Bowls, bells and tings (and sings)


Once I had recovered from the 26th June, the world premiere performance, I have been enjoying recording some of the works we did not have time to complete on the day. This has been good for me as a performer – the pressure, reading, standard, technique and stamina have all improved during the return to music from the depths of a life in academic administration.

Deranged Drums on Digital Vistas has been influential in my rehabilitation and I am negotiating for more performances in the near future. The Mixed Metals Percussion Ensemble are keen to continue the collaboration and you will be the first to hear about any new developments.

Thank you to the members of the audience that were snapping away on their mobiles during the premiere performance, I have collected the photographs and put them together with one of the most recent recordings Vista R and you can see and hear the results on YouTube 

In the blog Deranged Drums on Digital Vistas – the instrumentalists from the 18th June there were three pen portraits of the musicians that created some of the music on the evening. Here are some more which show the wide variety of styles, experience and specialities the members of the Mixed Metals Percussion Ensemble bring to each performance.

Phil Steventon (vibraphone) is a Manchester based percussionist and bandleader, originally from Oxford. He has a wide variety of experience as a performing and teaching musician. His experiences include regularly working in musical theatre, pop bands and orchestras, big bands and various other jazz ensembles on drum kit, percussion and vibraphone, including featuring in his own vibraphone trio, as well as deputising for orchestras and bands across the country.

He has performed at the Marlborough Jazz, Cheltenham Jazz and Parklife Festivals. He has tutored various percussion courses in the South of England and worked as a private drum kit and percussion tutor. Since arriving in Manchester he has had the pleasure of working with Jiggs Whigham, Joe Locke, Enrico Pieranunzi, Dave O’Higgins and Lianne Carol, to name a few and is looking forward to the experiences the rest of his studies and musical career will bring!

Matthew Dabbs (percussion leader) studied drum kit and orchestral percussion at the Royal Northern College of Music and subsequently enjoyed a successful career in popular music as a founding member of the rock band “Longview”. He spent many years playing drums and percussion in the studio with some of the top professionals in the music industry, including: Rick Parasher (Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Nickleback and Bon Jovi), Biff Stannard (Spice Girls, Ellie Goulding) and Steve Osborne (New order, Doves, Vanessa Carlton).

After his time with the band he continued to be busy working as a freelance professional musician, in concert and in the studio. He is a regular performer with the orchestras of Opera North (Leeds) the Royal Northern Sinfonia (Newcastle) and the Sheffield Pops Orchestra (as principal percussion). He is the senior drum kit and orchestral percussion tutor at Hill House School (independent school of the year 2012). In addition to this he runs a successful private/Skype teaching practise at

Barnsley Youth Choir update

And finally – good luck to all the members of Barnsley Youth Choir (BYC) who fly out to Riga on Monday to represent the United Kingdom at the World Choir Games. All my support goes with you and remember to enjoy the whole experience. Mat and the other MDs will have rehearsed you well, you know how to produce a scintilating sound, all you need to do is relax and sing as one – good luck to you all. View the latest information at facebook –

© P.R.Birkby 2014


About derangeddrums

Composer, percussionist, musical director, teacher and educator. My music has been written for audiences in palaces and in the street. Music is my vocation and my passion and I hope you enjoy it too.
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