Purchase Now

Program Notes

Concerto for Solo Multiple Percussion and Percussion Ensemble

Written for and dedicated to James Campbell, then-Professor of Percussion, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky.

The initial stimulus for Odyssey was a series of paintings, primarily done by painters from the Northwest United States. I had viewed these paintings over a period of about three years and some of them had a lasting impact on me. The piece reflects a vivid and inaccurate memory of some of those paintings. Movements I and III combine somewhat quirky observations of two paintings with loose interpretations of dance rhythms.

Movement I

Games In the Hills is one of a series of paintings by George Johanson presenting human figures in a room and a city landscape beyond. There is a mixture of pleasure, action, and serenity in the scene. Irish dance music serves as an influence for part of the movement.

Movement II

The Dream of Menelaus by Sigmar Polke is a series of four paintings completed in 1982. Each painting depicts a different dream in surrealistic, subdued and fluid manner.

Movement III

Aunt Olga Does a War Dance by Alden Mason exhibits a lot of energy and has a tribal art feel to it. This movement extends the tribal visuality into a musical setting and is based on rhythms of dance drumming of the Guinea Coast of West Africa.

Movement IV

Seven Builders is influenced by a painting of Jacob Lawrence entitled what I thought was Seven Builders. However, after completing the movement I revisited the painting, and found it was actually titled, Eight Builders. The painting depicts the rhythm, shape and color of tools in a workshop atmosphere where people use them. Since the memory of the painting was more the catalyst for this movement than the actual painting, it is based on changing meters, primarily the alternation of four and three.

Each movement can be excerpted from the piece and performed separately, although it is recommended that the 2nd and 3rd movements be performed as a unit.



Solo Multiple Percussion


4 Suspended Cymbals, Vibraphone, 4 Small Gongs, Bodhran, 2 Zil Bells (small & large), Squeeze Drum (Talking drum), 4 Concert Tom Toms (10″ – 16″), Daka-de-bello (6 tone slit drum), 2 Bongos (or 6″ & 8″ Tom Toms), Tambourine (with head), Piccolo Snare Drum, Concert Bass Drum (use from Perc. 2 set-up), Egg Shaker (or small shaker), Timpani (use from Perc. 6 set-up), Waterphone (with bow). Drum Set can substitute for the Bodhran and Talking Drum in the Solo Percussion part. Bodhran can substitute for the Talking Drum in the Solo Percussion part.


Percussion 1:
Xylophone (share with Perc. 2), Orchestra Bells (share with Perc. 2), 2 Tambourines (one with a head), Suspended Cymbal, Rain Stick, Woodstock Chimes (6) (Partch Chimes), Concert  Bass Drum (can use in Perc. 2), Surdo (or can use Bass Drum from Perc. 2), 2 Golf Club Tubes (longest length – do not cut)


Percussion 2:
Xylophone (share with Perc. 1), Orchestra Bells (share with Perc. 1), 2 Tom toms (low & med. low pitched), Suspended Cymbal, Concert Bass Drum, 2 Wind Wands, Small Wood Block (highest pitched), 2 Golf Club Tubes (2nd longest – 29″ long), Sogo (or other low-pitched ethnic drum)

Percussion 3:
Marimba (share with Perc. 4 & 5, if necessary), Wood Block (3rd highest pitched), Snare Drum, 2 Triangles (different sizes), 4 Brake Drums, 4 Aluminum pipes (different pitches), 2 Tom toms (high & med. high pitched), Puili Sticks, Hi Hat, 2 Golf Club Tubes (3rd longest – 24″ long), Dumbek (or other high-pitched ethnic drum)



Percussion 4:
Marimba (share with Perc. 3 & 5, if necessary), Wood Block (2nd highest pitched), Tam tam, Slapstick, Cabasa, Egg Shaker (or small shaker), Maracas, Conga Drum (high pitched), Suspended Cymbal, 2 Golf Club Tubes (2nd shortest – 19″ long), Jimbe (or other med.-pitched ethnic drum)


Percussion 5:
Marimba (share with Perc. 3 & 4, if necessary), Large Wood Block (lowest pitched), Snare Drum, Mark Tree, Drum Set Bass Drum (with pedal), 2 Gourds or 2 Caxixi (high & low pitched), 2 Wind Wands, Ocean Drum (Remo or other), 2 Golf Club Tubes (shortest length – 14″ long)


Percussion 6:
4 Timpani, Wood Block (2nd lowest pitched), Sizzle Cymbal, Sleigh Bells, Finger Cymbal, Iron Clapperless Bell (or Cowbell)

Share a link to this piece

Music Catalogs

  • Percussion Ensemble

Other pieces by Jay Kennedy