First Steps

Program Notes

Walk. March. Run. (2021)

Kendall K. Williams

“Walk. March. Run. is a story or a journey of each individual person and their life as a musician. It plays on the ideas of emotion, weakness, strength, agility, and stability. It targets the idea that we all believe in something even if it is not the same as the person next to us. We believe in us and that is why we do what we do.”

“This work is commissioned through the Sō Percussion New Work Development Program
by Sō Percussion, Akron University, Bard Conservatory Percussion, Matchstick Percussion, and Sandbox Percussion”

Included in the first movement are selected lines from a poem written by our mentor Marsha Becker.

Foot steps draw near.
A thunderous voice resonates,

Sequoia (2019)

Yaz Lancaster (b. 1996)

“This piece is about the recognition of biodiversity loss, through the specific and personal example of redwood trees. It is also about taking time to notice and appreciate nature around you, as this loss is happening.”

Dirty Bombs (2021)

Ben Hausman (b. 2000)

“Dirty Bombs is a personal burst of frustration following the continuous temptation of nuclear destruction; that we seem to continuously poke this dragon. Dirty Bombs uses audio clips from four different events throughout history: the Chernobyl accident, Robert Oppenheimer’s post-Manhattan Project speech, the devil core incident, and the atomic soldiers of the 1950s and 60s. Through the piece I share a mutual fear I have of these situations, meanwhile navigating my frustration through groove.”

This piece was written before the situation at hand now. This is unfortunately a topical issue and may be intense to listen to due to the current political atmosphere. If any of this is unsettling or uncomfortable please do not hesitate to leave. Following this piece, we will break for intermission.


Rain Tree (1981)

Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996)

​​Rain Tree (1981) is a composition for three percussionists or keyboard players composed by Tōru Takemitsu (1930 – 1996).  Each percussionist plays crotales (small pitched cymbals) in addition to their marimba or vibraphone.  Rain Tree comes from a set of compositions by Takemitsu he called the “Waterscape” series.  Takemitsu provided an explanation to this series of works in the opening to the score of Rain Coming for chamber orchestra: 

Rain Coming is one of a series of works by the composer inspired by the common theme of rain.  The complete collection entitled “Waterscape” includes other works, such as Garden Rain, scored for brass ensemble (’74), Rain Tree, composed for vibraphone and two marimbas (’81), and Rain Spell, for flute, clarinet, harp, piano, and vibraphone (’82).  It was the composer’s intention to create a series of works, which like their subject, pass through various metamorphoses, culminating in a sea of tonality. 

In addition, Takemitsu provides a statement at the beginning of the score to Rain Tree to set the mood for the piece:

“It has been named the ‘rain tree’; for its abundant foliage continues to let fall rain drops collected from last night’s shower until well after the following midday. Its hundreds of thousands of tiny leaves – finger-like – store up moisture while other trees dry up at once. What an ingenious tree, isn’t it?”

Program notes written by Dr. Lee Hinkle

muchLikeYourTeaching* (2022)

Malcolm Taylor (b. 1999)

“muchLikeYourTeaching is a guided improvisation based on phrases and prompts that have influenced my personal playing style and influences of our teachers as well as other students of our teachers. This is a fluid work that is a thank you to our teachers: Dr. Michelle Humphreys, Mark Craig, Marsha Becker, and Dr. Lee Hinkle.”

Wild Sound (2014)

Glenn Kotche (b. 1970)

“Wild Sound – Part 4 Final Segment was commissioned and arranged by Third Coast Percussion, and is the final movement of a major work by the same title.”

This piece is a large part of why Matchstick Percussion formed. It is one of the first pieces requiring a quartet and that we talked about playing. It is a pleasure to get to share it tonight.

Matchstick Percussion is a DC/Baltimore-based percussion quartet dedicated to new music and contributing to growing the percussion repertoire. We recognize that the field is still young and that we are able to help push the boundaries on how music is perceived. We look to bring diverse performances to a wide range of audiences, as well as promote and educate them about the field. 

We believe in helping to build equitable and diverse relations within the music community. Because of this we look to present music from diverse composers, backgrounds, and musical styles, and incorporate and promote opportunity so that underrepresented artists and artists lacking favorable circumstances can help us grow the field of percussion. In time, we look to help set the precedent of modern percussion repertoire.

We strive to collaborate with musicians, artists, dancers, and other performers to create new and exciting experiences for our audience. As performers and educators, we seek to promote the unification of body and sound with our approach to health and longevity behind the instruments.

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