Nexus is a Toronto-based percussion ensemble that performs standard percussion ensemble repertoire, ragtime music, world music, contemporary classical music and as a group, has performed as soloist with some of the top orchestras around the world.
The ensemble was originally made up of percussionists Bob Becker, Bill Cahn, Robin Engelman, Russell Hartenberger, John Wyre and Michael Craden. Founding member Michael Craden died of liver cancer in 1982. John Wyre died in 2006 and was replaced by long-time professional colleague Garry Kvistad. Robin Engelman resigned from the group in December 2009 due to vision difficulties and died on February 26, 2016.
The group formed in 1971 and debuted with a concert of entirely improvised music. In the mid-1970s the group recorded two albums with New Age music pioneer Paul Horn: Paul Horn and Nexus (1975) and Altura Do Sol (1976).
In 1982 the group released Nexus and Earle Birney, a triple-album collaboration with noted Canadian poet Earle Birney.
In 1990, Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu wrote a concerto for percussion ensemble and orchestra entitled From me flows what you call time for the group. Dozens of other composers have written music specifically for Nexus and for individual members of Nexus, and the group's members are also composers and arrangers, writing for Nexus and, on occasion, for others.
Russell Hartenberger is on faculty at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Music (Dean, Chair of Graduate Education, and Professor, Percussion). Robin Engelman was also a long-time staff member at the University of Toronto, where he mainly taught and conducted the percussion ensemble and the contemporary music ensemble.
|1975||Paul Horn and Nexus||Columbia|
|1976||Altura Do Sol||Columbia||Later reissued as The Altitude Of The Sun (Black Sun, 1989)|
|1976||Nexus Ragtime Concert||Umbrella||Later reissued (Nexus, 1991)|
|1978||Music of Nexus||Nexus|
|1981||Under the Umbrella||CP|
|1982||Nexus & Earle Birney|
|1989||The Best of Nexus||Nexus|
|1990||Nexus Now||Nexus||(June 1989)|
|1990||Dance of the Octopus||CBC||With Judy Loman|
|1991||Nexus Plays the Novelty Music of G.H.Green||Nexus|
|1992||The Story of Percussion in the Orchestra||Nexus||(June 1992)|
|1994||The Mother of the Book||IRJ||With Gil Evans|
|1995||Music for Heaven and Earth||CBC|
|1995||World Diary||Papa Bear||With Tony Levin|
|1996||Farewell to Philosophy||Point||(May 1995)|
|1997||Nexus meets Peter Sadlo||Koch|
|1997||World Drum Festival||Syrinx||(March 1997)|
|1998||Orchestral Music of Takemitsu||Sony||(February 1997)|
|2000||Garden of Sounds||BIS||With Richard Stoltzman (January 1999)|
|2001||Lullaby||Nexus||With Leigh Howard Stevens|
|2004||Rituals||Containing Concert for Violin and Orchestra (October 1998) and Rituals (March 2004) for five percussionists and orchestra.|
|2005||Out of the Blue||(March 2005)|
|2015||Persian Songs||(August 2015)|
- John Wyre: Vagabond Dream (Heron, 1991)
- Bob Becker: There is a Time (Nexus, 1994)
- William Cahn: Solo Percussionist Music (Nexus, 1996)