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Cats out of the bag


Composed in 2012 (revised 2014)

For percussion trio or quartet

Duration: 10:00


Cats Out of the Bag was premiered at Trinity Wall Street Church in New York, in April 2012. I composed the piece for the Wanmu Percussion Trio, intending to complement the dramatic elements of Mauricio Kagel’s absurdist epic Dressur, which Wanmu was to perform on the same program. While contemplating the new piece, I realized that much of the drama in many percussion works—especially in Dressur—stems from the percussion setup. The audience sees the array of instruments, then watches and waits for all of the instruments to be used at some point in the piece. I thought it could be interesting to remove that expectation by hiding the instruments in bags, infusing the proceedings with surreal whimsy and opportunities for comedy.



First Performance: April 19th, 2012

Trinity Wall Street Church, New York, NY

Wanmu Percussion Trio:

Yun-Chu Chiu, John Corkill, Ian Rosenbaum


Recording and Video: November 17th, 2016

Morse Recital Hall, Yale University, New Haven, CT

Sandbox Percussion:

Jonathan Allen, Victor Caccese, Ian Rosenbaum, Terry Sweeney


Related Works:

Hit the Spot

Flying Solo

Lemonade Toccata

Wild and Ferocious Plants

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