I met Marco Schirripa at the Zeltsman Marimba Festival in 2009. On one of the first days, Beverly Johnson held a master class and Marco was the student that performed. He played Merlin by Andrew Thomas, which most marimbists would classify as a cornerstone of modern marimba literature. My jaw literally dropped when I heard his performance. For such a difficult work, he was able to make it look easy and sound fantastic. We became friends at the festival and I have been following his career as he finished his study with Gordon Stout as well as Kevin Bobo. As part of his work at the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, Marco has been doing a number of blog posts on the Percussive Arts Society web site.
His recent (and final) blog post entitled “Its not about that you can play its about how you play“, talks about how he prepares musically when he practices. If was also great that he specifically mentioned how he prepared for that performance of Merlin at ZMF 2009. I have been working on a new premiere that is quite a bit above my skill level and his insight around not just playing the notes but making musical phrases is a great point that younger students should pay attention to.
I would encourage everyone to read all of his blog posts. I have linked a set of them below:
You can also find follow his performances on his YouTube channel where he recently posted the following performance of Sejourne’s “Concerto for Marimba and Strings”:
Congratulations Marco on all that you have accomplished in your career so far and I look forward to hearing more from you in the future!