Professional Chamber Percussion Ensembles: Their Development and Importance in the Modern Percussion Community
University of Nebraska-Lincoln, February 2018
Music is a vital part of the human experience. As a vehicle for self-expression, it reflects the times we live in, brings beauty into the world, connects us to others, and reminds us that life is worth living because of the people in it. Professional chamber percussion ensembles are a common fixture in the modern percussion community, and they embody this spirit of music by working with composers to actively create new music, preserve and document it through recordings, and share it with the community through performances and other outreach.
Currently, no research exists that solely examines modern professional chamber percussion ensembles. This thesis will support the assertion that they are important in the music community by first providing a background on how these professionals ensembles came to be. It will begin with the development of percussion instruments in the orchestra and eventually arrive at the emergence of percussion ensemble as a stand-alone genre music of music. The thesis will then focus on chamber ensembles, defining this sub-genre of percussion ensembles and exploring pioneering ensembles such as NEXUS, Blackearth Percussion Group, and the Eastman Marimba Masters. It will lastly look at specific contributions and actions taken by modern chamber ensembles to understand their importance within a larger societal context.