Long Roll Album Art

U of I Percussion Ensemble Featured in New Recording

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The Percussion Studio of the U of I is featured in a new release on the Albany label. 

LONG ROLL: A TRIBUTE TO COMPOSER-PERCUSSIONIST MICHAEL MANION includes Alexander Tcherepnin’s Vivace from Symphony No. 1 in E Major; Amadeo Roldán’s Ritmica No. 5 and Ritmica No. 6; Stephen Lett’s Junta; Henry Cowell’s Ostinato Pianissimo; Dmitri Shostakovich’s Entr’acte from The Nose; John Cage and Lou Harrison’s Double Music; Michael Manion’s Long Roll II; and Robert Fleisher’s Maniondala.

Gregory Beyer, malletKAT performs Maniondala and the remainder of the compositions are performed by the University of Illinois Percussion Ensemble with William Moersch, Adam Walton, and Mark Eichenberger, conductors. Michael Manion (1952-2012) composed solo, chamber and electroacoustic works that have been performed in Europe and the United States. Manion earned a B.Mus. degree from the Oberlin Conservatory (1977), where his composition teachers included Randolph Coleman, Dary John Mizelle, and Gary Lee Nelson, and a M.M. degree from the University of Illinois (1980), where he studied with Ben Johnston and Salvatore Martirano.

As a percussionist, Manion performed with orchestras, new music ensembles, jazz bands, and rock groups. As a soloist, he appeared at venues in Ghent, Amsterdam, The Hague, and Cologne. During his two decades (1980-2000) studying, composing, and performing in Europe, Manion also served as an assistant to the composer Karlheinz Stockhausen (1928-2007). In 2013, Manion’s family entrusted his scores, recordings, and related materials to the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music at the University of Illinois.

Composer Robert Fleisher writes in the notes accompanying the recording that “Nearly 25 years after we were graduate students at the University of Illinois (Urbana-Champaign), Michael Manion asked me to compose a work for him to perform on the malletKAT, a MIDI controller well suited to the interests of this composer-percussionist specializing in electronic music. As the new work neared completion in 2008, Michael suffered a severe, disabling stroke. The following year, my Northern Illinois University (NIU) colleague Gregory Beyer premiered Maniondala during a University of Illinois Percussion Ensemble concert in Manion’s honor arranged by its director, William Moersch.

This recording presents a broad spectrum of percussion music written between 1927 and 2009, including some of the earliest percussion ensemble compositions and the first commercially released recordings of three 21st-century works: my Maniondala, Manion’s Long Roll II, and Stephen Lett’s Junta.” Fleisher’s music is regularly performed in the United States and abroad. He is Professor Emeritus of music theory and composition at Northern Illinois University.

The University of Illinois Percussion Ensemble was established in 1950 and specializes in the performance of traditional and contemporary repertoire for small and large groups. Commercially released (LP) recordings feature performances under the baton of previous directors Paul Price, Jack McKenzie, and Thomas Siwe. Under the direction of William Moersch, the Percussion Ensemble may also be heard on Banana Trumpet Games (CRI CD 849, 2000), featuring the music of P.Q. Phan. Director of the University of Illinois Percusion Ensemble William Moersch is Professor and Chair of Percussion at the University of Illinois. Internationally renowned as a marimba virtuoso, chamber and symphonic percussionist, recording artist and educator, he has appeared as soloist with orchestras and in recital throughout North and South America, Europe, the Far East, and Australia. 

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