HEAVY METAL CONCERTO
"Heavy Metal Concerto" was composed beginning in the late winter of 2020, shortly after the rapid global spread of COVID-19 forced governments to lock down in an effort to prevent the transmission of the disease. The enforced solitude, along with my doctoral music theory course on Tonal Forms that semester, led me to the idea of composing a concerto in the style of the great Classical composers. I was also practicing guitar and bass more often during this period. Thus, the idea for a Classical-style concerto backed by a heavy metal band was born.
It is my hope that this concerto brings further light and reflection to the issues of climate change. I also hope that it inspires young players to find creative new ways to play the tuba. When I was a teenager, I wanted a piece like this to exist. I grew up loving heavy metal, and I always wanted to play the tuba in the same way that my guitar-shredding idols did. I hope that you enjoy listening to this piece as much as I have enjoying creating it.
HEAVY METAL CONCERTO REVIEWS
"To my knowledge, nothing this ambitious, visionary, and accessible has been attempted with tuba and heavy metal music. This piece and this performance are a true treasure and an important step toward a style of composition and tuba performance that will appeal to a much larger audience than our typical classical repertoire."
- Dr. Jesse Orth, International Tuba-Euphonium Association Journal (Winter 2022), "New Materials"
Principal Tuba, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Lecturer, Tuba Performance - Music Performance; University of California, Los Angeles
I'll be the first to admit I know next to nothing about heavy metal music. In spite of that, I found myself quickly connecting to Evan Zegiel's "Heavy Metal Concerto." After all, it has something for everyone: tuba players will find the solo line a challenge but not impossible, metal heads and laypeople alike will enjoy the familiar headbanging rhythms and instrumentation, and Millennials and Gen Z'ers will strongly connect with the conditions the human race will have to endure in an imminent climate apocalypse.
That last part, like the climate crisis itself, is inescapable. Zegiel provides a page of program notes detailing the origins of this work, with each movement designed to depict the destruction of the planet we call home. You can easily imagine the forests turning to ash in the first movement, hear the sound of incessant materialism at any cost in the second, and feel the disappearance of the human race in the third. This is something to which most people on Earth can relate, but it will be most deeply felt by Millennials and Gen Z: a trashed planet, slowly boiling over with heat, left that way by previous generations.
All of this is not to say it's too late: I believe that Millennials and, especially, Gen Z will ultimately succeed in a nearly-miraculous turning of the planet towards a sustainable future. But, boy, is it frustrating having to constantly wage an uphill battle in a fight you inherited. For those that are musicians, listening to or performing in the Heavy Metal Concerto will provide at least some sense of catharsis. Headbanging your way through scenes of destruction will always release some anxiety and, if you're the tuba soloist, you'll be able to show off both flashy technical lines and sweetly lyrical moments.
In many ways, Evan Zegiel's Heavy Metal Concerto is not just another excellent entrant into the solo repertoire; it's the music we as a society need right now.
Arthur F. Thurnau Professor Emeritus of Tuba & Euphonium; University of Michigan
Creative! Thrashing and driving. Haunting. Acrobatic tuba playing that really fits into the Heavy Metal style. A real tour-de-force that’s unlike anything I’ve heard before. If you like heavy metal rock (and I do in Zegiel’s hands), you’re gonna love this!!
DR. CHRIS DICKEY
Assistant Professor of Music, Tuba and Euphonium; Washington State University
What do you get when you blend personal interests and tastes with superb tuba skills? The answer partly lies in Evan Zegiel’s new heavy metal tuba concerto. Combining rock elements with the technical and lyrical prowess of the tuba leaves the listener struck by another level of versatility the tuba can achieve. The tunes heard in this concerto feature Evan’s rich sound, clean technique, and nuanced approach to melodic shape all while being accompanied by—you guessed it—a heavy metal band. For something different yet rewarding, listen to Evan’s new work. His innovative perspective provides a response to the leading question of what’s next for the tuba as a solo instrument.
DR. CALE SELF
Associate Professor of Music & Associate Director of Bands, Low Brass; University of West Georgia
Evan Zegiel’s new Heavy Metal Concerto for tuba and heavy metal band is a fantastic and refreshing addition to the solo tuba repertoire that seamlessly blends head-banging metal grooves with long lyrical lines reminiscent of some of the great vocalists and lead guitarists of 90’s metal and progressive rock bands. Utilizing the versatile color palette of the tuba, the soloist gets to take turns being the lead singer, the solo guitarist, along with plenty of shredding as the rhythm guitar (and of course, a few familiar moments of laying down the time as the bass guitar). The concerto is simultaneously unique and familiar, often bringing to mind many of the great bands of the genre without directly quoting them, making the work instantly relatable to performers and listeners alike. I can’t wait to get this music on my stand and start shedding (shredding?) it!
DR. JARROD WILLIAMS
Teaching Assistant Professor of Tuba; Eastern Carolina University
This is one of the greatest things in the history of ever. That a 50-year-old military band survivor is this excited to play a new tune is something else. I can’t stop grinning. What an amazing concept. I’m thinking of buying some fog machines, renting a stack of Marshalls, and playing it on my Cimbasso.
NEW WORKS BY EVAN AND COLLEAGUES