Blog

Time and Life Shook Hands and Said Goodbye

It’s been a busy few months and I wanted to share what’s been happening. Often when deadlines loom and concerts are happening one after the other, it becomes difficult to absorb and reflect on the outcome. For me, it’s important to take the time to document these performances simply for the sheer amount of preparation, practicing and work that goes into them. Knowing that words will never quite convey the experience of live performance, reflection helps me move on to the next concert.

A few weeks ago I was part of the NYC Weekend of Percussion where I was a featured soloist with newly formed all female percussion quartet, Excelsis:

I’ve spent my life performing some of the hardest solo percussion repertoire out there, but nothing brings me greater joy than playing drum set and true in the moment improvisation. I look forward to collaborating with this quartet more in the future.

Lisa Pegher.jpg

Lisa Pegher with Excelsis Percussion Quartet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The program also included two of my original works:

 Liquefaction  (click title to hear clip)

 

Liquefaction for Amplified Marimba and Electronics by Lisa Pegher #NYC #LivePerformance

 

Harmonic Filter  (click title to hear clip)

Harmonic Filter for Amplified Vibraphone and electronics by Lisa Pegher #NYC #liveperformance

Literally, the next day I was immersed in curating the solo percussion arsenal for Richard Danielpour’s new work, Celestial Circus for three percussionists and two pianists. The set up was huge and it was premiered in one of the most beautiful halls in New York City: Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. We put a lot of rehearsal time in on this premiere and the end result was extremely rewarding.

New York Classical Review

Photos:

IMG_4217-1

IMG_4383

IMG_4327

IMG_4314.JPG

IMG_4310

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in News and Performance Blog · 1 Comment

2014 NYC PAS Weekend of Percussion

Greetings All!

Next weekend is the 2014 PAS Weekend of Percussion here in New York City and I’m excited to be performing 3 works on the Showcase Concert Saturday evening. I’ll be performing two of my new original compositions for amplified marimba and vibraphone and will be the featured drum set soloist on Bobby Previte’s: Terminals: Concerto for Drum Set and Percussion Ensemble with the recently formed, all female percussion group, Excelsis. And, guess what? IT’S FREE!!!! Hope to see you there.

 

NYC PAS 2014  Poster

Posted in News and Performance Blog · Leave a comment

Winter Solstice: Return of Light

Winter Solstice: The Return of Light

Winter is always a difficult time of year for me. It’s dark, cold, and everything seems just a little bit harder.

We have our gloves, an extra coat, and and extra layer of clothes to lug around. But, when we reach the winter solstice, I always feel a glimmer of hope. Despite the cold, the return of small increments of light makes it possible to weather the cold until spring arrives.

This year it seems like my life was right in line with the flow of the universe. No matter how much you practice, no matter how far you think you’ve gotten, there is always another step to go, and sometimes, that step isn’t the one you see coming. More often than not, it can seem like there is always another obstacle blocking your path. In the end, I am reminded the hard way of one of my favorite buddhist quotes “You already are what you want to become”.
In truth, everything else is just an illusion. People sometimes ask what the hardest part about the music business is. For me, it’s not learning the music, carrying and setting up hundreds of instruments, playing them all, traveling, practicing long hours, finding a place to practice, deadlines, projects, etc…

The single most difficult thing is Perseverance. Believing in yourself when nobody else seems to…
Rising every time you fall… Standing up again when you think you have nothing left to give.

So, as the light returns in the new year, this is my mantra, as it always has been: Die Trying.
And that’s exactly what I plan on doing. Although it might seem like an outward agenda, it’s actually an inward dilemma.

Perhaps things won’t turn out exactly the way we thought they would, but none of that matters if you keep believing in yourself.
My wish for all of you at the turn of the new year is the same.

Rise up.
Do not take no for an answer.
Find an alternate route.

Because the only thing stronger than fear, is hope.

Onward

Lisa_Pegher3853

 

Posted in News and Performance Blog · 1 Comment

Lisa Pegher’s signature Marimba One mallets are now available

lisa-pegher-signature-mallets-marimba-oneMy signature mallets have finally arrived! These mallets are great for concerto performances as well as cutting through ensembles. Great for orchestral players with a marimba part that needs to be heard from the back and for the soloist in front who needs to project to the back of the hall.

They are handcrafted by the amazing engineers at Marimba One for a beautiful cutting edge sound.
Available exclusively at Volkwein’s Music Store and online:

