SYMPHONY MAGAZINE STORY FEATURES
Haas' particular passion -- he would say obsession -- was the timpani.
He had to have a timpani concerto by a major composer.
Philip Glass would do nicely, he thought."
"[Haas says] I found
Philip Glass on the street outside. I was like Mickey Mouse
pulling on the tuxedo of Mr. Stokowski, and I said, 'I am the timpanist
who wants to commission that piece.' And he said, 'I remember
you, you're that crazy timpanist.'"
more about how Jonathan Haas' passion to bring the timpani from the
back of the orchestra to the front drove him to inspire Philip Glass to
Fantasy for Two Timpanists for him in Corinna da
Fonseca-Wollheim's wonderful feature in the January-February issue of Symphony
Click HERE to read it!
COVERAGE OF JONATHAN IN THE WALL
If you missed the similarly
wonderful story about Jonathan in the November 20, 2009, Wall
Street Journal, check it out HERE!
to read the recent Yamaha Signature Sounds feature on Jonathan!
Also, listen to a half-hour
interview with Jonathan about his work with Philip
Fantasy for Two Timpanists
on "Modern Masterpieces," a program aired on Classical Public Radio
Network's stations around the country.
It airs on KUSC FM in Los Angeles
at 10 pm Pacific time on Saturday, January 26, and you can stream it
live at www.kusc.org.
other stations that also air this program are listed below.
their web sites for times/dates and whether they provide
streamed live listening.
KUSC - Los Angeles (also, Palm
Springs, Santa Barbara, Thousand Oaks)
KVOD - Denver, CO (and other towns around the state)
KWTU - Tulsa, OK
Vermont Public Radio
WBHM - Birmingham, AL
WBNI - Fort Wayne, IN
WFSQ - Tallahassee, FL
WNIU - Rockford, IL
WOSU - Columbus, OH
WSHU - Fairfield, CT
WQED - Pittsburgh, PA
KLRE - Little Rock, AR
to an interview with Jonathan on "Weekend America," the national
American Public Media show that airs live on Saturday, December 8 and
is also available for listening afterward online.
find out when it airs live in your area, click HERE for a list of stations.
to the archived interview here: Weekend America
Keep an eye (and ear) out for
coverage of Jonathan’s appearance performing Philip
Glass’ Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists
with the Pasadena Symphony on October 13. A Los
Angeles Times profile of him appears Sunday, October 7 (click
to read it), and there is another feature in the October 5 Los
Angeles Daily News and Pasadena Star News.
You can listen to these radio interviews live online (some are
Saturday, October 13, 2007
KUSC 91.5 FM, “Arts Alive”
8 am and 5 pm Pacific time
LISTEN ARCHIVED HERE:
on link above, then scroll down and click on the link to the 10/13/07
Jonathan's interview begins at about 5:30 minutes into the broadcast
Friday, October 12, 2007
KCSN 88.5 FM, “Arts and Roots Forum”
4 pm Pacific time
Saturday, October 6, 2007
KPCC 89.3 FM, “Off-Ramp”
12 noon Pacific time
LISTEN ARCHIVED HERE:
Click on link above,
then scroll down to Jonathan's photo and click on the "With Mallets of
Jonathan will also be performing
the Glass piece on October 31 at the Percussive Arts
Society’s International Convention.
The next few months for Jonathan
bring a week-long visit to Spain
in May for a series of master classes in Bilbao and San
he records the wind ensemble version of Philip
Glass' CONCERTO FANTASY FOR TWO TIMPANISTS AND ORCHESTRA
with the University of Arizona wind ensemble. (He performed
western U.S. premiere of this version at the University of Arizona in
Jonathan travels to Pasadena,
California in October for an encore performance of the Glass piece with
Maestro Jorge Mester and the Pasadena Symphony, with whom he first
played it six years ago.
And later that month, he performs
the Glass piece in Columbus,
Ohio at the Percussive Arts
Society's International Convention.
