International Percussion Competition Luxembourg February 2015

The International Percussion Competition Luxembourg will occur February 14-22, 2015. For more information head over to their Facebook page, and the IPCL 2015 flyer.

The event features a quartet competition so look for 3 other percussionists and start practicing! The registration deadline is October 1, 2014. Keep visiting their page for more up to date information as the deadline arrives.

Marimba One Izzy

Marimba One has launched a new marimba called the Izzy.  Their press release states the following:

The culmination of 30 years of acoustic research, engineering and craftsmanship, this is simply the finest marimba ever built.  Sound innovations which have also been integrated in all marimba one©marimbas include resonator harmonic filters for a smoother, more balanced sound, updated resonator tuning to maximize sound potential, and voicing options on both our resonators and keyboards.

The complete re-design of our frames ranges from combination aluminum and wood rails with laser engraving to the incredibly durable frame hardware. Our ultra-smooth pneumatic height adjustment system is functional and durable–never slips, easy to use.  We only use US-grade certified hardware on our marimbas which are 100% made in Arcata, California, USA.

The marimba one Izzy™ is named after Izzy Samuels, son of marimba one© founder Ron Samuels.

I was able to play on one of the Izzy models at the Zeltsman Marimba Festival this summer. I really like what they have done to the frame to make it more sturdy. This is the choice that I would make if I were in a school or somewhere where you are moving the marimba between rooms. It has a darker “black” look on the rails which is a combination of aluminum and wood and therefore saves you a little money compared with the 3000 series Height Adjustable choice. The soloist and 3000 series continue to have the tuning nobs while the new Izzy does not.

You can choose this option by visiting the marimba one “build your dream marimba” link at:



“To the shadow, light” (world premiere)

One of my goals as a marimbist is to foster the creation of new marimba pieces whenever I can. There have been many great projects on Kickstarter that I have been a part of over the years but I have always wanted to do a commission by myself. For the past two years I have been working on just that. This is the story of the marimba solo “To the shadow, light” by Guillo Espel.

Back in 2009 I attended the Zeltsman Marimba Festival. During one of the listening sessions William Moersch played a marimba solo called “Zamba para escuchar tu silencio” by Guillo Espel. I thought that this was one of the most beautiful marimba solos I have ever heard (similar to the first time I heard “Land” by Takatsugu Muramatsu).

I heard this solo performed live by Angel Frette at the Marimba 2010 International Festival and Conference and knew that I had to find out who the composer was. A quick search led me to Guillo and we begin emailing about the solo, the quartet arrangement, and about his other pieces.

I didn’t have the marimba chops to perform “Zamba” myself, so I asked Jenny Klukken if she wanted to perform it. She has played it a number of times and a wonderful recording was posted on my blog in 2012.

I knew I had found a great composer, and so I asked Guillo if he would be willing to commission a new piece. Even though he is a guitarist, I knew from his previous marimba solo that he knew how to write for the marimba and make it sound beautiful. He agreed, and to my surprise, finished the piece in a couple of months. Both Jenny and I started working on “To the shadow, light” and continued to email with Guillo with updates and questions.

It was late in 2013 when I saw the announcement for ZMF 2014 and I knew that this would be the perfect place for the world premiere. Sometimes you just need a hard deadline to really focus and complete a task.

At the Zeltsman Marimba Festival, I was given invaluable advice by Nanae Mimura, Jack Van Geem, Laurent Warnier, and Nancy Zeltsman. I performed the world premiere at the 5-hour marathon concert on Saturday July 12, 2014 at Memorial Chapel on the Lawrence University campus. The program notes are located here, and the recording is below:


I wanted to personally thank all of the ZMF faculty from 2009 and 2014 and especially William Moersch for introducing me to Guillo’s music. Another big thank you to Guillo for taking the time to write a new marimba piece. If anyone is interested in performing “To the shadow, light” please contact me via email –  marimba [at] jeffsass [dot] com.