Oklahoma City University News
Percussion Journal Publishes Bass School Professors' Analysis
Two professors at the Bass School of Music at Oklahoma City University have co-authored a five-page article featured in the June issue of “Percussive Notes,” the journal of the Percussive Arts Society.
Dr. David Steffens, professor of percussion and director of OCU’s Percussion Ensemble, and Dr. Erik Heine, associate professor of music theory, joined forces for an analysis of various editions and recordings of Edgard Varèse’s “Ionisation,” one of the first compositions for percussion ensemble.
Heine, a scholar of cinematic scores, joined the OCU faculty in 2005. He has presented papers at national and international conferences, as well as regional papers concerning music theory and aural skills pedagogy.
Steffens is principal percussionist with the Oklahoma City Philharmonic and a past president of the Oklahoma chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. In 2009, he will perform with Lyric Theater in Oklahoma City and in symphonic
concerts with the Tulsa Symphony and Oklahoma City Philharmonic.
He authored three articles – on Gary Burton, Les Paul, and Tupac Shakur – for the new five-volume, 1,800-page set “Musicians and Composers of the 20th Century,” edited by Alfred W. Cramer and published by Salem Press. The reference work examines composers, performers, instrumentalists, vocalists, and teachers who shaped the history of modern musical genres.
Steffens -- a recording artist, clinician, educator and champion of new music -- has directed the percussion program at the Bass School since 1997. As a founding member of the Robert Hohner Percussion Ensemble, he is featured on four internationally released CDs on the DMP recording label: “Different Strokes,” “The Gamut,” “The World Music Tour” and “Lift-Off.” He is also on Albany Records’ “The Percussion Music of David Maslanka.”
In 2005, Steffens recorded “Lost Luggage,” a five-movement work for solo marimba he commissioned from composer Edward Knight, for the CD “Where The Sunsets Bleed,” also released by Albany. Steffens has performed with the Midland Symphony, West Shore Symphony Orchestra, Greater Lansing Symphony, Lawton Philharmonic Orchestra and Schlossfestspiele in Heidelberg, Germany. He is a frequent guest artist and has presented master classes and percussion clinics on campuses nationwide.
Under Steffens’ leadership, Oklahoma City University’s Percussion Ensemble has performed works ranging from a Red Norvo tribute in Austin to a regional premiere of Stravinsky’s “Les Noces” to a Maslanka work at the national SCI convention. He received his Performer’s Certificate and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Eastman School of Music.
He has taught at Michigan State, Central Michigan University and the Eastman School of Music. He is an artist/clinician for Black Swamp Percussion, Bosphorus Cymbals and Encore Mallets.