Nathan Sherman (viola) and Alex Petcu (percussion) are two musicians who have a similar interest in contemporary music, working with composers and the creation of new music. The collaboration began with a number of performances of the seminal work, Naturale by Luciano Berio. Realising that the options were quite limited for this instrumental combination, the duo have commissioned a range of works, adding a substantial amount of repertoire for viola and percussion.
The duo’s debut album, Totemic, was released on the Ergodos label and features their first piece, Berio’s Naturale, as well as three newly commissioned works from Ian Wilson, Kate Moore and Benedict Schlepper-Connolly. Future projects include several more commissions based on Jung’s archetypes. These include pieces by Ann Cleare and Ben Dwyer among others, and plan is to create another album featuring these works.
Programme and performers
Ed Bennett Twister
Aine Mallon Arboreal
Kevin O’Connell Encuentro
Siobhan Cleary Scheherezade ‘The Art of the Trickster’
Nick Roth Sophia x Bythos
An Irish musician of Romanian origin, Alex is quickly establishing himself both nationally and internationally as a percussionist of the finest calibre. His debut album, “Alex Petcu: In Time”, released on the RTE lyric fm label, showcases both seminal works and new contributions to the percussion repertoire.
Alex performs in a wide variety of settings with a multitude of orchestras, ensembles and groups, however, his main specialty lies in solo and chamber music. As a soloist, recent appearances include performances at the West Cork Chamber Music Festival, Kilruddery House and National Concert Hall to name a few. He has performed as a soloist with both RTE orchestras and the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and had successes in major national and international competitions such as the Irish Freemasons Young Musician of the Year, Tromp and A.R.D. International competitions.
Alex enjoys being involved in the creation of new music for percussion and regularly collaborates with composers. Examples of recent projects include “Beats, Bells and Bridges” and the Abbey Theatre’s production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night, both collaborations with composer Tom Lane, “A Most Peculiar Wintry Thing”, a children’s show jointly commissioned by The Ark and Music Network with music composed by Brian Irvine and “Invitation to a Journey”, a dance/theatre/music collaboration with music by Deirdre Gribbin. He is a regular performer with the Crash and Hard Rain ensembles, two of Ireland’s main contemporary groups, and is a founding member of the Bangers and Crash Percussion Group, a new exciting percussion ensemble.
Alex also enjoys performing in an orchestral setting and is a regular extra player for the various professional ensembles in Ireland such as the RTE Symphony, RTE Concert, Irish Chamber, Irish Baroque and Ulster orchestras.
Aside from his performing activities, he is also a keen teacher and currently teaches percussion at the CIT Cork School of Music. He has also given lecture recitals at Ireland’s universities, provided workshops for West Cork Music’s “Tuning Up” outreach scheme, Music Network, the ESB and more. He also holds an MA in music performance from the CIT Cork School of Music and an MSc and BSc in Physics from University College Cork.
American-born violist Nathan Sherman has been based in Dublin since 1999 and enjoys a career collaborating with other adventurous musicians. His curiosity and eclecticism allows him to present work ranging from Schütz and Purcell, to experimenting with heavy metal and aquariums. Nathan is a tireless commissioner and his “commanding and assured” performances (Journal of Music) have brought him around the world.
As founding member and Artistic Director of the acclaimed chamber group Ficino Ensemble, Nathan performs a vast amount of music and has released two albums. Folk Songs included works by Luciano Berio and was described as “bewitching new interpretations by the Irish chamber group”. (Guardian) The album was included in the Guardian’s Top 10 of 2022 and best of Bandcamp’s contemporary classical. The group also enjoy creating opportunities for younger composers through their yearly workshop series.
Nathan has premiered over 100 works and his work has been presented on radio stations worldwide. Current projects include preparations for a new album with percussionist Alex Petcu. As a duo their fusion of unique sounds and performances have been described as “sheer perfection” (SOUND Scotland) and their debut album Totemic was given four stars in the Irish Times. In 2024, Nathan will record an album new music for viola and electronics and present it at New Music Dublin and in the USA. Nathan is member of Stone Drawn Circles, a new music group which will debut at HCMF.
Nathan regularly plays with the National Symphony Orchestra of Ireland, Irish Chamber Orchestra, Irish Baroque Orchestra, Crash Ensemble, and Evlana. In 2013, Nathan and his wife created the Offbeat Ensemble, a community orchestra in Dublin which regularly raises money to buy instruments for children.
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