This is the largest percussion event in the world, featuring over 150
concerts, clinics, master classes, labs, workshops, panels and
One of Jonathan's most spectacular projects is his BROADWAY PERCUSSION SEMINAR,
June 7 to 12, 2007, an intensive, hands-on study of the world of
Broadway percussionists young professionals and high school and college
percussionists. Hosted by Jonathan and presented by the NYU
Steinhardt Classical Percussion Program (which he directs), the seminar
includes studies with the percussionists from Broadway shows such as The Lion King, The Producers, Les
Miserables, Tarzan, Beauty and the Beast, Chicago, and The Wedding Singer,
and Radio City Music Hall. Among the seven-day program's
are preparation sessions, a round-table discussion/Q&A with
contractors, conductors, percussionists, managers, and special guests,
and SHOW DAY in which
and tour pits of a Broadway show. After attending one of the
shows, dinner is served with the percussionist who played the
show. To participate or for more information, call the NYU
of Special Programs at 212-992-9380, or click HERE.
Last September, Jonathan was featured on Classical
Public Radio Network's Dial-A-Musician
program that aired on 20 or so classical music radio stations around
the country. His interview with program host Orli Shaham
a listener's question about techniques for playing the
Jonathan, who was introduced as "the only solo virtuoso timpanist
around, the superstar of the timpani," discussed how a timpanist
creates a percussive phrase, i.e. when to
initiate a sound
and when to take it out, and he also explained the subtleties of using
one's hands to muffle or stop sound made by a timpani.
Jonathan continues to
collect raves for his performances of Philip Glass' CONCERTO
FANTASY FOR TWO TIMPANISTS AND ORCHESTRA over the last six
months, including concerts with the Louisville
Orchestra (Jorge Mester, conductor) last September in
Louisville, Kentucky, the Orchestre
National de France (James Conlon, conductor) in November
in Paris, and the Naples
Philharmonic (Jorge Mester, conductor) in November and
December in Naples, Florida.
Earlier this year, Jonathan performed the work in Zagreb, Croatia
with the Croatian Radio Television Symphony Orchestra (Zsolt Hamar,
conductor), where he also conducted master classes at the Zagreb
Conservatory and in Riga, Latvia.
The media coverage of these recent performances was
extensive. The Naples
Daily News review said, in part:
second in this season’s classical series by the Naples
Philharmonic Orchestra is titled “Schubert’s
Great.’” And that’s exactly
what the program
proved itself to be — and not because of Schubert.
No. Nestled in the middle of the evening’s program
absolutely phenomenal piece by contemporary American composer Philip
Glass. “Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and
Orchestra” proved itself to be a blockbuster. The
was commissioned by guest artist Jonathan Haas, one of the
evening’s two timpanists. Fourteen timpani front
on the concert stage! The visual impact alone of the sheer
of gleaming timpani was nearly overwhelming. This
concerto with such great rhythm, such energy, it was virtually
impossible not to head nod or toe tap. Every time I
tore my eyes away from what was unfolding on stage and sneaked a peek
at the audience, that’s what any number of them were doing.
I must confess I, who am not always thrilled by some of the
classical music” was practically whimpering in ecstasy
the entire performance. I didn’t want it to
when it was finally over — when it was impossible to believe
either timpanist could add one more note before their arms fell off
— the audience erupted. Cheered. Gave the
and the two timpanists a standing ovation. Thus, by
the time Schubert’s “Great” began, we had
already experienced the great."
In Paris, the audience reacted similarly. A web site blogger
enthused (loosely translated from French):
is prodigiously extraordinary, with an agility and a skill in the
handling of the mallets that is absolutely amazing. The sound
which starts the third movement, entirely made by Haas with the palm of
his hands on the timpani, is really magic. The whole work is
splendid and of an incredible beauty. At the last measure,
Conlon raised his baton, remained like that -- the raised hands,
suspended in the air four seconds – then lowered the baton,
and the whole room exploded in applause. There were
eight successive encores!
There had been so many encores that Conlon, Benetti and Haas decided to
reprise the last movement. I left with all these notes in the
head, my pleasure doubling that I had lived (and heard) an
The Louisville Journal called it "a
spectacular piece" and described
Jonathan as "delighting in
hyperkinetic excursions with various mallets…
There was no stopping him…"
Jonathan will perform Philip Glass'
CONCERTO FANTASY FOR TWO TIMPANISTS AND ORCHESTRA
with the Louisville Orchestra (Jorge
Mester, conductor) on September 28
and 29, 2006, in Louisville, Kentucky; with the Orchestre National de France
(James Conlon, conductor) on Wednesday, November 22, 2006, in Paris,
with the Naples Philharmonic (Jorge Mester,
conductor) on November
30, December 1 and 2, 2006, in Naples, Florida.
