This time last year SHHH!! Ensemble gave the world premiere of John Beckwith’s Meanwhile for Marimba and Piano at the Music and Beyond Festival in Ottawa, ON.
Reflecting on the process of Meanwhile’s creation, we feel incredibly lucky to have worked with a composer of Mr. Beckwith’s stature for our duo’s first commission, and for the collaborative experiences that occurred between us throughout his writing process.
Since forming SHHH!! Ensemble, it has been our mission not only to commission new music for the piano/percussion duo, but to also create a lasting repertoire of quality pieces that survive beyond the premiere.
As we continue to perform Meanwhile on recitals and outreach programmes throughout the 2019-2020 season (with Health Arts Ontario, concert series, and at institutions such as the Universities of Lakehead, Conrad Grebel, Manitoba, and Alberta), we look forward to discovering new layers of meaning, colour, expression, and depth in this fantastic addition to the piano/percussion repertoire.
For us, working on Meanwhile has really been a process of discovery. While the technical challenges individually are considerable, the real work lies in the ensemble. The score calls for “aleatoric” type sections, that in some ways provide freedom, but simultaneously demand a certain well rehearsed discipline. Each performance can be unique, but must be prepared as such. As a performer this makes Meanwhile a perennially interesting composition; as a listener, each iteration is a new look into a profoundly deep and inspiring work.
After intensive workshopping and recording of Meanwhile during our November/December 2018 residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, we took some time away from the work and are very much looking forward to returning to it this fall with a fresh perspective.
Thank you, John for the fantastic music!