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“Bongo-0” by Roberto Sierra


“Bongo-o” by Roberto Sierra

Performed by Eric Hines

Mallet Selection for this Piece:


Alex Acuña “Conquistador” (SAA)

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Designed to provide optimum response on timbales and cymbals. In hickory.

L = 0"“, Dia. = .“


Percussion instruments have been used by many contemporary composers almost exclusively as a media to convey certain coloristic effects.  When listening to Afro-Caribbean folk music, one becomes aware that in this genre, rhythm is the most important factor.  The articulations and modes of attack (color) are subordinated in such a way that their functions are mainly to help in the shaping of the rhythmic figures.

Bongo-0 follows the same line of Afro-Caribbean music, in the sense that rhythm is the foremost parameter.  In this piece, the bongos are used in the traditional manner, with the exception of several unorthodox striking techniques, such as scratching the heads.  The articulations and modes of attack, as in Caribbean folk music, form an integral part of the rhythmic patterns.  Rhythm and the other parameters are treated in such a way that the form of the piece is a continuous transformation of these.  During this process of change, the voice of the percussionist is utilized as a quasi-percussive element.

Bongo-0 is not a mere quotation or transcription of folk music.  This work extracts the folkloric essence of the Afro-Caribbean music and presents it in a totally different dimension.

– Roberto Sierra


For more than three decades the works of American composer Roberto Sierra have been part of the repertoire of many of the leading orchestras, ensembles and festivals in the USA and Europe. At the inaugural concert of the 2002 world renowned Proms in London, his Fandangos was performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in a concert that was broadcast by both the BBC Radio and Television throughout the UK and Europe. Sierra’s numerous commissions include works for many of the major American and European orchestras. International ensembles that have performed his works include the orchestras of Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, New Mexico, Houston, Minnesota, Dallas, Detroit, San Antonio and Phoenix, as well as by the American Composers Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, Los Angeles Philharmonic, National Symphony Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the Tonhalle Orchestra of Zurich, the Spanish orchestras of Madrid, Galicia, Castilla y León and Barcelona, among others.

In 2003 he was awarded the Academy Award in Music by the American Academy of Arts and Letters. The award states: “Roberto Sierra writes brilliant music, mixing fresh and personal melodic lines with sparkling harmonies and striking rhythms. . .” His Sinfonía No. 1, a work commissioned by the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, won the 2004 Kenneth Davenport Competition for Orchestral Works. In 2007 the Serge and Olga Koussevitzky International Recording Award (KIRA) was awarded to Albany Records for the recording of his composition Sinfonía No. 3 “La Salsa”. Roberto Sierra has served as Composer-In-Residence with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra and New Mexico Symphony. In 2010 he was elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Roberto Sierra’s Music may be heard on CD’s by Naxos, EMI, New World Records, Albany Records, Koch, New Albion, Koss Classics, BMG, Fleur de Son and other labels. In the spring of 2004 EMI Classics released his two guitar concertos Folias and Concierto Barroco with Manuel Barrueco as soloist (released by Koch in the USA in 2005). Roberto Sierra was born in Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, and studied composition both in Puerto Rico and Europe, where one his teachers was György Ligeti at the Hochschule für Musik in Hamburg, Germany. The works of Roberto Sierra are published principally by Subito Music Publishing (ASCAP).


Eric Hines serves as Graduate Teaching Assistant at the UA School of Music where he is pursuing a DMA in Percussion Performance.  At UA Eric teaches Applied Lessons and is Director of Steel Bands.  From 2004-2008 Hines served as Associate Director of Bands at Los Fresnos High School in Los Fresnos, TX.  He holds a MM from the University of Arizona where he studied under Norman Weinberg and a BME from the University of Illinois Champaign/Urbana, where he studied under William Moersch and Ricardo Flores.

An accomplished performer in a variety of Afro/Caribbean, Brazilian, and popular music, Hines maintains an active performance schedule in Tucson playing timbales with the salsa ensemble Descarga and steel pan with his Caribbean jazz combo Pan Dulce.  An in demand clinician of concert, marching, and world percussion, Hines has presented for the International Percussion Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico, PAS Days of Percussion, TMEA Clinic/Convention, UT Austin Longhorn Music Camp, UT Brownsville Percussion Studio, South East Texas Marching Percussion Camp, and many high school and middle school summer percussion programs.  His performance and recording credits include work withDescarga, Pan Dulce, Tito y su Nuevo Son, Rahe, The Valley Symphony Orchestra, Champaign-Urbana Symphony, SPIpan, The Bongodogs, and I-pan.  Eric has performed internationally throughout Puerto Rico, China, England, Scotland, Belgium, France, Canada, and Mexico.

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