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Vespertine Formations

marimba quartet
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Composer: Christopher Deane
Publisher: Christopher Deane, distributed by Innovative Percussion
Instrumentation: Four 4 1/3 octave marimbas (two 5 octave optional)

Program Notes:
The concept for the piece was to explore ways of creating a sense of sustain on four marimbas through extensive use of stretto and imitation. Rather than approaching an ensemble such as this in a traditional choral configuration of soprano, alto, tenor and bass, this piece focuses on keeping most of the musical activity within the same register. All four voices serve as equal members of one collective image. Vespertine Formations is dedicated to Harold Jones who was the professor of percussion at East Carolina University for many years. The motivation for this work comes from a phenomenon in nature. It is a common sight to see huge flocks of birds performing amazing aerial maneuvers in the evening sky over North Texas especially in the Autumn. The ornitholigical sky forms witnessed during one particular sunset in Fall of 2001 served as an undeniable point of inspiration during the compositional process for this piece. The wing motions of so many birds suggested the texture of constant sixteenth notes. As the brilliant orange sunset diminished to dusk, the birds settled into trees around the campus. The fantastic choreography created by this flock of birds and the natural chronology of events guided the structure and form of this piece.

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Christopher Deane

Associate Professor of Percussion
University of North Texas


Christopher Deane is an Associate Professor of Percussion at the University of North Texas College of Music teaching orchestral timpani, mallets, and directing the UNT Percussion Players percussion ensemble. He holds performance degrees from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and the Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He studied with James Massie Johnson, former principal timpanist of the St. Louis Symphony and percussion with Allen Otte. He has also studied independently with Roland Kohloff, N.Y. Philharmonic, Eugene Espino, Cincinnati Symphony and Leonard Schulman, N.Y. City Opera.

Deane is currently principal percussionist with the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra and is acting Principal Timpanist of the East Texas Symphony Orchestra. He is a frequent performer with the Dallas Wind Symphony and has appeared on five recordings with that ensemble. Deane was the Principal Timpanist of the Greensboro Symphony for nine years and performed with the North Carolina Symphony for ten years. Deane has performed with numerous large ensembles including the Boston Pops, Cincinnati Symphony, Dallas Symphony, Detroit Symphony, Ft. Worth Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Spoleto Festival Orchestra, Utah Symphony and Virginia Symphony working with conductors such as Leonard Slatkin, Loren Maazel, Andrew Litton, Jaap van Sweden, Jesus Lopez-Cobos, Gennady Rozhdestvensky, and Keith Lockhart. His chamber music experience includes performances with the Percussion Group Cincinnati, Aeolian Chamber Players, Mallarme Chamber Players and the Philidor Percussion Group. He has appeared in more than seventy performances as a concerto soloist with either symphony orchestras or wind ensembles.

Deane was the faculty percussionist for the Bowdoin Summer Music Festival in Maine from 1982 to 1989. Over the course of those eight years Deane worked closely with composer George Crumb performing his music and serving as a consultant to Crumb for works including Idyll for the Misbegotten, Quest, and Haunted Landscapes. Deane served as a percussionist for the American Dance Festival from 1992 to 1996. He has also served as faculty percussionist for the Vale Veneto Music Festival in Brazil.

Deane has recorded as a timpanist, percussionist and Hungarian Cimbalom soloist. He is a featured concerto soloist on two UNT Wind Symphony recordings featuring the concertos of Joseph Schwantner, Russell Peck and William Kraft under the baton of Eugene Corporon. Deane has also recorded the music of Stravinsky with conductor Robert Craft for the Naxos Label, and has recorded with the Detroit Symphony, North Carolina Symphony, Greensboro Symphony, Cincinnati Philharmonia, Mallarme Chamber Players, St. Stevens Chamber Orchestra and the Winston-Salem Symphony.

Deane has won both 1st and 2nd prize in the PAS Composition Competition. He studied Composition with Sherwood Shaffer, Robert Ward, and Charles Fussell, and independently with Ben Johnston. He has received numerous commissions including the Percussive Arts Society, University of Oklahoma, and the University of Kentucky. His music has been performed and recorded internationally and a number of his compositions have become standard literature on concerts and recitals worldwide. Deane has served two terms on the PAS Board of Directors. He is a clinician for the Bergerault/Dynasty Corporation, Black Swamp Percussion, Innovative Percussion and Sabian Cymbals.


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Christopher Deane Christopher Deane
University of North Texas
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