Schepps’ Quintet debuts Flatiron this weekend

FlatironSaturday, December 1, marks the debut of Flatiron, a new musical piece by Marc Mellits. It is a modern classical work written for traditional string band instrumentation, and will be performed by Jake Schepps & the Expedition Quintent on December 1 at the Etown Hall in Boulder, CO.

Schepps has dabbled a bit in classical music of late, recording an album of Bartok music, An Evening In The Village: The Music of Béla Bartók, which also includes arrangements of several of his dance melodies for string band. Jake believes that Flatiron is the very first work of its kind, where a recognized composer has written a full-length piece for the string band, an ensemble more accustomed to arranging themselves and their various parts.

Flatiron is scored for a five-piece bluegrass band, and will be performed by Schepps on banjo, Grant Gordy on guitar, Matt Flinner on mandolin, Enion Pelta-Tiller on violin, and Eric Thorin on bass.

Here’s how the piece is described for the program:

When banjoist Earl Scruggs joined Bill Monroe and his Bluegrass Boys in 1945, it forever canonized the traditional 5-piece bluegrass string band. In the last half-century, this combination of instruments has been explored by musicians throughout the world, in countless combinations. Yet Flatiron is something original. Flatiron is composer Marc Mellits’ view of the string band, recontextualized and reimagined as a rhythmically interlocking machine, where contemporary classical post-minimalism meets skillful technique and bluegrass drive. The multi-movement composition is as firmly rooted in the mountains as the Manhattan skyline.

Jake tells us that the performance will be filmed to document this unique premiere. Lets hope that it is sufficiently well-received to create interest in having Flatiron performed throughout the country.

We hope to get a report from Jake after the show.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.