Post PASIC Report - Part 1

I've finally seemed to catch up from my 4 days at PASIC in Austin, Texas. It was fun, intense, and seemed to go by extremely fast. Austin itself was a great town. The weather was warm, the people friendly, and the food excellent. My main reason for going was to present a session on Friday on The Healing Sounds of Gongs & Singing Bowls.

Yes, a Health & Wellness clinic

My session was 50 minutes long—how do you begin to even scratch the surface of something like Gongs & Singing Bowls in that amount of time? But I did my best to give an overview of my philosophy, what I do, and to take some questions. When you do a session like mine, under the heading of "Health & Wellness," you never know how many people will show up. You could have a room of 3 people, or hundreds (mine was somewhere in the middle). And the rooms don't fill up until the very last minute before they start because people are coming from other sessions scattered throughout the convention center. So I was relieved that my session was well attended, with people of all ages and academic types. They paid attention (although I think I was talking too fast) and asked great questions. I had a great time, but it seemed like just 10 minutes (couldn't we just go all day? Please?). So I made some new friends and new connections, and got to talk about and play Gongs. Now what could be better than that?

My minimal set up

The nice thing is that I only brought one Singing Bowl and stick with me. I need to thank Paiste & Mike Balter for providing Gongs & mallets. The Gongs I used were a very nice sounding 26" Symphonic (which a new friend from Japan bought), and a 28" Jupiter, along with Sound Plate #4 (which I forgot to use because, well, 50 minutes went by so fast…). I picked up a bunch of mallets at the Balter booth, including their excellent new Rollers. So thanks again to all for their continuing support!

The other big reason I wanted to go this year was the Focus Day celebration of John Cage's percussion music. As part of the ongoing 100th Birthday Celebrations of Cage this year, PASIC featured a wide variety of performers presenting some of the major works in the percussion repertoire. It's rare to be able to hear one of Cage's percussion works live, so being able to hear most of his percussion works in the course of 2 days was astounding. I attended almost all the Cage sessions and heard:

Double Music (in collaboration with Lou Harrison)
3rd Construction [a totally amazing performance!]
Credo In US [also amazing]
Imaginary Landscape no. 1, 2, & 3
Water Walk: for solo television performer
Imaginary Landscape no. 2 (by different performers than the first one)
10'26.802" for a Speaking Percussionist
Music for Four
26 of 50
Dance Music for Elfrid Ide
The City Wears a Slouch Hat [performed by NEXUS no less!]

WHEW!!! There were also some adaptations of Cage works. It was quite amazing and worth spending Wednesday night and most of Thursday attending the concerts.

Allen Otte of Percussion Group Cincinatti


I also managed to see some great drum set performers, marimba players, and my friend Brad Dutz playing some amazing bones. Another great part of PASIC is the manufacturer's exhibition, where you can see and try out the latest gear. I'll get to that in part 2.

~ MB

Addendum: Here are 2 blog posts explaining more about the Cage Sessions -

1st, from Bill Salack of the PAS New Music committee, who helped put the programs on. Post-PASIC Update

2nd, from Chris Shultis, who presented the lecture The Process of Discovery: Interpreting Child of Tree


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