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Hit the Spot


Composed 2011

Duration: 5:30

Instrumentation: tenor pan, string quartet


As instruments go, the steel pan is a baby. Invented approximately seventy years ago in Trinidad and Tobago, steel pans have until recently been associated almost exclusively with the Caribbean musical tradition from which they developed. Now, as the global musical culture becomes more fluid and cross-pollination of musical styles and traditions is the norm, the steel pan is emerging as a

viable instrument in myriad contexts. One of the pioneers of this pan renaissance is Andy Akiho.


Andy, through both his own compositions and performances of others’ music, has pushed the boundaries of what is considered possible with steel pans. Almost as soon as I first heard Andy play,

I asked him if he would be interested in a new piece from me. Andy suggested the combination of pan and string quartet, which married his area of expertise with mine (I am a cellist). The result, Hit the Spot, is very much indebted to the personality of its dedicatee. In it,

I have tried to reflect the virtuosity, imagination, and seemingly inexhaustible energy that Andy displays in his music making, and to express the joy that emanates from every performance he gives.



First Performance: April 14th, 2011, New Music New Haven

Morse Recital Hall, Yale University, New Haven, CT

Andy Akiho, tenor pan

The Linden String Quartet:

Sarah McElravy, Catherine Cosbey, violins

Eric Wong, viola

Felix Umansky, cello


Related Works:

Cats Out of the Bag

String Quartet No. 3

Wild and Ferocious Plants

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