DeFotis, William- Variation for piano and percussion

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Includes two scores.

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Review from Percussive Notes (2021):

William DeFotis

Written in 1973 for Kathleen and Allen Otte, this piece explores percussion and piano inter- plays, blends sonic textures, and presents rhythmic and melodic juxtapositions typically found in art music of the early 1970s. Throughout the six to nine minutes of performance time, this piece shifts between moments of solo multiple-percussion gestures, sparse conversation-like gesticulations, and phrases of duo rhythmic synchronization.   


American composer William DeFotis studied with Herbert Brün, Ben Johnston, and Morgan Powell, and worked in close collaboration with Allen Otte. These musical connections and influences shine through in “Variations,” as much of the melodic and harmonic material relies on cluster chords, displaced major 7ths, and extreme octave separation of select musical figures. Radical shifts in dynamic presentations are prominent throughout and serve to drive the dramatic narrative of the work.   


The percussionist will need to be able to shift rapidly between four-note chords, have great communication skills with a pianist, and be comfortable with performing long phrase lines with limited musical material, like a snare drum roll. This piece is a perfect exploration of the combination of multiple-percussion and chamber music, all with the 1970s flair.   

—Joshua D. Smith