Percussionist William Kraft master class, Oct. 27

By Blaze Benham

There’s no two ways about it ” William Kraft is a legend.

His reputation precedes him.

“Bill is one of the greats in the percussion world,” Cal Poly Pomona Music Professor Bill Schlitt said.

“He had been principle percussionist and timpanist for the Los Angeles Philharmonic in the 50s and 60s.”

The Percussion Master Class will take place from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., Oct. 27 in Building 24, room 105.

According to Schlitt, this event has had a very long history.

“This master class series, we started a little over 12 years ago.

It’s been a very successful series for us,” Schlitt said.

“It’s called Percussion in the Music Industry, and we’ve been able to bring in guest artists that run the gamut of percussion performance over the years to come, and talk about the different areas that their involved in.”

Famous people it seems, are a mainstay of this event.

Students from other schools frequently come to visit, as well.

“Over the years, we’ve invited students from other campuses and from outside the university to join us, and it’s just been a really great series,” Schlitt said.

“Last year for instance, we did a couple of master classes with Raynor Carroll who had just retired as the principle percussionist for the LA Philharmonic.

We’ve been very proud to have some notable people in the world of percussion with us,” Schlitt said

Since this event continues to be such a success, CPP students may notice a few changes this year.

In the past, the Percussion Master Class was only planned for one quarter every year.

However, this year, the series has been started earlier and will occur in the fall, winter and spring quarters.

“In the spring, we’re going to have the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, which is a very highly regarded percussion chamber music group from Los Angeles,” Schlitt said.

“In the winter, we haven’t yet picked the artist, but this fall we’re just lucky to have an opportunity to have William Kraft join us.”

Although Kraft is 94 years old, he’s just as vibrant as ever.

Hopefully, students will take the opportunity to study with such a consummate professional.

“We’ll sit down and have a conversation about his career, and have students get to know him a little bit better, as well as familiarize them with his accomplishments,” Schlitt said.

Kraft’s accomplishments go well beyond the world of percussion.

He’s a well-known composer as well.

“Not only has he been a great percussionist as a performer, but he’ll probably go down in history as a very notable composer, not just with percussion, although he’s done a lot of percussion composition, but with other instruments as well,” Schlitt said.

Kraft has also worked with some famous names, a feat very few musicians ever manage to accomplish.

“He recorded a very famous piece, ‘The Soldier’s Tale,’ by Igor Stravinsky, who is one of the most notable composers,” Schlitt said.

“It will be great to have him chat about that experience. He’s worked with Pierre Boulez, a very notable conductor/composer, as well as many others, so it will be great to sit down and chat with him.”

It would be a shame for the students of CPP to miss out on an event like this.

“It’s great to have a vehicle by which to invite the college community, and let them know about the opportunities that we try to make available for them,” Schlitt said.

Percussionist William Kraft

Courtesy of the Music Department

Percussionist William Kraft

Percussion students playing the timpani

Courtesy of the Music Department

Percussion students playing the timpani

This year, the series started earlier, occuring in the fall, winter and spring quarters

Courtesy of the Music Department

This year, the series started earlier, occuring in the fall, winter and spring quarters

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