There is a section of the orchestra that is not always in the same place. Sometimes they are up, sometimes down. Sometimes they sit on stage for a half hour before they play a single note. But when it’s their turn, you definitely hear them: it’s the percussion section.
When it comes to noticeable and profound moments for the percussion section, and the timpanist in particular, it’s tough to beat the opening of Strauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra. Host Colleen Phelps speaks to Nashville Symphony timpanist Joshua Hickman about making the most of these exciting moments. Plus, what it’s like to make it through the famously rigorous orchestral audition process, as well as life in the back of the orchestra.
The day the podcast episode was recorded the symphony had just confirmed with Hickman that in the 2018-2019 season they would be performing Frank Martin’s Concerto for Seven Winds, Strings and Timpani. At the time we discussed it off the record, but the week of the performance the symphony released a short video where he spoke about the Martin, and showcased the timpani themselves.
To hear the full interview with timpanist Joshua Hickman, be sure to subscribe to Classically Speaking wherever you get your podcasts.