Virtuoso timpanist Jonathan Haas has raised the status of the timpani to that of a solo instrument throughout his unique career that has spanned more than twenty-five years. From classical concertos to jazz and rock & roll, from symphonic masterpieces to the most experimental compositions of living composers, Haas has championed, commissioned, unearthed and celebrated music for his instrument, becoming, as Ovation magazine hailed him, "The Paganini of the timpani."
His concerts on the world's most prestigious musical stages and his ground-breaking recordings have delighted critics and listeners on both sides of the ocean. The New York Times wrote, "Wherever one finds a percussion instrument waiting to be rubbed, shook, struck or strummed, [Haas] is probably nearby, ready to fulfill his duties with consummate expertise ... he is a masterful percussionist."He has been profiled and reviewed over the years in the Los Angeles Times, Seattle Post Intelligencer, Sydney Morning Herald, Jerusalem Post, Newark Star Ledger, and many other newspapers and magazines as well as on radio and television. He was featured on NPR's Fresh AirDial-A-Musician, which introduced him as "The only solo virtuoso timpanist around, the superstar of the timpani." and on Classical Public Radio Network's Dial-A-Musician, which introduced him as "The only solo virtuoso timpanist around, the superstar of the timpani."
Haas has garnered widespread praise and attention for his performances of Philip Glass' Concerto Fantasy for Two Timpanists and Orchestra, a piece conceived by Haas and completed because of his quest to spotlight the timpani. The Concerto Fantasy features not only two timpanists, but also 14 timpani, all placed downstage in front of the orchestra. In 2000, Haas performed the world premiere of the piece with the American Symphony, and he has subsequently performed it at Carnegie Hall with the New York Pops, at the Ravinia Festival with the Chicago Symphony (James Conlon, conductor) and with the Seattle Symphony, St. Louis Symphony, Naples Philharmonic, Louisville Orchestra, Phoenix Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Pasadena Symphony, Long Beach (California) Symphony, Milwaukee Symphony and Mexico City's Orquesta Filarmonica de la Ciudad de Mexico. He performed the European premiere with the BBC Symphony in London, the French premiere with the Orchestre National de France, the Czechoslovakian premiere with the Prague Symphony Orchestra at the International Music Prague Spring Festival, the Norwegian premiere with the Bergen Philharmonic, the Australian premiere with the Sydney Symphony, the Turkish premiere with the Istanbul Philharmonic, and the Croatian premiere with the Croatian Radio Television Symphony Orchestra. The world premiere of a chamber orchestra version was presented with the Iris Chamber Orchestra in Memphis, and the world premiere of a wind ensemble version was performed in Baltimore at the Peabody Conservatory and subsequently at the University of Arizona. Glass' Orange Mountain Music label has released the Concerto Fantasy on its Concerto Project Vol. I CD featuring Haas and Evelyn Glennie as soloists.
Demonstrating a remarkable versatility as a musician, Haas has performed and recorded with Emerson, Lake and Palmer, played on the Grammy Award-winning recording Zappa's Universe, recorded with Aerosmith, Michael Bolton, Black Sabbath, and explored heavy metal with his rock group Clozshave.
Haas' successful efforts to expand the timpani repertoire have led him to commission and premiere more than 25 works by composers in addition to Philip Glass such as Stephen Albert, Marius Constant, Irwin Bazelon, Eric Ewazen, Thomas Hamilton, Robert Hall Lewis, Jean Piche, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Andrew Thomas, and many others.
Haas' recordings -- in addition to the Glass timpani concerto -- include the trail-blazing 18th Century Concertos for Timpani and Orchestra and Johnny H. and the Prisoners of Swing, both on Sunset Records. The latter was named for his jazz group and features innovative renderings of jazz compositions featuring "hot timpani" in front of a full jazz ensemble. His rediscovery of Duke Ellington's brilliant composition for jazz timpani, "Tympaturbably Blue," is included on this recording, as are other jazz standards played on a set of ten kettledrums.
For more information about Jonathan Haas go to http://www.aboutjonathanhaas.com