LA Phil Principal Timpanist Joseph Pereira | Photo by Mathew Imaging

Hit play below to listen to our Arts Alive feature with Joseph Pereira discussing Friday’s live broadcast.

This week, the LA Phil presents a world premiere by its principal timpanist Joseph Pereira. It’s called Threshold and it’s the centerpiece of a concert led by Gustavo Dudamel that we’ll be broadcasting live Friday night at 8! Backstage at Disney Hall KUSC’s Gail Eichenthal got a sneak preview of Pereira’s new Concerto for Timpani and Two Percussion.

Pereira shows off one of the newly created instruments he’ll unveil this week with the world premiere of “Threshold”: ceramic tiles from Home Depot, mounted on wood | Photo by Gail Eichenthal

Joseph Pereira, head of Percussion Studies at the USC Thornton School of Music, spent a decade in the New York Philharmonic before coming to Southern California. As the LA Phil’s principal timpanist, he’s proud to trace his lineage: his predecessors include the late Mitchell Peters, and before Peters, William Kraft, now 94–both of them prominent composer/timpanists.

The cool thing about timpanist composers is that they tend to create their own instruments for special occasions like this LA Phil commission. Instruments like a small Chinese gong mounted on top of a plastic-headed timpani. Pereira tells me the indistinct pitches and rhythms of Threshold are intentional, reflecting the somewhat anxiety-producing times we live in. But another instrument Pereira crafted– a set of ceramic tiles played with soft mallets and snare drum sticks– somehow conjures up a sense of spirituality, with its echoes of an ancient Balinese gamelan.

Joseph Pereira’s Threshold for Solo Timpani, 2 Percussion and Orchestra will be unveiled at this week’s LA Philharmonic concerts, along with Stravinsky’s Fireworks and the Brahms First Symphony. Gustavo Dudamel conducts and celebrates his 37th birthday. Tune in Friday night at 8 when Brian Lauritzen and Alan Chapman bring you this concert (and the birthday festivities) live from the Walt Disney Concert Hall. Be sure to follow along on KUSC’s Facebook Page for behind the scenes video, photos, and more!

Want more? Listen to our live broadcast preview with Gustavo Dudamel here.

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