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Lisa Pegher

  • Percussion


Lisa Pegher press reviews

“Forcefully balletic”
- The Boston Globe

“The future of Percussion”
–The Pittsburgh Post Gazette

“Blazing a particulary rough, un-trodden trail..”
–Symphony Magazine

” A globe-trotting soloist of increasing prominence”
- The Boston Music Intelligencer

“Pegher has a rock-star aura about her and is a gifted, passionate artist. Performers like her are unique, especially in classical music.”
-The Door County Advocate

“Pegher has an uncanny feel for the vibraphone’s sound. While mostly used as a jazz instrument with soft mallets that give it a mellow, sweet tone, Pegher found a stark tone that made the instrument sound dark and tragic.” -The Charleston Gazette

“Pegher’s part was just bass drum, playing dirge-like rhythms, but again she showed a splendid ear for tone, drawing whispers to thunder from the seemingly one-dimensional instrument.”  -The Charleston Gazette

“From the instant Pegher’s opening volley cracked the cosmic egg, thick, nourshing truth oozed from the stage until the concerto was over… She methodically moved from one instrument to the next, like the pilot of a bigh machine, caressing lingering tones from triangles, dancing with a funky beaded gourd…. Hypnotic marimba patters gave way to skin-shredding drum solos.”
–Michigan City Pulse Magazine

“Stock’s work molded the multiplicity of timbres into a satisfying whole that held the attention of the audience for this unfamiliar concerto. The stunning performance of percussion soloist Lisa Pegher demonstrated her mastery of a multiplicity of instruments while her musicality offered a formidable display of athleticism as she moved with ease from one set of instruments to another…The large and appreciative audience stood applauding for many minutes after the final chords.”
-The Asheville Times

“Prima’s “Sing, Sing, Sing” centered strongly upon jungle swing rhythm on the tom drum was a scene-stealing showcase for percussionist Lisa Pegher. She played “Sing, Sing, Sing’s ” Signature intro and, to the delight of the sold-out crowd, extensive solos. Pegher was the undisputed star of the first half of this latest concert in the Irene W. and C.B. Pennington Foundation Great Performer’s in Concert Series.”
-The Baton Rouge Advocate

Pounding out Schwantner - Michigan’s CITY PULSE Magazine 

“Backs straightened and program booklets dropped to the floor. Never mind her bio! There she was in the flesh, pummeling the planet like King Kong. Who let all that reality into the concert hall?

There’s a hint of the Last Judgment in Joseph Schwanter’s percussion concerto, a masterpiece of modern music and the stunning highlight of Friday’s MasterWorks concert. This music catches you thinking normally like a nun catches you chewing gum. From the instant Pegher’s opening volley cracked the cosmic egg, thick, nourishing truth oozed from the stage until the concerto was over.

There was so much focused ferocity in Pegher’s small frame, you began to wonder whether maestro Timothy Muffitt and the orchestra would hold the stage with her. Pegher moved freely between two huge percussion batteries, one in front and the other in the back of the stage. She methodically moved from one instrument to the next, like the pilot of a big machine, caressing lingering tones from triangles, dancing with a funky beaded gourd, bending the sound of a gong by dipping it into water. Hypnotic marimba patterns gave way to skin-shredding drum solos.

It sounds like a showpiece, but Pegher’s every utterance was carefully woven into the orchestral mix. Extra percussion, including a piano and three marimbas, melded seamlessly with Pegher’s own patterns. It was a gas to see veteran symphony timpanist Mark Johnson, a greybeard with gravitas to spare, trade cracks of doom with the lithe young soloist in the black miniskirt.

The interplay was most gripping when the strings repeated an angular, questing melody. Pegher’s answers to their troubled cries came in a variety of timbres and moods, tentative, angry, mysterious and dismissive by turns. She played out much of the drama with a bass drum bigger than her own body. First, she leaned over it and tenderly tapped it like a mother listening for a heartbeat. A minute later, she hammered it so hard the recoil almost sent her into the cello section.

The evening’s order of music — Schwantner first, then Brahms’ Third Symphony — made for a strange night out. It was a bit like being invited upstairs to see some etchings, having raw, soul-draining sex on the steps, and then going up to admire the work anyway. But hey — once you put your glasses back on, they’re really nice etchings.

The band conveyed Brahms’ nobility, sweep and lyricism with great skill, owing largely to the maestro’s ear for detail. Remember that obscure tertiary melody in the second movement? Not the one you know — or even the one you thought you forgot but remember as soon as you hear it — but the one you have completely ignored all your life? Muffitt introduces you to it, makes you shake hands, and boom, you’ve got another friend. He doesn’t miss much, and doesn’t let you miss it either. After that primal roll in the percussion with Schwantner and Pegher, Brahms made a fine, lingering smoke.”

Symphony Magazine Feature – Jan/Feb 2007.