Stephen Montague grew up in Idaho, West Virginia and Florida. He studied piano, conducting and composition at Florida State University (1963-67), received a doctorate in composition from Ohio State University (1972) and won a Fulbright Fellowship to work in Warsaw, Poland (1972-74). He first came to England as a musician with Strider Dance Co. (Richard Alston & co.), but since 1975 has worked as a freelance composer based in London and touring worldwide. His music has been widely performed, featuring in numerous international festivals, most recently at the BBC Proms (Royal Albert Hall, London), Sounds New (Canterbury), Wiener Musik Tage (Vienna), and Festival of Contemporary Music (Mexico City). Composer Portrait concerts devoted to his music have been given in London, Cambridge, New York, Houston, Mexico City, Vienna and Budapest. Major commissions include the BBC Proms, Portsmouth Cathedral (UK), Calgary Philharmonic (Canada), Hilliard Ensemble, International Computer Music Association, and a 35-minute work for narrator and orchestra for the London Symphony Orchestra. In addition to writing for traditional orchestral forces Montague has also written numerous more ‘experimental’ works such as his Horn Concerto for klaxon horn soloist and an orchestra of automobiles, and a concerto for piano, 8 motorcycles, brass and percussion. Although a long term UK resident, his compositional influences are often transatlantic. Stephen Montague was a founder (1980) of Sonic Arts Network, Concert Director (1983-87) and Chair; Chair and Artistic Director of the SPNM (Society for the Promotion of New Music) 1993-98; Associate Composer with The Orchestra of St Johns, London (1995-97); Featured Composer: City of Oxford (1997-98); Artistic Director of Contemporary Music Making for All (2004-05); and the New Music Associate at Kettle’s Yard Gallery and Museum, Cambridge (2010-12), where he curates a monthly concert series. Internationally Montague has been a Guest Professor at the University of Texas – Austin in 1992, 1995, 2000 and the University of Auckland, New Zealand,1997. Since 2007 he has taught part time at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance (London).
Composition timpani and percussion requirements
At the White Edge of Phrygia
No Timpani + 3 percussion, plus prepared piano
Percussion 1) 5 temple blocks, 2 woodblocks (small and medium at different pitches approx. a 4th apart), sizzle cymbal, maracas with thin shells to give a sharp attack (a different size and timbre from those used by Percussion 3), 1 small triangle, suspended cymbal medium, bass bow, suspended cymbal large, tam tam 32” (shared with Percussion 2), 5 tom toms (shared with Percussion 2), orchestral bass drum (shared with Percussion 2), 2 octaves crotales
Percussion 2) 5 roto toms (46cm/18”, 41cm/16”, 36cm/14”, 26cm/10”, 20cm/8”), sandpaper blocks, tam tam (shared with Percussion 1), suspended cymbal medium, suspended cymbal large, bass bow, triangle, 1 large metal wash tub, 5 tin cans (high to low), large orchestral bass drum, xylophone (shared with Percussion 3)
Percussion 3) sizzle cymbal, 2 sets of maracas, marimba, 2 octaves crotales (shared by Percussion 1), xylophone (shared by Percussion 2), 5 large wood blocks (high to low pitches), sandpaper blocks, suspended cymbal medium (shared by Percussion 2), suspended cymbal large (shared by percussion 2), tam tam (shared by Percussion 2)
1st Group (2 players): tubular bells, sports whistle, woodblocks, castanets, tambourine, wine glasses (assorted random pitches), a large CO2 funnel fire extinguisher
2nd Group (2 players):. cymbals (high and low), sizzle cymbal, 2 to 4 wine glasses (random pitches), woodblocks, claves, guiro.
3rd Group (1-2 players): tam tam, sports whistle, 2 or more wine glasses (random pitches)
1st Group (1 player): 3 tom toms (high, medium, low), wine glass (any pitch)
2nd Group (2 or more players): 3 tom toms (high medium low), 3 or more wine glasses (random pitches)
3rd Group (1-2 players): 4th Group (1 player): a mixture of small to large drums (toms, roto toms, bongos, timbales, conga, military, side drum, etc.), 1 – 2 wine glasses (random pitches), claves
1st Group (2 or more players): woodblocks (all different pitches), 2 or more wine glasses (random pitches), tambourines, air raid siren(s)
2nd Group (2 or more players): claves, guiros, 2 or more wine glasses (random pitches), miscellaneous small percussion. medium size bass drum, sports whistle, triangle, miscellaneous small percussion
3rd Group (2 players): 3 timpani, sports whistle, 2 or more wine glasses (random pitches), guiro, CO2 Fire extinguisher. large bass drum, cabassa
Eight to ten members of the chorus should play small, hand held percussion instruments and/or 2 to 5 wine glasses. The numbers and variety of percussion instruments are flexible.
3 Radios) Each of the ‘radio’ (CD player) performers should also play different sized ratchets
No Timpani + four drummers (in the 4 corners of the space)
Drummer 1) orchestral bass drum, tam tam, large suspended cymbal, triangle, drummer 2) smaller orchestral bass drum, medium/large suspended cymbal, triangle, drummer 3) large tom tom, medium suspended cymbal, triangle, drummer 4) medium tom tom, small suspended cymbal, high triangle
Triangles with upper strings) 30 to 40 or more triangles (of varying pitches, standing in a large arch or randomly around the space, balconies, etc.) with 20 to 40 or more violins and violas (interwoven amongst the triangles)