November 8, 2023

MSM Percussion Ensemble in concert NOV 12:
Three questions with director Kyle Ritenauer

This interview was conducted prior to the November 12 Percussion Ensemble performance.

Kyle Ritenauer (BM ’11, MM ’15) is Director of the MSM Percussion Ensemble, which performs in Neidorff-Karpati Hall on Sunday, NOV 12 at 7:30 PM.

He tells us about the performance and why people should come to see the show!

NOV 12 | SUN
7:30 PM

MSM Percussion Ensemble

Kyle Ritenauer (BM ’11, MM ’15), Director

JONATHAN DAWE Gibbons, Gongs, and Gamelans

Commissioned by the MSM Percussion Ensemble by
Jeffrey Milarsky (2006)

PAOLO MARCHETTINI Brotherhoods’ Journey

Commissioned by Sean, Kyle, and Kevin Ritenauer

YA-LAN CHAN (MM ’16, DMA ’23) Umbra (World Premiere)
CHRISTOPHER CERRONE (BM ’07) Goldbeater’s Skin

Free, tickets Required

Tell us about the upcoming Percussion Ensemble concert!

Kyle: The Manhattan School of Music Percussion Ensemble will be presenting its first concert of the 2023–24 season — it’s made up of several collaborations across departments at MSM. This will include the ensemble’s ongoing commitment to new music through our commission initiative with the MSM Composition Department, featuring a new work by Ya-lan Chan, as well as our collaboration with the Vocal Arts department, featuring mezzo-soprano Ziyuan Deng.

There is a commissioned piece by an MSM faculty member and another by an MSM alum: can you tell us about those pieces, and a bit about the history of the Percussion Ensemble?

Kyle: The theme running through this program will be that of music commissioned by the Percussion Ensemble. Ever since the ensemble’s conception about 65 years ago, we have been dedicated to the creation of new music for the percussion world. Having had long term collaborations with composers like John Cage, there is a rich history of collaborations with living composers.

To honor that history, we will present three pieces that were commissioned by the ensemble. First is Jonathan Dawe‘s Gibbons, Gongs, and Gamelans which was commissioned by former Director Jeffrey Milarsky in 2006. Next we will perform MSM faculty member Paolo Marchettini‘s Brotherhoods’ Journey which was written for me and my brothers (yes, two of my brothers are professional percussionists who also attended MSM!). Finally, we will premiere a brand-new work by Ya-lan Chan, which was commissioned specifically for this performance.

Beyond these three works, the concert will culminate in a performance of Chris Cerrone‘s Goldbeater’s Skin, which will feature mezzo-soprano Ziyuan Deng who was awarded this opportunity through a collaboration with MSM’s Vocal Arts department.

Why should people come and see this show?

Kyle: The first thing you will notice when walking into this concert is a stage filled with just about every percussion instrument you can imagine. You will be surprised at the amazing versatility of these instruments, from moments of energetic drumming to atmospheric sound worlds, to intimate moments you would never expect from an ensemble made up of only percussion instruments. We hope you will all join us for what will be a thrilling and interesting evening of music.


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