His performance of this work with
the Seattle Symphony in May garnered rave reviews, including this from
Philip Glass' Concerto
with two timpani soloists, not only was the centerpiece of the Seattle
Symphony Orchestra's Made in
but also its biggest hit. People
whooped and hollered after the dazzling display of timpani virtuosity
by Jonathan Haas,
who commissioned the concerto, and Svet Stoyanov. The heart
the piece is the slow movement in which one gets a genuine chance to
hear the 14 kettledrums -- seven for each soloist -- in all their
glory. What got everyone's attention were the two cadenzas,
almost back to back, at the beginning of the third movement. First, it
was Haas playing with fury and precision, and with some unusual
effects. Then, it was his younger colleague, Stoyanov, who
his extended solo visceral excitement, not only aurally but visually,
as his mallets moved seemingly at the speed of light across the skins
of seven drums. Haas and Stoyanov, each with impressive
résumés, are first-class musicians.
A review of the Glass Concerto CD in the
October 2005 issue of Percussive
Haas successfully organized a commission that resulted in the Concerto Fantasy for Two
Timpanists and Orchestra,
a work that enjoys the distinction of being the first double concerto
for timpani in the history of music. Using two soloists gives
composer an impressive melodic arsenal provided by 14 timpani (each
soloist plays seven drums), and when the other timpanist is the
multi-talented Evelyn Glennie, who joins Haas in a collaborative effort
that displays the artistry and impeccable musicianship of both
soloists, it is a “win win” situation. They are
the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by
concerto should continue to be a hit on orchestra programs, thanks to
its ability to create a visual spectacle, but also for a number of
musical reasons, such as its extraordinary use of 14 timpani along with
some rapid tuning changes that make it feasible to play long and
intricate melodic lines. If the critical acclaim
thus far is any indication, this double concerto should readily find a
permanent place in the repertoire. The performance heard on
disc, with a first-rate orchestra and conductor, validates these
Jonathan was featured in a July 9,
2006, Los Angeles Times
feature story about the increase in the number of performing
opportunities for classical musicians in the summer time.
is an excerpt:
Percussionist Jonathan Haas
has an active concert career (one specialty is Philip Glass' Concerto Fantasy for Two
Timpanists and Orchestra,
written for him). But he also plays and teaches at the summer Aspen
Music Festival in Colorado at the same time that he runs a musicians
contracting company (Gemini Music Productions) and a percussion rental
company (Kettles and Company).
music business has gotten where you have to fill up your year with as
much stuff as possible," Haas says. "Especially in New York, you try to
pack in as much as you can because the marketplace is shrinking so
badly. I'm lucky. It's all accelerated. But my schedule has been like
this for about 18 years."
notes too that the vision of a laid-back summer doesn't always jibe
with a seasonal set of responsibilities. Students in summer programs,
he says, "want that experience to be truly valuable. 'I don't want my
teacher on the golf course or playing tennis,' they say. 'I need him to
be at the concert to give me coaching.' "
finally, listen for Jonathan's interview on Classical Public Radio
Network's Dial A
Musician feature that will be aired soon on 20
classical music radio stations around the country.
will perform Philip Glass' CONCERTO FANTASY FOR TWO
TIMPANISTS AND ORCHESTRA
with the Chicago
Symphony (James Conlon, conductor) on Friday, July 15 at the Ravinia
2005. Details to come.
is currently performing in
Jerusalem and Istanbul, and he's just back from playing the Glass piece
in Milwaukee with the Milwaukee Symphony.
performance was praised by the Milwaukee
Journal-Sentinel, which said, "A
whack on a big drum at
the end of a closing wave of speed and volume never fails to excite an
audience. Friday night's Milwaukee Symphony concert, led by
Vajda, proved the rule. The big crowd got to its feet for ...
local premiere of Philip Glass' Concerto Fantasy for Two
and Orchestra. One timpanist was Jonathan Haas, who
to compose the piece and helped arrange the consortium of commissioning
orchestras (the MSO is among them)... Haas showed the delicate side of
the timpani. He dragged a mallet across the drumhead and
its pitch, to evoke a whale song, and slapped the skins with his hands,
conga-style. The big finish is a kick... The soloists played
confidence and vigor."
is just back from an acclaimed
performance of the Philip Glass CONCERTO FANTASY FOR TWO
AND ORCHESTRA with the Sydney Symphony (October
2004). This Australian
premiere of the piece was played in the famed Sydney Opera House,
rave reviews and considerable press coverage.
