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Remembering Composer Jan Bach in the Spotlight - first concerto ever written for steelpan

Composer Jan Bach
and the Steelpan
The first concerto ever written for steelpan and orchestra

Illinois, USA - “Concerto for Steelpan and Orchestra” - the work of composer and educator Dr. Jan Bach of Northern Illinois University (NIU) - was most recently performed by NIU baccalaureate and soon to be Masters candidate, panist Mia Gormandy. Originally written for then student, world-renowned panist Liam Teague (and now-Assistant Professor of Steel Pan and co-director of NIU’s steelband) back in 1994, it has since been performed throughout the USA and as far afield as Prague, capital of the Czech Republic.

Dr. Bach has taught at NIU for almost forty years, and has under his belt a comprehensive body of work written for nearly every acoustic instrument and/or ensemble, including eight or nine solo concertos with orchestra and five brass quintets. He has since additionally penned the thirty-minute “Songs of the Streetwise,” for choir, soloists, and a small steelband with percussion, based on poems by Chicago’s homeless people. This illustrious and innovative musician/educator shares with When Steel Talks the impetus behind his initial involvement with the steelpan, and his overall thoughts on the movement to date.
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Does anyone know the name of the "Chicago Tribune music critic who said that he can probably play the instrument faster “than anybody can play anything”? Just wondering...


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