Composer Spotlight | Lukas Ligeti Works for Percussion


Born in Vienna, Lukas Ligeti arrived in the U.S. in the mid-90s living and working primarily in New York City until 2015. Ligeti studied composition at the university of music and performing arts in Vienna, Austria; holds a Ph.D. from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. Ligetie served on the faculty of UC Irvine, teaching in the PhD program ‘Integrated Composition, Improvisation and Technology’, and is now an Extraordinary Professor (Distinguished Visiting Professor) at the University of Pretoria.

Ligeti has been commissioned by ensembles around the world such as Bang on a Can, the Kronos Quartet, Ensemble Modern, Eighth Blackbird, Amadinda Percussion Group, the American Composers Orchestra, the MDR Orchestra, the Vienna Festwochen, and Armitage Gone! Dance. His works have been performed by the Orchestre National de Lyon, London Sinfonietta, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, and others worldwide. As a drummer, he has worked with luminaries such as John Zorn, Marilyn Crispell, Gary Lucas, John Tchicai, Michael Manring, and Tarek Atoui, and he co-leads the trio Hypercolor as well. He has given solo concerts on four continents, performing on the Marimba Lumina, a MIDI controller designed by Don Buchla. A pioneer in the field of experimental intercultural collaboration, he co-leads Burkina Electric, the first electronica band from Burkina Faso; and he has collaborated with traditional musicians from such countries as Côte d’Ivoire, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, Uganda, Kenya, Egypt, and India.

Solo Works

Thinking Songs
For marimba solo (2015), 28′

Premiered on June 14, 2015, Roulette, Brooklyn, NY

Conceivably Infinite 
Drum set solo (2018), 8′

Commissioned by Ian Ding
Premiere: September 2016, Constellation, Chicago, IL, Ian Ding

Duo/Ensemble Works

Lakoni in Kazonnde
For two drum-sets (2013) 7′

Commissioned by Ben Reimer and David Cossin
Premiere: June 16, 2013, Bang On A Can Marathon, Michael Schimmel Theater, Pace University, New York, NY; Ben Reimer and David Cossin.

Pattern Transformation
for 4 players on 2 marimbas(1988), 5′

Premiere: March 1990, Lange Nacht der neuen Klänge, Konzerthaus, Vienna, Austria; Amadinda Percussion Group
Subsequently performed by Kroumata (Sweden), So Percussion, Sandbox Percussion Group, Third Coast Percussion Group (USA), Synergy Percussion (Australia), and many others

for percussion quartet(2003), 13′

Commissioned by Studio Percussion Graz
Premiere: October 22, 2003, Festival Musica Contemporanea, Bolzano, Italy; Studio Percussion Graz

Mamelles (or Marels) 
for percussion quartet (2014), 3′

Based on the text “Marelles” from “Zig Bang” by Georges Aperghis. Commissioned by Architek Percussion.
Premiere: March 1, 2014, Cluster Festival, Winnipeg, Canada; Architek Percussion

Omaggio a Shenandoah & Domenico Scarlatti
For two marimbas. (2002), 2′

Originally a piece for fixed-media electronics as the 2nd movement of “Mystery System” commissioned by choreographer Bettina Essaka; then arranged for 2 marimbas. Premiered April 20, 2006, Festpielhaus, St. Pölten, Austria; Österreichisches Ensemble für zeitgenössische Musik

The Calm Before…
for three percussionists (2015), 3′

Written for Composers Concordance
Premiere: June 14, 2015, Roulette, Brooklyn, NY; New Jersey Percussion Ensemble

for percussion quartet (2002), c.17′

Commissioned by the Vienna Festwochen for the Amandinda Percussion Group 


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