People - Percussion Studies

Percussion Faculty: Sean Statser


  • It's Mutual - Conrad Winslow
  • Commissioned and recorded by Sean Statser at NYU's James Dolan Studios

  • "In 'It's Mutual,' a marimba soloist leads a trio of percussionists, performing mostly on unpitched wood and skin instruments, through a series of volatile textures and rhythms. The material in the other percussion instruments often reflects the music of the marimba, but only in general, up-and-down, loud-soft contours.

    I wrote this piece with the idiomatic marimba techniques I love. Because the marimba notes decay so quickly, I prefer harmonic progression by suggestion and arpeggiation over insistent, rolled four-note chords. Marimba notes have a characteristic and beautiful attack, so I use uneven groups of repeated notes punctuated by strong accents throughout the piece. Grand, five-octave marimbas also have a unique property: the lowest notes produce more than one tone. They sound the fundamental deep pitch, but they also produce a clear tone much higher than the actual pitch of the rosewood bar - an overtone.

    With this attribute in mind, I wrote melodies in the middle part of the piece that chain together the actual high pitches with the overtones of the low pitches. This delicate section then gives way to exuberant music, clangorous at the climax, before closing as it began, with the marimba alone."

  •  - Conrad Winslow

Performer, composer, and educator Sean Statser (b. 1983) has been called "Lithe, muscular, and mesmerizing" by the New York Times. As an advocate for new music, Mr. Statser actively collaborates with several New York City artists and ensembles including: the Grammy-nominated Metropolis Ensemble, Ensemble LPR, Cadillac Moon Ensemble, Syzygy New Music, Blind Ear Music, Ensemble Moto Perpetuo, and is a founding member of NoiseBox. He has premiered over 50 works to date by composers Jason Treuting, Timothy Andres, Caleb Burhans, Kati Agocs, Vivian Fung, Angelica Negron, John Luther Adams (NY Premiere) and Elliot Carter (NY Premiere), among others.

He has performed with the American Symphony Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, and Queens Symphony Orchestra as a section percussionist, and has appeared at several venues around New York City including: Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Symphony Space, Fisher Center at Bard College, Galapagos Art Space, (Le) Poisson Rouge, and Roulette. Sean has also appeared at the Alba Music Festival, In Tune Music Festival, Ecstatic Festival, three appearances at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (2007, 2008, 2010), and recently performed with Metropolis Ensemble as part of Lincoln Center’s Out of Doors Festival, under the baton of Maestro Tan Dun.

Sean has recorded with a variety of artists, such as: jazz pianist Kenny Werner (No Beginning, No End - Winner of the 2010 Guggenheim Award), Metropolis Ensemble, Harold Farberman, and Cadillac Moon Ensemble. He has appeared on Naxos, Nonesuch, Orange Mountain Music, Innova Records, Half Note Records, Albany Records and New Dynamic Records. Also active as a composer and arranger, his compositions are available through Bachovich Music Publications.

He received his MM in Instrumental Performance from NYU and holds a BA in Music Performance from Fort Lewis College, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. His teachers include Jonathan Haas, Simon Boyar, Josh Quillen, and John Pennington. Upon graduating in 2010, Mr. Statser joined the Percussion Studies faculty at New York University. In addition, he serves as Coordinator for the NYU Steinhardt Broadway Percussion Seminar/Summit.