On Time: Alan Abel's Story


A Festschrift

There is a tradition in academia where colleagues and students of a respected scholar come together to publish a collection of writings honoring the scholar’s lifetime’s work. This is called a Festschrift. The essays are usually related to, or to reflect upon the honoree’s contribution to their field. 

Alan Abel has made tremendous contributions in percussion and has taught a whole new generation of incredibly successful percussionists around the world. This project intends to interview several of Alan’s students to compile a documentary movie in the spirit of a Festschrift.

Our Festschrift for Alan will celebrate his life and preserve his contributions to the orchestral percussion community.

We will be interviewing Alan and document him teaching and performing. We will also interview the 3 to 4 generations of percussionists who have benefited from studying with him. Former Alan Abel’s students in the cast include Chris Deviney (Philadelphia Orchestra), Greg Zuber (Metropolitan Opera), Don Liuzzi (Philadelphia Orchestra), Tom Sherwood (Cleveland Orchestra), Vadim Karpinos (Chicago Symphony, Jeremy Branson (Pittsburgh Symphony), and Trey Wyatt (San Francisco Symphony), among many others.

This film, in addition to presenting an inner look into the lives of highly successful percussionists, will attempt to appeal to people outside of music by investigating the secrets of a master educator.

The film has a very high potential to inspire people of all ages in all fields.

We have a small and efficient creative team who are extremely enthusiastic about this project.
Our initial estimated budget is $35,000. This will cover travel, lodging, filming, editing, and scoring.

Since this film’s main mission is to honor Alan as the teacher, we hope to largely fund this project through individual contributions by Alan’s former students.
In addition to his students, we will be requesting grants to the National Endowment for the Arts, Percussive Arts Society, and other educational funds.
We plan to utilize crowdfunding in later stages of production for the primary purpose of raising awareness among social media platforms. As crowdfunding projects are more successful when there are fewer perceived risks, we plan to start crowdfunding when we have enough footage to make a short trailer.

Ted Atkatz Percussion Seminar, a non-profit organization, will be our production company. All contributions will be tax deductible and will be earmarked for the film.

We have discussed this project with Alan and last thing he said was “I’m 88 now, don’t wait until I’m 92.”

We are requesting a contribution to our fundraising effort, and/or help us to find contributors to the project.

For more information about the movie, please visit: