Due to the urgent need for well-written, fun to play and artistically important percussion music, Paul Cameron (Professor of Percussion at the Royal Military School of Music, Kneller Hall) and Evelyn Glennie invited me to speak on percussion composition on the occasion of this .first national award for percussion composition. Paul Cameron has been developing the creative process and discipline of writing for percussion with his pupils at Knell er Hall for some time now, encouraging a new generation of players, conductors, arrangers and composers with a deeper knowledge of percussion as a medium for musical expression.
The award encouraged music from a range of age groups which included players from brass bands, concert wind bands, orchestras, the military, schools and soloists etc, and the brief was accordingly wide to include every kind of percussion sound from Latin and ethnic to electronic. Its aim was to try to launch major new music for percussion, bearing in mind that, in the twentieth century, the percussion family has gone from being an afterthought to one of the most important groups of instruments in every area of music. And the terms of reference for the award were deliberately broad, giving no specification for the use of particular instruments or numbers of performers.
After I had given my talk, the rest of the day was given over to premiere performances of award entries, percussion workshops and other performances by professional ensembles. The whole event was a great success and I feel sure that the Evelyn Glennie Award will become the major percussion event of the year and will establish a real forum for percussion composition in the future.