New Jersey Percussion Ensemble Celebrates 50th Anniversary with Concert on February 5

--Event will include release of new recording by the ensemble, as well as screening of trailer of an upcoming documentary detailing the ensemble's history

The New Jersey Percussion Ensemble, an ensemble in residence at William Paterson University in Wayne that has been a driving force in the state of New Jersey for the performance of new music, celebrates its 50th anniversary with a concert on Monday, February 5 at 7 p.m. in the Shea Center for Performing Arts on campus. Admission is free.

The concert will feature music by a variety of composers whose work the ensemble has championed since its founding in 1968 by Raymond Des Roches, a William Paterson professor of music, who retired in 2002. Among the works will be Edgard Varese’s “Ionisation,” which the group performed during its New York debut concert that same year. Peter Jarvis, current director of the ensemble and an adjunct professor of music at William Paterson, will conduct.

The program will also include Concerto for Horn and Percussion Sextet, Opus 54, by Peter Jarvis, and “Marwa” by Payton MacDonald, professor of music at William Paterson University. Rounding out the concert will be “Antiphonies” by David Saperstein, and two world premieres: “Penance Creek” by Glen Velez and “Forced Bravery” by Gene Pritsker. All living composers will be in attendance.

In conjunction with the concert, the ensemble will release a new recording, New Jersey Percussion Ensemble at 50, Volume 1: A Volume of Concertos by Peter Jarvis and Payton MacDonald. The recording features four concertos each by Jarvis and MacDonald performed by the ensemble and recorded at William Paterson University. The event will also include the screening of the trailer for a forthcoming documentary by Payton MacDonald that chronicles the history of the ensemble and will be released later this spring.

The New Jersey Percussion Ensemble was founded in 1968 by Des Roches, who co-directed the group with Jarvis and Gary Van Dyke until 2004. The highly acclaimed ensemble is comprised of professionals, many of whom are William Paterson alumni, and William Paterson faculty and select students. Because of an ongoing commitment to the proliferation of percussion repertoire, numerous pieces have been written for, premiered by, and recorded by the ensemble. In residence at William Paterson since 1972, the ensemble has appeared in the United States and Europe as guests of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Group for Contemporary Music, the Composers Guild of New Jersey, the San Francisco Symphony, the Gaudeamus Foundation, Radio Denmark, and countless others. The group can be heard on Nonesuch, Composer’s Recording Inc., Music and Arts, Koch International, Desoto, New World NAXOS, the Composers Guild of New Jersey, and Capstone recording labels.

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