Justin DeHart

Strange Paths

Innova 849


1. XY 15:09

(1998) Michael Gordon


2. Psappha 13:32

(1975) Iannis Xenakis


3. Bone Alphabet 11:24

(1992) Brian Ferneyhough


They Looked Like Strangers (24:18)

(2009) Stuart Saunders Smith

4. I††† 5:40

5.†† II†† 5:51

6.†† III 6:12

7.†† IV 6:36


Justin DeHart,





1. XY†††††††††††††††††††††††††† †††††††††† Michael Gordon

XY is a percussion solo for five tuned drums. In XY, the right and left hand of the performer get louder and softer in reverse symmetry. That is, while theright hand gets louder and louder, the left hand, which was loud, gets softer and softer, and so on. The performerís hands do this continually. Eventually, each hand moves at different speeds. For instance, if the right hand plays four notes to the beat, the left hand might play five. As the drumming of the right hand fades away, the drumming of the left hand emerges at a faster rate. Also, the length of time that the hands take to emerge and fade contracts and expands.


I am speaking of the hands of the performer as if they were independent beings, and indeed they practically are. When I was imagining the music of XY, I thought of the double helix of DNA, which wraps around itself and spirals upwards.

- Michael Gordon


2: Psappha†††††††††††††††††† Iannis Xenakis

Written in 1975, Psappha is one of the classic solo percussion compositions that is often copied by later composers, but never surpassed in its grandiosity, massive sound, and physicality. Written in a graphic grid notation on an oversized score, the performer enters a new world that must be explored, understood, and set to life. The distinct sonic forces in Psappha clash and combine to create complex dimensions, perhaps giving voice to some of the incomprehensible elements of nature in our world.

- Justin DeHart










3: Bone AlphabetBrian Ferneyhough

Bone Alphabet is a rite of passage for percussionists who love intricate music that is both mentally and physically challenging. There are polyrhythms composed inside of polyrhythms composed inside of more polyrhythms, and often more black ink present than glimpses of the white paper behind the staff. One needs to devote a considerable amount of time and energy to make choices about sounds, choreography, memory, endurance, and interpretation. Therefore, every realization of this piece offers insight into the unique solutions the performer has chosen, revealing a highly personalized perspective.

- Justin DeHart


4-7: They Looked Like Strangers†††††† Stuart Saunders Smith

I was six

on vacation with my family

at Pleasant Pond.



The water was so cold

you couldnít swim.

By the cottage

was a small dam.

At dusk I would fish for trout off the dam

even though the black flies would eat me alive.


One time,

I fell into the water below.

My parents laughed and laughed.




I stared at them.


I promised myself

I would remember their faces at that moment.

They looked like strangers.

- Stuart Saunders Smith


Dr. Justin DeHart

is an avid performer and dedicated teacher of a wide variety of musical styles - from classical to pop, and from world to electronic. DeHartís musical resume includes performances with the San Diego symphony, Grammy-nominated pipa master Wu Man, and various pop legends, including Cheap Trick. As a California native, he holds a B.M. from CSU Sacramento, a M.F.A. from California Institute of the Arts, and a D.M.A. from UC San Diego. DeHart is a member of the Los Angeles Percussion Quartet (LAPQ). DeHart was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship for percussion studies in India (2001) and his talents have been featured at concerts and festivals throughout the United States, Canada and Asia. Dr. DeHart currently teaches percussion and improvisation classes at Chapman University Conservatory of Music.


Recorded by William Brent at Warren Music Studio, La Jolla, CA.

Mixed and produced by Justin DeHart.

innova is supported by an endowment from the McKnight Foundation.

Philip Blackburn, director, design

Chris Campbell, operations manager

Steve McPherson, publicist