The Drum Set Beyond Its Roots

The drum set has been rooted in various popular musics since its inception in the early part of the 1900s. However, despite its roots permeating numerous settings of popular music styles, significant room for new compositions and approaches for the instrument still exists. The purpose of this call is to cultivate further presence and depth for the drum set in those areas and beyond. As such, we are seeking submissions for the 2024 New Music/Research Presents in four broader categories for the drum set.

COMPOSITIONS: Covering a wide spectrum of works from solos to ensemble works, including concerti, works for percussion ensemble, chamber ensemble and mixed instrumental ensembles, and works utilizing a “deconstructed” drum set. Examples in this category include:

Solos: Stuart Saunders Smith’s “Blue Too”, Glenn Kotche’s “Monkey Chant”, Kate Neal’s “Self-Accusation”

Works for multiple drum sets: So Percussion/Glenn Kotche’s “Drumkit Quartets”, Paul Reller’s “Snowflake”, Mark Applebaum’s “Straightjacket”

Concerti: Christopher Rouse’s “Bonham” or Jamie Whitmarsh’s “Concerto for Drum Set and Percussion Ensemble”

Chamber/Mixed Ensemble: Timothy Peterson’s “Talk It Out”, Alex Burtzos’ “pOwer trlo”, or JLin’s “Perspective”

Deconstructed works: Nick Werth’s “Boom Bap” and Julia Wolfe’s “Dark Full Ride”

Improvisations: Artists whose work particularly resonates with the hosts include Milford Graves, Chris Corsano, Gerald Cleaver, Lesley Mok, Leo Suarez, Ed Blackwell, Paal Nilssen-Love, Roy Brooks, Susie Ibarra and Han Bennink.

New Techniques: Works that extend the sounds and aesthetics of the traditional drum set. Examples of this include those by Ted Byrnes (“Tactility”), Sean Baxter (“Solo Drumkit Improvisations”), Claire Rousay (“It Is Just So Much More Difficult”), Lisa Cameron, Shigeto, and William Passionfruit Hicks’ “Blank” project.

Transcriptions or Influence-Works: Original and published transcriptions of notable and/or iconic playing, either note-for-note or as works that pay homage to a particular style or person. This category also includes work that expands upon the work/style of a specific artist, including those in the jazz avant-garde. Unpublished and original transcriptions are especially encouraged.

For this call, the committee defines the drum set as a collection of multiple percussion instruments from varying cultural origins, which are assembled as a technology of efficiency and cover a broad spectrum of frequencies. It also acknowledges a single instrument showing clear reference to the ideals and principles of the drum set as defined above. The committee welcomes all submissions and possibilities derived from this.

The New Music/Research Committee invites submissions for the 2024 New Music/Research Presents, The Drum Set Beyond Its Roots, broadly addressing the four aforementioned categories and more specifically including:

  • Historic or groundbreaking compositions for drum set
  • Premiere performances or newly commissioned works for drum set
  • Innovation or experimentation in technique, style, notation (including non-traditional, text, or graphic notation)
  • Free improvisation or compositional-improvisational hybrid works
  • Innovative approaches to the traditional/non-traditional drum set, including in instrument approach/design/building
  • Drum set and technology (fixed electronics, real-time or live electronics, multimedia, etc)
  • Chamber works featuring drum set as a collaborative or featured instrument (percussion ensemble, chamber, mixed ensemble, etc)
  • Traditional transcriptions of notable solos or performances
  • Collaborations or works with outside disciplines (voice, dance, visual art, etc)

The New Music/Research Committee encourages applications from artists at any stage of their study or career. Submissions from people of all genders, ethnicities, and nationalities are welcomed, with submissions from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color particularly encouraged. Proposals should clearly describe how the work in question relates to the overall New Music/Research Presents theme. All proposals that meet the criteria and qualify for inclusion on New Music/Research Presents performances will be given complete and careful consideration. Please note that all expenses, as well as the securing of instruments and funding sources, will be the sole responsibility of the artist(s) themselves. This includes all logistical and financial considerations associated with the performance. Furthermore, due to the format of the New Music/Research Day, as a survey of the above categories and in order to accept the widest number of applicants, the committee will not be accepting any proposals for full concerts or works longer than 20 minutes. Shorter works and excerpts are permitted and encouraged.

Please prepare and submit your proposal with these considerations in mind.

Focus Day Hosts: Logan Ball and Sean Hamilton

Questions can be directed to