Gordon Stout, head of percussion at Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York and well known marimba soloist, teacher and composer, has been commissioned by Ruth Komanoff Underwood to write a work for Nexus.
Ruth’s instructions for the commission were discussed with Gordon in Ithaca, late November last. Ruth requested a short work that could be programmed as a concert opener or encore, and would appeal tonally & melodically to audiences.
Gordon notified Nexus just after Christmas that he had completed a five minute work, titled “Prelude-Winter Song”. It was written to be a concert opener.
Nexus plans to premier “Prelude-Winter Song” in Orangeville, Ontario on 3 April, 2009 and in the Glenn Gould Studio, Toronto on 5 April 5.
When she was 15 years old Ruth Komanoff studied percussion at Ithaca College with my teacher, Warren Benson. She later moved to Los Angeles, joined Frank Zappa’s band as percussionist-a position she held for about ten years. She is the mother of two children, both musicians and both college students. Still living in Los Angeles, Ruth devotes her spare time to giving free music lessons to children who could not otherwise afford to study.
Gordon Stout(b.1952, Wichita, Kansas)also studied with Warren Benson, but at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York. Gordon dedicated to Benson his historic work for marimba “Two Mexican dances”: a work known and played world wide since its creation in 1974. Stout has written over three dozen works, including pedagogical materials.
Lauren Vogel-Weiss is completing a major interview with Ruth for an up-coming issue of the Percussive Arts Society magazine “Percussive Notes”.