The Spiral Staircase Duo is an innovative chamber ensemble combining the contrasting sounds of horn and percussion. After debuting in Osaka and Nara, Japan in 2016, Spiral Staircase have established themselves as regular performers around the Dallas-Fort Worth area and beyond. They perform in a variety of settings from house concerts and public schools to churches, and as guest artists at several universities. In October 2017 they appeared as featured performers for the Greater Kansas City Japan Festival, giving performances exploring folk-inspired classical music and recent film music of Japan. In May 2018, Spiral Staircase were featured as Ensemble Fellows at the Cortona Sessions for New Music in Cortona, Italy. Other recent performances include the 2018 Otsukimi Festival, the opening ceremony of the Crow Museum of Asian Art in Dallas, the Dallas Japanese Association's 2019 New Year's Party, as well as clinics and performances at the University of Kansas and Austin College.
Spiral Staircase seeks to introduce new music for an unusual combination and recast beloved repertoire for their unique and intriguing sound. Both members, Eric Hessel (horn) and Mai Hessel (percussion), currently teach at Texas Wesleyan University in Fort Worth.
A native of Nara, Japan, Mai Tadokoro Hessel (marimba) currently serves as an adjunct professor of percussion at Texas Wesleyan University. Since moving to the U.S. in 2002, she has become an active percussionist and educator in Kansas City, MO and Dallas-Fort Worth, TX areas. Her marimba performance was featured at a TEDxWyandotte event, the video of which is published internationally. Mai’s world premiere recording of Warren Benson’s Largo Tah for marimba and bass trombone will be published through the Naxos Label.
Originally from Colorado Springs, Colorado, Eric Hessel (horn) is a talented orchestral hornist, chamber musician, and soloist. He currently performs with the Lone Star Wind Orchestra and the Sherman Symphony. Prior to pursuing his doctorate in horn performance at the University of North Texas, Hessel served as Third/Assistant Principal Horn of the Topeka Symphony, and Co-Principal of the Lawrence Community Orchestra while pursuing a Master’s at the University of Kansas under Paul Stevens.
As a composer, Eric Hessel’s works have been performed across the United States, as well as in Mexico, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Japan. He holds a BM in Composition from Arizona State University, where he studied under Roshanne Etezady, Jody Rockmaker, Rodney Rogers, and James DeMars.
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