Nixon in China

Three keyboard musicians:

  • Keyboard I: performs acoustic grand piano.
  • Keyboard II: performs acoustic grand piano.
  • HX keyboard musician: performs two master keyboard controllers, named TOP and BOTTOM, without bass pedals. Note: The original HX keyboard musician utilized a Yamaha HX-1 Electone which has been discontinued by Yamaha manufacturing. The sampler and keyboard controllers below replace the original two keyboard, with bass pedals, HX synthesizer.

Two options:

1.) Kurzweil sampler version:

  • 1 x Kurzweil K2500X, K2600X, K2661X (with minimum 64Mb RAM) keyboard version
  • 1 x Six-octave MIDI Master Controller*
  • 1 x Program Change Footpedal**
  • 1 x stereo keyboard combination amplifier (Roland KC-550 recommended)
  • 1 x double-tier keyboard stand
  • 1 x audio volume pedal (Ernie Ball 6165 recommended)
  • 1 x sustain pedal (for Kurzweil)
  • 1 x Iomega 100Mb (or 250Mb) external SCSI ZIP drive, with SCSI cable.
  • Also needed: audio cables and AC power cables to connect everything

* Six-octave MIDI master keyboard controller: Must be able to sequentially and contiguously program
change up/down a minimum of 32 patch positions. Each master controller must be able to merge MIDI OUT
and MIDI THRU data (such as the Kurzweil PC88). Also, each master controller is on a different MIDI
channel. Kurzweil PC88 recommended.

** Program change footpedals: Either inc/dec or MIDI programmable will be appropriate depending on
the model and type of master controller used. For example: inc/dec pedal could be used with Kurzweil PC88
master controllers where a MIDI programmable footpedal must be used with a Yamaha KX88.
Note: The HX keyboard musician must use a footpedal and not master controller front-panel buttons,
or an infinity wheel, because program changes occur between bars, within performed notation, and
while both hands are performing simultaneuosly.

2.) Native Instruments Kontakt software sampler:

Please contact Boosey & Hawkes to obtain custom software

Kontakt MUST BE PURCHASED (approx $400 USD). Please visit

Kontakt CANNOT be fully downloaded and purchased from the Native Instruments website, as most products now allow. It is NOT ready for immediate use. You must purchase the software, online or not, where the factory/distributor THEN ships you the software media (the sealed DVDs containing the serial numbers). The download version of Kontakt is the demo version which will only run for minutes, then quit. If you choose this method for performance please leave enough time to obtain the software via standard/express shipping methods.

If you use alternative software samplers, there are programs available to convert our Kontakt Multi/Instruments into one of several destination formats. One such program is CDXtract ( – available for Mac/PC, and for purchase –> approx $140 USD. Please note, there is no guarantee any translation program will convert perfectly. Possible issues experienced could be problems in loop times/directions, sample truncation, audio routing, etc… So, explore this option at your own risk.

Kontakt Equipment List:

We highly recommend obtaining a “sampler technician” for your production. This person can help setup and troubleshoot the electronic instrument environment.

  • Full running Mac/PC version of Kontakt
  • High-performance Mac/PC computer with ample memory and hard disk space. Slower computer systems will increase the chance of unwanted latency.
  • High-performance, multi-output, computer audio interface compatible with above computer system. Less quality interfaces will increase the chance of unwanted latency.
  • High-performance, multi-port, MIDI interface compatible with above computer system. Less quality interfaces will increase the chance of unwanted latency.
  • Two 88-note master keyboard controller able to send program change and sustain pedal control on multiple MIDI channels simultaneously.
  • One double-tier keyboard stand to hold master controller.
  • Keyboard combination amplifier – to amplify the Kontakt patches.
  • One audio volume pedal (not CC pedal) to connect audio interface output to the keyboard combination amp.
  • One sustain pedal to connect to the master controller.
  • All cables (MIDI, audio, AC power) to connect and power the above equipment.

Note, Nixon in China patches (and sustain pedal control) in Kontakt are assigned as follows: TOP receives MIDI Channel 1, BOTTOM receives MIDI Channel 2. Program your master controllers appropriately.

General Sound Reinforcement Notes:

HX Musician’s Kurzweil could be amplified through main loudspeaker system, depending if the production is staged, concert version, or generally sound reinforced. The sampler sound is mostly to be amplified through the above recommended keyboard combination amplifier and should seem “acoustic” within the context of the orchestra, and production.

Technical issues please contact Mark Grey, Sound Designer for John Adams: