Concerto for Steelpan and Chamber Ensemble (2016)


This is an adaptation of my concerto for pan and wind ensemble, which I began writing in 2010 and completed in 2011.

Pan is a unique instrument in many respects, not least of which is the sound profile and spectral envelope. It is the strangeness of the sound that first captured my attention and made me want to write this piece. For that reason, I open the concerto with a timbre sampling of the ensemble, punctuated with the pan for comparison. The melody presented by the pan to open the first movement is only the first statement of a theme that informs nearly all of the melody, harmony, and counterpoint of the concerto. Of the three movements, the first pits the pan most strongly against the ensemble, emphasizing the uniqueness of its sound.

The second movement is more texturally dense. The pan floats over a bed of loosely imitative counterpoint, which thickens throughout the movement. The soloist has the opportunity to “stretch out” over cadenzas, including an optional improvisation. Because the range and layout of steelpans are not completely standardized, the improvisation allows the soloist to exploit the peculiarities of the instrument being used.

The final cadenza of the second movement, connects directly to the final movement of the concerto, which begins with the pan presenting the clearest statement of the theme on which the whole work is based. This movement is the shortest of the three, a succinct and groove-based wrap-up to the complete concerto. The rhythms and textures include references to jazz. The pan concludes with a virtuosic flourish before a cool and casual exit.

Performance materials for the concerto are available. Please email me for more information.

The first movement of the chamber version of the work was premiered by Chris Baird and the UCF Percussion Ensemble, directed by Thad Anderson.