percussionists. That work had its world premiere in April 2003 at NEC’s Jordan Hall and was subsequently performed at the Tanglewood Music Center and at Carnegie Recital Hall as part of an evening-long retrospective of Tower’s work. DNA has been repeated numerous times at venues like the Aspen Festival, Oberlin Conservatory and Rice University, and is published by Associated Music Publishers.
The second installment in the Endicott commissioning project is a new work by Gunther Schuller, Grand Concerto for Percussion and Keyboards for eight percussionists, piano, harp, celesta, and keyboard glockenspiel. The 24-minute work will be heard for the first time on August 6, 2005 at the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, followed by a Boston premiere on November 14 at NEC’s Jordan Hall, when the NEC Percussion Ensemble will perform it as part of the Gunther Schuller 80th Birthday Celebration.
Three other composers have also received commissions, with a fourth still to be selected. They are:
- Jennifer Higdon, new work due January 2006
- John Harbison, new work due at the end of 2006/beginning of 2007
- Robert Xavier Rodriquez, new work due spring 2007