Percussion concerto

Commissioned by Musik der Jahrhunderte Stuttgart


First performance: February 1994 Stuttgart
Junges Philharm. Orch. Stuttgart
Conductor: Manfred Schreier
Isao Nakamura, perc.


“Musical action play for a creative percussionist and 27 instruments. ”


It seems to me that solo percussionists have their own little universe: they have instruments they prefer special playing techniques that differentiate them from other percussionists. Triangel is composed in a way that space is provided for these individual creative forces. The ensemble, which is divided into four groups, reacts partly in a fixed manner, partly spontaneously to the music coming from the soloist. This piece rediscovers the improvised cadence techniques, which were an inherent part of concertos about 100 years ago.

/Peter Eötvös  – 1999/



10 Mar, 2010
Brno, Czech Republic

Eötvös: Triangel

Janacek Academy Orch.

Cond: Zsolt Nagy
Laszlo Hudacsek perc. solo

25 Feb, 2006
London, UK

Eötvös: Triangle

London Sinfonietta

Cond: Peter Eötvös

17 Feb, 2006
Lisbon, Portugal

Eötvös: Triangle

London Sinfonietta

Cond: Peter Eötvös

10 Apr, 2005
Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Eötvös: Triangel, Replica, Snatches of a conversation

Netherlands Radio Chamber Orchestra

Cond: Peter Eötvös

30 Mar, 2005
Budapest, Hungary

Eötvös: Triangel, Snatches of a conversation, Replica

Netherlands Radio Chamber Orch.
Cond: Peter Eötvös

Snatches of a conversation
Netherlands Radio Chamber Orch.
Cond: Peter Eötvös

Netherlands Radio Chamber Orch.
Cond: Peter Eötvös
Kim Kashkashian


Thalia Theatre Budapest
Budapest Spring Festival

22 Jul, 2003
Freiburg, Germany

Eötvös: Triangel

Theater Freiburg
Cond: Kwamé Ryan

21 Jul, 2003
Freiburg, Germany

Eötvös: Triangel

Theater Freiburg
Cond: Kwamé Ryan

28 May, 2002
Vienna, Austria

Eötvös: Triangel

UMZE Chamber Ensemble Budapest
Cond: Peter Eötvös

22 Sep, 2001
Strasbourg, France

Eötvös: Triangel

Musica festival
Ensemble InterContemporain

2 Oct, 1999
Berlin, Germany

Eötvös: Triangel

Berlin Akademie der Künste, Germany
UMZE Budapest

17 Mar, 1998
Budapest, Hungary

Eötvös: Triangel

UMZE Chamber Orchestra
concert, radio rec.

8 Feb, 1994
Stuttgart, Germany

Eötvös: Triangel

Junges Philharm. Orch
Isao Nakamura-perc.,
cond.: Manfred Schreier


35 minutes

Publisher information

Edition Ricordi München – performing material on hire (Sy 3212)


TITLE Dur. Soloists & choir fl ob cl bcl bn   hn tpt tbn tba   perc pf hp   vn1 vn2 va vc db Other Tech
35'perc22112 2221 200 30321epfamp

2.2.2 (bcl).2./ perc./electr. piano/

Technical information

As a composer, Peter Eötvös wanted to give a solo percussionist the opportunity to find his own voice and to show off with his technical skills, musical experience, his imagination in sound and rhythm. What a composer can offer a solo percussionist is often very limited compared to what soloists themselves are able give themselves. The composer only creates the basic framework of the piece, the big picture and allows the soloist to move freely within its constraints. The piece does not consist merely of improvisation though; the pre-composed and improvised materials are treated equally.

The soloist works with four groups of instruments:
– 8 woodwinds,
– 6 brass instruments + tuba
– 9 strings
– a small background group with a keyboard and two modestly set up percussion instruments (+ tuba).

The soloist and the four instrumental groups are in mutual interaction with each other: the soloist plays a tune, the groups follow and respond in the own ways; then the soloist has to integrate the musicians’ reactions back into his music. The constant obligation to listen is a typical feature of Triangel; a communication comes to a life – as we know it from African folk music -, in which the musician interacts with the “people”. Only the movement “Semi-final” prescribes accurately what the soloist has to do.

The piece consists of different movements; each movement has its own individual character, which is emphasised by characteristic lighting effects.



Further information

This “action piece” composed in 1993 is not the kind of concerto where the soloist is accompanied by an ensemble. Here the percussionist is a leader, a “master drummer” of the African sort, and the other instruments are the “people”, who react and respond.

Triangel gives the solo percussionist the opportunity to demonstrate his instrumental and musical experience, his imagination in rhythm and sound.

The piece also makes the percussionist co-composer, as the parts are set down in writing and those improvised by the soloist are treated equally. It is also an exercise of listening and responding, as the percussionist does not only dictate but also responds to the reactions of the “people”.

Triangel has 10 movements, each with its own individual character.