Angela Nelson

Angela Zator Nelson has performed as Associate Principal Timpani and Section Percussion with the Philadelphia Orchestra since 1999. She is also an avid chamber musician who performs with Philadelphia ensembles and also enjoys performing as soloist, most recently with University ensembles and Youth Orchestras in 2020. Angela obtained her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University where she studied with Patricia Dash and Michael Burritt. While in Chicago, Angela performed with the Civic Orchestra of Chicago for three years and received invaluable training as an orchestral percussionist. She then studied with Alan Abel at Temple University where she earned her Master’s degree. Angela’s combination of solo and orchestral study lead to her success in percussion performance and in the successful teaching of students at Temple University.

About the Session

Sticks, Strokes, and Styles: a guide to interpreting orchestral xylophone performance

My session will begin by examining and playing simple exercises on the xylophone and pairing them with a given outline. The practices I will discuss are meant to give a percussionist an indefinite palate of sound and technique choices. This palate will then help a percussionist draw upon their discoveries for practical application in orchestral performance. I will tie in performance techniques to use with the xylophone parts in Shostakovich’s Symphony number 5 and Messiaen’s Exotic Birds. One of the major points of the session is to explain how our musical education is both quantitative and qualitative. The earliest hours spent in the practice room, if thoughtfully prepared, lead to the eventual success of a professional musician. We can tie our earliest experiences in with discovering how to make music at the highest level.

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