volkwein's music tag

Posted in News and Performance Blog · 1 Comment

Full Circle: The Rosenblum Project on BMOP Sound

Lisa Pegher and Kenneth Koon
There is something to be said about bringing a project full circle.
I recall my trip to Boston to premiere and record Mathew’s Double Concerto for Saxophone and Percussion.
One of the most difficult things about this project was how quickly everything came together. I recall only having about six weeks to learn the work, rehearse it with Ken and get on the road to Boston for the premiere. I’m not one who loves winter, nor am I one who loves below zero temperatures but we got both during the week of the premiere. The Steelers (my hometown football team) were in the Super Bowl.,  and there was an extreme freeze that had taken over the northeast. Previous to showing up for the week, I was practicing the concerto up to 12 hours a day in some instances. Not only was I handed a new piece with little time to spare, I was also given the task of figuring out the architecture of the percussion set up (something I’ve become quite good at over the years). I love the challenge, I love envisioning the set up, more than that, there is nothing that describes the feeling of bringing it all together as we did on that cold evening in January. Being that I’m not a native of Boston, I remember taking a wrong turn and walking way out of my way carrying my heavy bag of cymbals, music, and small percussion instruments. Maybe it was the circumstances, but it will forever be ingrained in my head as one of the coldest experiences I’ve ever had.
With little time to bring this mammoth work together I was given only a dress rehearsal in the actual performance space and one of the things I’ve often had to deal with as a solo percussionist is conductors not wanting the percussion on stage during the rehearsal of other works.
Here’s what it was, and is, typically like:
-Move a stage full of instruments, set them up in all the right places, within a two hour time frame. (Yes, I’m moving these instruments…not to mention the detail in getting the setup perfect…)
-Have a run through of a 20 min concerto that has never been performed.
-Strike all the instruments off stage
-Don’t forget the 12 hour practice sessions leading up to all of this..
-Two hours later, set the gear up again.
-Play in the hall for one hour on this massive set up to hear the acoustics and tune the instruments.
-Breathe
-Go out on stage for the world premiere.
At this moment, my body and mind are on a different plane all together. I’m on auto pilot, something that I have from doing this my whole life, I liken it to an extreme sport. I muster up my soul, the spirit within to premiere the work. Because it takes extreme efforts at this point bring out the music I’ve worked so hard on, before the work begins, I have images of death and that if I make it through, it will be okay to die. Not because I want to, but because when you have worked so hard physically and mentally for something, your mind starts to think things like this. Perhaps it’s because I am so close to sheer exhaustion, I imagine this is what extreme athletes feel right before they cross the finish line after a triathlon. To me, this is when the best performances happen. There is no ego. There is no fear. There is no self.  There is only what the soul can provide and what is left is a performance that is as close to the divine (whatever that may be) as one will ever see next to death. Needless to say, it is rewarding beyond words, which is why I keep doing it… Having gotten the finished product in the mail brought back this flood of memories and I wanted to share. For those out there in the classical industry that may think women are weak
I challenge you to come live a day in my life.  Not only will you be sorry to have thought such things, but the sheer amount of physical strength, perseverance, and determination it takes to do what I do will have you on your knees begging for mercy.
Double Concerto by Mathew Rosenblum, It’s on the Mobiüs Loop Album. Take a listen or 2, or, 3…..
71uvitmftl-_sl1500_
Posted in News and Performance Blog · 1 Comment

LSO Post Performance Thoughts

I returned late last night on the last flight from Detroit to JFK. Each time I perform it takes an enormous amount of inner and outer strength, but when the orchestra is behind me and we are making amazing music the details are swept aside and the moment takes over. As I was standing on stage with a longtime colleague and friend, conductor, Tim Muffitt, I looked out into the concert hall and realized how much I love what I do for a living. No matter how hard the struggle, no matter how many instruments, details and notes to learn, when I’m standing up there making music, I know that I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. It was a week of great conversations about music and beautiful energy on stage with the musicians in the Lansing Symphony Orchestra. The day after the performance I headed over to Central Michigan University to give a masterclass. It was early! But still great to work with the students. Thanks for an amazing week, Lansing.

IMG_3455

after the encore

Lisa Pegher post concert with the Principal Timpanist

 

IMG_3502

Lisa Pegher with the students at Central Michigan University

IMG_3443

signing!

performing with friends!

Posted in News and Performance Blog · 1 Comment

Lisa Pegher performs Jennifer Higdon’s Concerto for Percussion this week in Michigan

Greetings!

I’m excited to spend the week in Michigan where I’ll be working with the Lansing Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Timothy Muffitt.  If you happened to be in the area, please come check out this exciting percussion concerto and stop backstage after the show to say hello. Click below for to go directly to the Lansing Orchestra’s website and more information on where to buy tickets. Hope to see you there!

 

Posted in News and Performance Blog · 1 Comment

New Hampshire, Monadnocks, and New Recordings

Happy Summer!

Lisa Pegher, Percussionist, Drummer

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog. Summer has been quite busy thus far. After my move to the Big Apple, I got to work in my new space preparing for the summer concerts in New Hampshire at the Monadnock Summer Festival.

 

 

IMG_3214If you haven’t visited, I highly recommend it. There is something quite special about that place. In the distance you can see Mt. Monadnock while being embraced with the rejuvenating  silence of nature surrounding the community.

 

 

My recital took place in a historic church in Harrisville right off the beaten path.  IMG_3194I performed during the east coast heatwave — without air conditioning. Thankfully, since I religiously practice hot yoga, I was prepared to sweat it out.  Unlike many performers, I actually prefer the heat. It gets me in the zone much faster. It was also rewarding to premiere my new work, Harmonic Filter for vibraphone, electronics, and voice.

During my stay I was also able to listen to the final cut of the soon to be released Double Concerto for Percussion and Saxophone featuring myself and Kenneth Coon on baritone saxophone by composer Mathew Rosenblum. This piece is gritty and complex. It’s unlike any other duo piece out there. It will be unleashed to the masses next month on the BMOP Sound Label, I’ll keep you updated.

Until then,

If you HEAR SOMETHING awesome—-SAY SOMETHING!
Art music needs all the help we can get.

Lisa P.

 

 

 

 

Posted in News and Performance Blog · Leave a comment

Percussive Arts Society Day of Percussion

Come be a part of the Percussive Arts Society Day of Percussion on February 17th, 2013. Visit: www.http://community.pas.org/pennsylvania/home/ for more information.

Posted in News and Performance Blog · Leave a comment

Classical Review

A Concert of Rejoicing (click for entire review) by David Lowry

 

 

 

The orchestra performed this profound work with expertise, but the real challenge fell to percussionist Lisa Pegher. Pegher demonstrated total command over dozens of instruments — both with and without pitch — and created amazing music. – David Lowry of Columbia South Carolina’s Free Times

Posted in News and Performance Blog · Leave a comment