John Lane

percussionist | composer




Starkland Records

Starkland Records

This premiere recording of Peter Garland’s 50-minutepiece The Landscape Scrolls continues his history as a maverick “composer of mesmerizing music” (Kyle Gann). Commissioned by percussionist John Lane, the work depicts the 24-hour day cycle in five movements.

John Luther Adams writes:

“The expressive power of this music comes not from the notes on the page, but from a deeper resonance, from the magical power of sound itself … A set of drums reconnects us with the ground beneath our feet. A few triangles become an enormous carillon, a nocturnal bell tower, a call to prayer in the temple of night. The gentle clanging of tubular bells becomes a morning chant, saluting the sun, greeting the new day. Listening to this music we are grounded again, we are filled with wonder … These are musical landscapes [but also] prayers for the seasons, the hours of night and day, prayers for humanity and for all life on this planet.”


Sparrow Song is published in Notations21, ed. by Theresa Sauer, Sparrow Song is a graphic score made from tracings of photos of birds on power lines and telephone cables. The instrumentation is four logs played with a variety of implements.


Ruffles Call from Afar by Yo Goto was commissioned by the Sam Houston State University Wind Ensemble and John Lane. The premiere performance was given at the SHSU Wind Ensemble's featured concert at the Texas Music Educator's Association Convention in 2013.

The Landscape Scrolls by Peter Garland, a concert-length solo percussion work, was commissioned by and written for me.  The commission was supported by an Enhancement Research Grant at Sam Houston State University.

Each of the moto-perpetuo monochromatic movements are reflections of particular times of day in rural Maine, the composer's home. The performance above is from the premiere performance at Rothko Chapel, Houston, TX.

More documentation of my work with Peter Garland's music can be found on my YouTube page

Say Something by Graeme Leak and Glossolalia and Dream Journals were both part of four new speaking percussion works commissioned with a Faculty Research Grant at Sam Houston State University. 

Full performance below:

"In Say Something I re-investigate the rhythmic and melodic qualities of language that I first explored in ‘And Now for the News’ (1983), where I approximate the pitch and rhythms of Vietnamese speech. These are notated and mapped onto drums. The performer plays a duet with taped voices of news broadcasters. Tonal subtlety and complexity in many Asian languages sees the same word meaning very different things according to its intonation, with little difference to my ears.
Thinking about this got me wondering about similar subtleties and complexities in the English language. Perhaps, because we hear it all the time, we don’t hear the variations. Certainly newsreaders and TV presenters exaggerate their highs and lows – might the Vietnamese newsreaders be doing the same? This led me to look into stress and meaning.
Stress generally implies higher pitch. The same words with different stress take on very different meanings. “It is” is quite different to “it is”, is it not? Not it is – it is. Not. And these investigations led to finding little language loops that are a bit like Möbius strips that enigmatically seem to arrive where they started. After filling several notebooks with jottings along these lines, the pages were simmered down to the fragments that found their way into the piece. The performer is asked to consider each and every word and phrase and decide on a stress, an emphasis and a meaning that might (or might not) be conveyed to the listener." - Graeme Leak

“Glossolalia and Dream Journals is a work for speaking percussionist that is based on verbal and non-verbal texts composed in collaboration with a class of San Francisco 4th graders. Fragments of dream journals written by the students as well as text-sound pieces composed as a class are woven together to create a work that toes the line between logic and nonsense, dream and reality.” –Danny Clay


Recordings of my trumpet/percussion duo with Amanda Pepping can be found on our website:


Gene Splicing by John Roach | Featured on the 9E2 Festival in Seattle, Washington
Artist John Roach worked with DNA researcher to produce DNA maps, which were taken from the percussionists John Lane and Stuart McLeod. With the participation of a DNA researcher and glass artist, the patterns from those DNA reports informed the creation of glass sculptures that were played and ultimately destroyed by the percussionists. 

The 9E2 Festival commemorated the 9 Evenings Festival in New York City founded by Robert Rauschenberg in 1966. 9E2 teamed up artists with scientists and engineers in a spirit of experimentation and focused on the confluence of art, science, and technology.

Workbook, Exercise No. 20 by Danny Clay.



This Buster Keaton film was one of several silent era films we scored live during our program, Moving Pictures: Percussion and Cinema. We scored the film using ragtime music by G.H. Green, as well as music from the Sam Fox Moving Picture Catalogue, much of which was arranged by the students.

The Sam Houston Percussion Group was part of the commissioning consortium and among the first ensembles to perform Mark Applebaum's "30" in 2013.

Mark was our guest composer-in-residence at the SHSU Contemporary Music Festival in 2013. We did an entire concert of his percussion music.

Canadian Composer Monica Pearce wrote chain maille for the ensemble and was a guest composer-in-residence (supported by a grant from the Canada Council for the Arts).

Notes from the composer: chain maille (otherwise known as mail) is a type of armour consisting of small metal rings linked together in a pattern to form a protective mesh. With an exclusively metal timbral palette, this percussion quartet explores the concept of chain maille from several entry points – using the mesh pattern as fodder for musical material, examining associations of its medieval history, and most directly, using a chain maille hood as a percussion instrument. chain maille also investigates the idea of armour – the heavy armour we carry to protect against harm, both physical and emotional.

chain maille is the first in a set of a multiple-work piece based on the history and associations of various textiles/patterns. In each of these works, the textile or pattern is used both as inspiration (history, tone, physical characteristics) and as a physically present element, either visually or sonically.