• Drum Set and Percussion Setups from Musical Theater and More

Nick Bonaccio - Little Threepenny Music

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Nick’s setup for Kurt Weill’s Little Threepenny Music (suite from Threepenny Opera) with the Eastman Wind Ensemble in Kilbourn Hall with guest conductor Charles Peltz of the New England Conservatory.

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“The piece has a great 20’s jazz feel and I wanted to reflect this in my choice of instruments. To this end, I put together a ‘trap kit’ of both vintage and modern components that ended up working great! The setup consisted of:

Deagan 1590 glockenspiel
12” Chinese tom
14”x5” Ludwig & Ludwig ‘Super Ludwig’ snare drum w/calfskin head (1920s)
26”x12” WFL bass drum w/calfskin heads (1930s)
Black Swamp Percussion woodblock
12” Avedis Zildjian ‘First Stamp’ cymbal (1920s)
17” Zildjian Classic Orchestra suspended cymbal
14”x14” Yamaha floor tom

This concert of smaller works for wind ensemble also included the Varese Octandre and a transcription of the Hindemith Tuba Sonata by Eastman Wind Ensemble conductor Mark Scatterday. Mr. Peltz’s enthusiasm for the music on the program really helped take everybody’s playing to the next level, both in rehearsal and performance, making for a truly memorable concert.”

If you’re interested in vintage percussion and percussion restoration don’t miss Nick’s blog. And here’s Nick’s Facebook page Bonaccio Percussion

Photos below are from the rehearsal. “The setup went through a few changes during the rehearsal process.”

Nick’s bio.

Vermont native Nick Bonaccio is a Chicago-based percussionist and instrument builder. A versatile musician, Nick has performed with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, the Eastman Philharmonia, Wind Ensemble, and Percussion Ensemble, as well as the Ossia New Music Ensemble, the Lyric Theatre Company of Burlington, VT, and the Middlebury Opera Company. Mr. Bonaccio made his solo debut at age 17, performing the finale of Joseph Schwantner’s Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra with the Vermont Youth Orchestra on NPR’s From the Top radio broadcast.

Nick earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY where he was also awarded the school’s coveted Performer’s Certificate. Highlights of Nick’s time at Eastman include performing John Cage’s monumental Third Construction with the Eastman Percussion Ensemble at the 2013 Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Indianapolis, playing timpani in the Eastman Philharmonia’s February 2014 concert featuring soloist Itzhak Perlman, and recording the music of Jeff Tyzik for an Eastman Wind Ensemble album to be released in 2015. At Eastman Nick studied with Michael Burritt, Charles Ross, and William Cahn with additional orchestral studies with Jacob Nissly, Rich Thompson on drum set, and Howard Potter on jazz vibraphone.

An avid collector of antique percussion instruments, Mr. Bonaccio’s passion for restoration and refurbishment has led to a close working relationship with renowned instrument builders Bill Youhass and Richard Byers of Fall Creek Marimbas. Taking great pride in bringing instruments from a state of disrepair to concert-hall quality, Nick is currently busy with the ground-up fabrication of a frame for a set of 1910s Leedy glockenspiel bars and a 1920s Deagan “Drummer’s Special” xylophone. Other recent projects include the complete restoration of a 1916 Deagan 870 Professional xylophone from the golden age of vaudeville novelty music, the repair of an exceptionally rare Hinger Space-Tone snare drum, and a complete overhaul of an irreplaceable Deagan “Artist Special” xylophone from Mr. Youhass’ personal collection.

In addition to his restoration projects, Mr. Bonaccio produces a variety of percussion instruments and mallets of his own design used by musicians as far away as Amman, Jordan. Recent projects include a set of tuned woodblocks for Chicago-based percussion soloist Peter Ferry’s performance of Iannis Xenakis’ seminal work Rebonds B, as well as a variety of sticks, mallets, and percussion accessories. His prototype bronze triangles have been tested by musicians in the Cleveland Orchestra and the Rochester Philharmonic, and have been used in the Eastman Wind Ensemble, Philharmonia, and Percussion Ensemble.

Nick currently resides in Chicago, where he will begin work in the fall on a Master of Music degree at DePaul University, studying under Marc Damoulakis and David Herbert.


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11/7/18