For trombone quartet, and percussion quartet.

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A workout for trombone quartet and percussion quartet 

duration: 13′ 


“CrossFit” is an exploration of different ways to workout the trombone quartet and percussion quartet, much as if one were to wander around a gym, alternating different ways to exercise. But in this case, it’s also an exercise in fitting two ensembles together that normally would not perform as one complete ensemble. 

The first movement – “Training Partners” – pairs up each trombonist with a small percussion instrument (or instruments).
The instruments were chosen by the members of the premiering trombone quartet, after having been asked by the composer.
Ideally, each duo would be spread about the performing space to some degree (although ensemble precision should remain a priority). If spread around the audience, it is suggested that a conductor be used – in the center – just for this movement.
Another option might be to try different pairings, or to even let the audience decide. (If this were chosen, the percussionists would simply play the same 24 bar material + 4 bar interlude at a different letter so as to correspond with the appropriate trombone. All would then play H to the end as written. 

The 2nd movement – “Rest” – is, of course, a relaxing movement. The ideal setup would be to have the two marimbas placed next to each other on a platform (riser), with the trombone quartet seated in a line in front of the platform. This should still allow for execution of the off-stage trombone with no problem. 

The 3rd movement – “Interval Training” – represents a workout in many sprints, separated by a bit of rest each time (drum set). The repeated sections also are written with different intervals used (5ths, 4ths, 3rds, 2nds, octaves), so as to further explore “interval” training. 

Altogether, “CrossFit” is intended as a fun yet serious concert piece that challenges the performers to reach new personal bests, just as an actual workout might. 

“CrossFit” was commissioned by Glenn Williams for his son’s senior trombone recital at the Blair School of Music at Vanderbilt University. 

The individuals listed below also contributed to the commission. I am grateful to Glenn, and to all those who helped bring this piece into existence!  

Joseph Awad – Nashville, TN
David Begnoche – Texas Christian University
Ray Conklin – Murray State University
Catie Hickey – Eastman Trombone Workshop
Eric Hollenbeck – Colorado State University
Debbie Katz Knowles – Lake Forest College
Martin McCain – Texas State University
Bradley Palmer – Columbus State University
Dee Stewart – Indiana University (retired)
Chris VanHof – Colorado State University
Irvin Wagner – Oklahoma University
Jeremy Wilson – Vanderbilt University

Jim Stephenson ~ March 17, 2017

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