Performed by the University of Kentucky Percussion Ensemble (James Campbell, director) with soloist James Vilseck

Instrumentation: Soloist – Vibraphone . Ensemble – Marimba (5.0), Finger Cymbals, Triangle (2), 2 Found Metal Instruments, Kick Drum, Glockenspiel, Ride Cymbal, 4-Piece Drum Set, Splash Cymbal.

Program Notes:

The term “bullet hell” comes from a video game sub-genre (also known as “shoot ‘em ups”) where a player is tasked with destroying enemies while simultaneously evading an overwhelming number of incoming projectiles.

At the same time, one might say we live in our own bullet hell with regards to the astonishing amount of gun violence in our country. From the tragedies during a country music concert in Las Vegas (2017) to the almost inconceivable scene at Sandy Hook Elementary School (2012), if we have learned anything, it is that no one is truly safe from this type of violence.

And yet, it keeps happening.

BULLET HELL as a piece of music is not meant to lay blame with any one entity. As many viewpoints as possible are represented within it. Its purpose is to shed light on the idea that everyone is talking, but no one is listening, and until people from different viewpoints are willing to listen to each other and work towards a common goal, nothing will be accomplished.

BULLET HELL was commissioned by a consortium of twenty-five percussionists from around the United States. Many thanks to each consortium member for their support, most especially Tyler Tolles who led the consortium.

BULLET HELL consortium members…

Justin Alexander, Chase Banks, Cameron Brown, James Campbell, Omar Carmenates, Tommy Dobbs, Cory Fica, Benjamin Fraley, Matthew Geiger, Elise Gonzalez, Matthew Greenwood, Adam Groh, Dave Hall, Gordon Hicken, Jacob Kight, Melinda Leoce, John O’Neal, Luis Rivera, Emily Salgado, Peter Soroka, Tony Steve, Nick Stevens, Tyler Tolles, Ben Tomlinson, Jamie Wind Whitmarsh