I was honoured and delighted a few years ago when Zildjian approached me to be part of a new venture for them called the ‘Artist in Residence’. I have been with Zildjian for almost 20 years, and it has been one of the great joys of my professional career to be involved with such a fantastic company. It’s been a completely humbling experience in that so many of my musical heroes have also been associated with Zildjian, but being made to feel part of ‘the family’ is something everybody at Zildjian genuinely makes you feel!
My ‘Artist in Residence’ objective was to quite simply get to as many different conservatoires and percussion events around the world and talk about the role of the cymbal player and cymbals in general in a modern day symphony orchestra. Craigie and Keith gave me a free reign to conduct the master classes/ seminars’ in whatever way I felt appropriate, and then Anders came on board to provide an unprecedented and comprehensive range of orchestral cymbals at each venue.
So far this has included Copenhagen at the Royal Conservatoire with my Gert Mortensen, Stockholm, RSAMD with Kurt Goedicke, Munich with Peter Sadlo, Stuttgart with Marta Klimasara, MSM with Eric Charlston, Royal Academy of Music with Keith Aleo and Steve Quigley, and Perkumania with Freddie Macarez.
Each event has not only included students from that particular Conservatoire, but also many local professional players from the cities we have visited who took the time and trouble to come and listen and try cymbals for themselves. It has been a wonderful experience for me to essentially just share my ideas and thoughts on cymbal playing with open minded musicians, who even when they haven’t necessarily agreed with me about certain issues, have been ‘big’ enough to try sometimes radically different techniques.
For that I’m extremely grateful. At the end of the day, its’ all about the sound and specifically the quality of the sound you make that’s important. I am so looking forward to our future classes and have to thank enormously Keith and Anders for all their amazing work, and Craigie for the opportunity to take this concept and ‘run with it’!
— Neil Percy