Skip to product information
1 of 6


Black Coyote by Russell Hartenberger

Black Coyote by Russell Hartenberger

Regular price $32.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $32.00 USD
Sale Sold out

Black Coyote is a multi-percussion solo by Russell Hartenberger scored for two suspended cymbals, bongos, two tom toms, and a small, muted bass drum. The work was commissioned by and is dedicated to Morris Palter and is the first work of Hartenberger's to be published via Liquidrum Publishing.

Program notes from the composer about the work:

Black Coyote is a translation of the name of Arapaho Chief Wa-ton-gha. The Oklahoma town of Watonga lies within the former Cheyenne-Arapaho Reservation that was opened for non-Indian settlement in the land run of April 19, 1892. Watonga was named for Chief Wa-ton-gha and is the town where I was born and lived until I was nearly seven years old.

Black Coyote represents a return to my roots on several levels. In addition to the connection to my birthplace, the piece is a return to solo multi-percussion composing and performing for me. My first composition was a multi-percussion solo with similar instrumentation to Black Coyote; it was a lesson assignment from one of my percussion teachers, Tom Gauger, when I was fifteen. Mr. Gauger encouraged his students to compose just as he was inspired by his teacher Paul Price, an early champion of composition for percussion.

In my first year as a student at the Curtis Institute, I performed Stravinsky’s L’Histoire du Soldat. It was the first chamber piece I played that used a multi-percussion set-up, and I have since performed it many times. It is still my favorite chamber work that includes percussion, and there are several references to the L’Histoire percussion part in Black Coyote.

I also use some non-Western rhythmic elements in Black Coyote. There are some structural techniques borrowed from South Indian rhythmic theory that were taught to me by Ramnad V. Raghavan and Trichy Sankaran. There are also West African rhythms and techniques that I learned from the great Ghanaian master drummer, Abraham Adzenyah. The tempo changes are inspired by the beautiful tempo variations in gamelan music that I learned while playing in a Javanese gamelan directed by Prawotosaputro — Russell Hartenberger.

Cover Design by Bonnie Sheckter

Total duration is ca. 10 minutes.

Instrumentation (multi-percussion solo):

  • 2 suspended cymbals
  • Bongos
  • 2 Tom Toms
  • Small bass drum (muted)

Specs: Score format, 11h x 8.5w, 12 pages, Advanced level.

About the Composer:

Russell Hartenberger is Professor Emeritus and former Dean of the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto. He has been a member of both Nexus and Steve Reich & Musicians since 1971. As a member of Nexus, he created the soundtrack for the Academy Award winning Full-Length Documentary, The Man Who Skied Down Everest. With Steve Reich and Musicians, he performed on the Grammy Award winning recording of Music for 18 Musicians.  He is author of the book Performance Practice in the Music of Steve Reich, editor of The Cambridge Companion to Percussion, and co-editor of The Cambridge Companion to Rhythm. His awards include the Toronto Arts Award in 1989, Banff Centre for the Arts National Award in 1997, a Juno nomination in 2005, and was inducted into the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame in 1999. He was presented with the Leonardo da Vinci World Award of Arts by the World Cultural Council in 2017. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Toronto Musicians’ Association in 2019 and the Lifetime Achievement in Education Award by the Percussive Arts Society in 2020.

View full details