was hailed by critics as "versatile
and virtuosic," and the piece was described as a "convincing musical
of intensity and drama" by the Sydney Morning Herald,
said, "The most engaging aspect was the infectious enjoyment of the
themselves." Another writer called the piece, "A unique,
concerto with cadenza… inspired by Jonathan Haas, who first
idea of a timpani-led concerto to the composer over ten years ago."
a feature story from The Australian
titled "Drums Roll Up to Center Stage," Jonathan's characteristic sense
of humor was illustrated in this passage: "Even on their own,
12 drums produce remarkable effects, from low rumblings and comic
to intricate rhythmic passages and groovy syncopations. 'Boy,
sounds great,' Haas said. 'What do we need an orchestra for?'"
passage from this interview:
"Glass is usually known as a minimalist composer because of his use of
repetitive rhythms. But Haas described the double timpani
as a 'maximalist' piece. He [also explained that] part of the
of percussion instruments was the low-frequency sounds they
'There is no way that somebody can sit in the audience and be passive -
they can actually feel the sound,' he said."
addition to all the newspaper coverage,
Jonathan was interviewed on three radio stations. Even an
"blogger" wrote about it, saying, "Tonight Kenneth and I headed off to
the Opera House to listen to a pretty amazing program.
had to be the Philip Glass Concerto Fantasy, which was pretty
Richard Miller from the SSO played alongside world-famous percussionist
he conducted two Master Classes,
one at the Sydney Conservatory and the other in Melbourne at the
Academy of Music.
will next perform the Glass CONCERTO
with the Milwaukee Symphony in March 2005 and with the Istanbul
for the Turkish premiere, in April 2005.
will also premiere a wind ensemble
version at Peabody University (Baltimore) in February, and this unusual
version will also be played during the coming year at other colleges
the country including the University of Arizona and Florida State
is making news in this country
too with the September 2004 release of the timpani concerto on PHILIP
GLASS Concerto Project Vol. I (issued by
Glass' Orange Mountain
Music label). Conducted by Gerard Schwarz, the Royal
Orchestra performs the piece with Jonathan and Evelyn Glennie as
soloists. The concerto was recorded in the acoustically
Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool, January, 2004.
the CD's rave reviews is this
comment by noted music critic Bradley Bambarger, who said, "[The
is the freshest thing [Glass] has created in a while. This
even exciting piece should be a hit on orchestral programs."
critic noted, "[The concerto
is] a terrifically fun piece. Truly this must be considered a
in Glass’s repertoire," and added that the work was
One could hardly wish for a better rendering of the music."
to an Orange Mountain Music
statement, "The soloists were superb, exhibiting their well deserved
of being at the top of their respective fields. The orchestra, under
Schwarz’s direction, performed beautifully. Orange
is very happy to initiate Philip Glass’ Concerto Project with
The booklet included with the CD contains the arist’s bios
and there comments
on working with and performing Philip Glass’ music."
teaching duties have led
to some interesting projects, including a Halloween 2004 performance
and playing a Frank Zappa tribute concert with his NYU Percussion
nearly sold-out evening featured
works by Zappa and Edgar Varese, another 20th Century composer, whose
influenced Zappa. Neither arranged their work for percussion
so Jonathan adapted the pieces for his 11-member group.
to a New York newspaper's account of the evening, Jonathan, who worked
with Zappa on the song "The Black Page," closed the concert, "with a
meant to demonstrate 'what it might sound like if Zappa and Varese ever
did get together,' Haas said. This electro-funk composition,
take on 'The Black Page,' had elements of drum machines, congas and a
Haas jumped into the performance, playing alongside his students and
when he saw fit. 'It was unbelievable,' Haas said."
is acting director of the New
York University Classical Percussion Department, where he's introducing
a first-of-its-kind program that includes in-depth theatrical
studies, the first modern-day Timpani Guild and an innovative classical
also marks Jonathan's 22nd year
on the faculty of the Peabody Conservatory and his 20th season with the
Aspen Music Festival and School.
has joined the Juilliard Pre-College
Percussion Faculty for a one year appointment beginning in the fall of
2004. He will be active in areas of recruitment as well as
to mentor and teach in one of the most progressive and comprehensive
of studies offered to exceptionally motivated high school students.
to see photos of Jonathan's "world's largest timpani."
has invented a process to improve
the performance of crash cymbals that has been developed into a new
called "The Master Series Anti-Lock Cymbal" produced by Zildjian, the
manufacturer of cymbals in the world.