Marimba 2010 – Final Day of Performances

The final day of the Marimba 2010 International Festival and Conference was Saturday May 1st. It started early again so let’s get right to it!

8am – “Marimba Roots: Traditional Marimbas In Costa Rica and Mexico” Fernando Meza and the Ensamble de Percusion Costa Rica presented the first section. They detailed the construction of the Costa Rica marimbas (pigs gut is what makes the buzzing sound) and played some musical examples. The “Bomba” is musical phrase that someone yells out to stop the musicians from playing.  Someone then has to recite a four line poem that rhymes. A few people in the audience got into in and the performers enjoyed thier contribution.  The second half was Marimba Nadayapa and the traditional characteristics of the Mexican marimba. One interesting thing I learned was there is an extra low b flat on these marimbas. The marimba has a slightly different layout at the bottom. Where there is normally a C# there is instead a Bb and the C# is placed to the right. These instruments are used at kid’s birthday parties, weddings, and funerals throughout Chiapas and the rest of Mexico.

9am – “Voices from the New Generation” had performances by Casey Cangelosi and Pius Cheung. Cangelosi played “Etude in a minor No. 2”, “Character No. 5”, “Prelude in f minor”, and “White Knuckle Stroll”. Pius Cheung performed “Etude in d minor”, “Etude in c# minor”, “Etude in D Major”, “Musical Moment No. 5 – Romance”, “Etude in e minor”. These pieces were all originals from the respective performers and show that the next generation of marimbists are well on their way to becoming marimba masters.

9am-1pm – “A Multiple-Hour Performance” performed by Alan Zimmerman at the Regis Center for Art. Across the street Alan Zimmerman was performing a concert that featured one piece called “marimba, bow, stone, player (I), (II), (III), & (IV)” by Kunsu Shim. This piece is for one marimba player with two bows and stones. I forgot to take a break and walk over to hear part of this piece. If anyone saw it, feel free to comment as this one sounded interesting.

10am – “Marimba And … (Part 2)” – These performances features the marimba in non-solo settings. Andrew Beall started with his composition “Song of Almah (with strings)”. Assisting him was soprano Amanda Dunning and the Erato Chamber Orchestra with Richard Haglund conducting. Beall stated that this will be part of a Broadway musical in a few years. The text is from the Old Testament book Song of Solomon. The performance included the movements 1 and 3. Beverley Johnson performed her husband Christos Hatzis piece “In The Fire of Conflict” for marimba and tape. The music track contains rap lyrics and according to Johnston it “is the first work in which I have used rap music but I am sure it will not be the last”. This newest revision of this piece was also played last year at the Zeltsman Marimba Festival. The final piece was Ricardo Lorenz’s “Piedra en la Piedra” performed by Scotty Horey (with Jenifer Hanson, flute).

11am – “Works for Marimba and Vibraphone”. This aptly named session started with Alejandro Vinao’s “Arabesco Infinito” performed by Svet Stoyanov and William Moersch. A tremendous amount of notes that just kept coming were handled musically by both performers. Anders Koppel’s “Tocatta” and Toru Takemitsu’s “Cross Hatch” were performed by Janus Percussion. Anna Ignatowicz Glinska’s “Passacaglia” and Arkadiusz Katny’s “Chain III” were performed by Katarzyna Mycka and Svet Stoyanov. The final piece was Steve Reich’s “Electric Counterpoint” performed by Svet Stoyanov. This was a great arrangement of this piece originally written for Pat Metheny and guitar.

There was enough time for another run to Jimmy Johns for lunch and some mingling with the vendors. I will post some pictures in a future post.

1pm – “Concerti” started with “Concerto For Ivana” (for marimba, piano, and percussion) performed by Ivana Bilic (with Brian Duffy, Erik Barsness, Adam Rappel – percussion and Timothy Lovelace, piano). Next was Jorge Sarmientos’ “Concierto para marimba y orquesta” performed by James Price (with John Jensen, piano).

2pm – “Asian Connections” started with Keiko Abe’s “Variations on Japanese Children’s Songs” and Kazunori Miyake’s “Chain” performed by Ji Hye Jung. Yoshio Hachimura’s “Ahania (mvmt 1)” and Yasuo Sueyoshi’s “Mirage pour Marimba” concluded this performance.

3pm – “Marimba Six-Mallets” – Rin Ozaki performed Keiko Abe’s “Itsuki Fantasy” to start the session. Kai Stensgaard performed his “Salsa Mexicana” and “Zita”, followed by Ariel Ramirez’s “Gloria from Misa Criolla”. A couple of these pieces used ankle bells in addition to 6-mallet technique. Chung-Ying Chang’s “Ma Olah”, Pei-Ching Wu and Koji Sakurai’s “No One Is an Island” was performed by Pei Ching Wu.

The final piece was a show-stopper. Chung-Ying Chang’s “Solar Myth” (for marimba and three percussionists) was performed by Pei Ching Wu, Hans Fredrickson, Eric Richardson, and Derek Olson from the University of Minnesota Percussion Ensemble. This piece does require the marimbist to play 6-mallets however if you have someone who can pull that off, the audience appreciation you will receive from the entire performance will be worth the practice time. This piece was performed with bright red costumes and some white masks. The 3 percussionists move around the stage playing at various stations. My favorite part was the choreography between the percussionists as they tossed folding fans to each other in rhythm. This one is a new composition from 2009 and will certainly be making the rounds of percussion recitals. Congratulations to the performers for putting this one together. The audience loved it and so did I.

4pm – “Classics From Japan” was the final hour of performances at the Ted Mann Concert Hall. Akira Miyoshi’s “Conversation – Suite for Marimba” performed by Mutsuko Fujii. Rika Fujii performed Miyoshi’s “Ripple”. They both stayed on stage to perform the world premiere marimba duet “The Plum Blossoms” by Eiko Orita. This one was stunning. Both players incorporated rolls to create a comfortable sound that I could listen to for weeks. “Hiten Seido III” by Maki Ishii” was performed by Mutsuko Fujii and Eriko Daimo performed “Ku” by Hirotake Kitakata. The finale was Minoru Miki’s “Marimba Spiritual” performed by Eriko Daimo (with Fernando Meza, Casey Cangelosi, Bismarck Fernandez, Rika Fujii, and Mu-Daiko members Susan Tanabe and Joe Mignano).

I am planning a few more posts to show some photos, to list all of the other press links about the event and to give my final perspective on the entire week.

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