for Percussion Sextet and Recording

Written: 1999-2000
Duration: 9'
Instrumentation: percussion sextet and recording (see score or video for instrumentation and specifications)
Partially funded by the American Music Center's Margartet Fairbank Jory Copying Assistance Grant.
World Premiere: Indiana Day of Percussion, Indiana University Percussion Ensemble, Butler University, April 1, 2000.
Other Selected Performances: Talujon, SUNY Purchase, Denver University, Indiana University, Ithaca College, Michigan State University, Syracuse University, Eastman School of Music, PAS Wisconsin Day of Percussion, Imagine Festival, Wichita State University, Western Michigan University, St. Olaf, College, Rowan University, Hofstra University.
PublisherBill Holab Music

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Although percussionists are often called upon to mimic the sounds of nature with their instruments, I think that nature, without question, provides the most exciting percussive sounds. In Stealing Thunder, I attempt to honor Mother Nature by appropriating (or stealing) recorded sounds of thunder and integrating them into the work. Each percussionist plays unique solo lines and motives. As the work progresses, the players take motives from one another and modify them. In effect, they are stealing each other’s thunder. The name "Stealing Thunder" is derived from the expression "to steal someone’s thunder," an expression that means to hinder or thwart someone.

In an abstract sense, this work is inspired by the great drum solos and styles of Gene Krupa, Buddy Rich, Tito Puente, Neil Peart and Billy Cobham. This work is also influenced by rudimentary drumming (i.e. "marching drumlines") and percussion technique books I used when I was younger, such as George Stone’s Accents and Rebounds.

Press Quotes

Rob is an extremely talented person. His work Stealing Thunder for percussion ensemble is one of the most interesting, challenging and rewarding new pieces for that ensemble. He is a specialist in the use of six mallets on marimba, and has written many fine pieces to demonstrate that skill. So not only is he a great composer, but a great marimbist and percussionist as well. And by the way, his website—which he designed and constructed himself —is one of the best I have ever seen. Check it out, along with his music!!!
— Gordon Stout, PAS Hall of Fame member, World-Famous Marimbist, Percussionist and Composer
Hi! Just wanted to remind you—in case you’d forgotten—that Stealing Thunder totally rocks! Congrats again on writing an exceedingly cool piece!
— Brian Robison, Winner of the American Composers Orchestra Whitaker Prize