Kendall Williams

Composers OutFront: Pan in Motion with Kendall Williams

Wednesday, Oct 29, 2014 at 7:30pm

Kendall WilliamsFrederick Loewe Theatre
New York University
35 W 4th St, NYC


ACO will present composer-steel pan player Kendall Williams in a Composers OutFront! concert Wednesday, October 29, 2014 at 7:30PM, The Frederick Loewe Theatre, NYU. Composers OutFront! puts composers onstage, bringing audiences closer to the creative process. Admission is free; online reservations accepted.

Pan in Motion features works for steel drums (or pans) by Williams. His pieces display the versatility of the steel pan, an instrument born out of Trinidad and Tobago, which is one of the newest acoustical instruments to be incorporated into Caribbean, contemporary classical, and expressive jazz movements. The concert will include three steel pan bands – the NYU Steel Band performing the world premiere of Kendall Williams’ Rehearsals, plus calypsonian Lord Nelson’s Ah Goin’ an Party Tonight adapted by Williams; Crossfire Steel Orchestra in Big in De Dance, a calypso tune by Brian Griffith arranged by Williams which promotes women and their changing role, plus Williams’ Afro Confusion and Misconception; and Brooklyn Steel Orchestra performing Williams’ Midnight Breeze. Minerva Johnson and Kendall Williams will also perform Williams’ duo, 4 Sticks, a Trumpet, and a Mute.

Kendall Williams is ACO’s Van Lier Emerging Composer Fellow for 2013-2014. The fellowship is made possible by the Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund and Musical Arts Fund of the New York Community Trust. The Fellowship offers a comprehensive and multi-faceted program that helps equip emerging composers with the full range of professional skills and tools necessary for building a successful career as a composer of orchestral music. Young composers have the opportunity to work with ACO artistic and administrative leadership to hone their professional skills; participate in planning, educational activities and performances; serve as liaison with student composers, and enhance their professional careers by immersing themselves in the professional environment of ACO, over the course of an entire season. The fellowship is designed to provide a career-development bridge between a young composer’s training at the University or Conservatory and the world of the professional orchestra. This concert represents the
culmination of Williams’ fellowship.

Program Includes:

Rehearsals is a composition that depicts one aspect of how individuals in a steel ensemble might rehearse before formally rehearsing with one another. World Premiere

MisConception was composed from an existing composition called Conception previously composed by Kendall Williams. The Mis in MisConception represents “missed” as in lost or dismissed.

Afro-Confusion was composed back in the Fall semester of 2010 at NYU, intended for a Saxophone Quartet. The piece was composed based on an Afro Cuban clave in 6/8.

4 Sticks, a Trumpet, and a Mute a short duet composed for Pan and Trumpet. It is also part of a combination of short pieces composed for solo pan and duo combinations that each includes Pan.

Ah Goin’ an Party Tonight was composed by Lord Nelson a calypsonian from Trinidad and Tobago. This calypso tune was made popular by him and the late Clive Bradley, a steel band arranger from Trinidad and Tobago. I adapted it for steel band in an interpretation of classical form.

Big in De Dance is a calypso tune composed for steel bands to perform, promoting women and the changing role they’ve had over the years.
Composed By Brian Griffith 
Arranged By Kendall Williams

About Kendall Williams

Having been born around the Trinidadian culture, Kendall Williams has adopted the country’s national instrument, the steel pan. From as early as the age of four, Williams made efforts to mimic his parents as they displayed their talents in a Miami-based steel band. It wasn’t long before his efforts turned into a reality as he developed his skills and passion for the instrument. As he got older his passion brought out a connection to music and he was able to perform with large, world-renowned steel bands in Trinidad and Tobago as well as bands in the New York based scene for years and counting. He took things a step further when he graduated from Florida Memorial University with a B.A. in Music under the direction of Dr. Dawn Batson, with his main instrument being the steel pan. He continued to further his studies at NYU Steinhardt, where he pursued a Masters of Music Degree in Music Theory & Composition, studying with Julia Wolfe, Michael Gordon, and Rich Shemaria. There he was also active in the NYU Steel band under the leadership of Josh Quillen. As he moved closer to graduating, his goals included composing and arranging music that can further showcase the steel pan for the virtuous instrument it is, while bringing his unique style to more conventional instruments. Now that he has graduated he aggressively pursues a career as a composer, arranger, and advocate for the steel pan instrument. He works to open peoples’ minds to the possibilities steel pan can offer the world by showing the instrument’s tremendous versatility.

About NYU Steel Band

NYU Steel emphasizes an artistically and culturally diverse array of performance styles that break with traditional boundaries surrounding the esoteric genre of steel pan music. NYU Steel seeks to create a bond between artist and audience that warrants an environment of creativity and community. With a hunger for innovation and desire to explore all the possibilities of steel pan music, NYU Steel has created the most unique ensemble of its kind, drawing from the rich cultural sounds of the Caribbean while incorporating the works of prominent composers such as Philip Glass in order to gain the instrument prominence on the world stage. As part of a global initiative instituted in collaboration with New York University, NYU Steel is constantly pursuing ways to reach audiences in an international scope, driving to cultivate a niche in the world stage. At the same time, NYU Steel continues to nurture relationships with the local community, intent on becoming leaders in education, performance, and creativity.

About Crossfire Steel Orchestra

Located in the heart of East Flatbush, Brooklyn, New York, Crossfire Steel Orchestra, Inc. aims to create a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic program to educate young people of Caribbean and Non-Caribbean backgrounds about the Steel Pan art form. Founded by Martin Douglas in the fall of 1999, Crossfire Steel Orchestra is committed to positively impacting the character of our community’s youth, develop their self-esteem and pass on the tradition of achievement and success. The ultimate goal of this organization is to create an environment that fosters outstanding citizenship within our community and in turn, the nation.

The Orchestra has performed throughout the Tri-State Area and various parts of the United States, including a standout performance at “The Inauguration of New Bishops” at St. John the Divine Cathedral in Manhattan, New York. They are also constant participants in New York’s annual West Indian-American Day Carnival (WIADCA), placing 1st in the carnival’s “Best Playing Band” 2001 Jouvert competition with a winning piece arranged by one of Crossfire’s young members, Sundiata King.

ACO’s Van Lier Emerging Composer Fellowship is made possible by the Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund and Musical Arts Fund of the New York Community Trust.



October 29, 2014
7:30 PM
Reserve Tickets Frederick Loewe Theatre @ NYU
35 West 4th Street
New York, NY