I was privileged to play the newly released Marimba One “Izzy” at the opening night of the Southern California International Marimba Concert at Chapman University Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music. Wow, what a great musical instrument ! – here I’m featured in the Summer newsletter. www.marimbaone.com_sites_default_files_marimbaone_news_2014_summer
I’m currently at Chapman University Hall-Musco Conservatory of Music as one of four competition judges at the Southern California International Marimba Competition.
This competition is so great!
Friday afternoon we had the duo semi final round and last night I was privileged to play in the opening night concert with my fellow judges and internationally acclaimed percussionists Naoko Takada, Gordon Stout and Nick Terry. It was such a great evening of music and I was so honored to bea part of it! This event is so well put together and has such a nice vibe to it!
This event has the potential to launch new careers for the very best Marimba percussionists. Good luck to the competition entrants, already we have heard and seen some amazing new talents.
WOW, thus far we have had a blast!
Here is a snapshot of what we have been up to.
Hard at Work, music performances …..
Playing music with students and making new friends …..
Indulging in delicious Chinese cuisine – great colors …..
Immersing ourselves in Chinese culture …..
Prof. Keith — our negotiator
And being tourists…..
It has all been great fun, we’ve learnt so much!
We really had a blast this last week for the annual SUU Percussion Festival! Everything about the time we had together was great, especially the final concert with my guest artists Cory Hills and Ken McGrath performing with me and the SUU Percussion Ensemble to a FULL recital hall for the concert on Saturday night!
We led up to that with percussion clinics, workshops and lessons at the college, and both Cory and Ken were a hit with my students; showcasing their outstanding talents, playing with students, sharing their knowledge and expertise. Their generosity with their time was amazing and I know my student got so much out of it! We talked about grad school, studio work, developing your career and all things percussion!
Showing off Southern Utah’s spectacular scenery we were able to squeeze in to the busy schedule time to hike in Zion Canyon. Thanks so much to Cory and Ken for coming to SUU, sharing your talent and working with my students, it was such a fun weekend!
This project came about 2 years ago when I traveled to Wuhan, China, where I worked with the Hubei National Opera and Dance Company, playing timpani for our ‘Dream of Helen’ production. It was a combined project with SUU and Chinese dancers and musicians. The Hubei Opera President, Mr. Chang Sheng Mei liked working with me and he dreamed up this idea to build this concert around a percussion concerto written for me!
Mr. Mei talked with Keith Bradshaw ( who is my department chair and great composer) about writing this piece and he wrote the “Canyons Concerto,” a 30 minute tour de force that I love playing. We premiered the concerto in Southern Utah last November with the Orchestra of Southern Utah. During the performance we projected a fantastic running slideshow with each movement representing Utah’s beautiful canyon landscapes. Our follow up plan to the premiere was to take the performance to China this May.
The titles are really cool, the first movement is the Incarnation of the Hoodoos, about the hoodoos in Bryce Canyon. The second movement is called Hanging with Goblins which is about Goblin Valley, also in Bryce Canyon. The third movement Gabbing with Gossips which is for Gossips in the beautiful Arches National Park, and the forth and final movement is In the Court of the Patriarchs, representing Zion Canyon.
Our Dean, Shauna Mendini felt it really important to get some of the students to go on our trip to China. So together with Keith, Shauna, Xun Sun our conductor, and I, four of my percussion students are going! They are Darin Hunsinger, Marshall Miller, Tyler Williams, Austin Julian.
We are spending almost a whole month in China, touring and playing concerts including The Canyons Concerto. We will be in Wuhan for about a week, we are performing at the Qintai Concert Hall, May 11th and 12th, and then we visiting China Normal University, then we are going to Changsha, where we will be playing at the Hunan Normal University. Then we are off to Beijing we are playing with the Chinese Music Institute. We are doing some percussion ensembles pieces, playing some duos, trios, quartets, I’m also going to be playing a bunch of solos. The trip is from the 3rd of May through to the 27th.
It’s huge trip we’re really excited. Thanks to Marimba One for all their help getting a marimba there for us for the whole trip!!! We can’t wait for this amazing adventure!
Come join me this Saturday night at our Percussion Ensemble, and meet our very special guest artists Cory Hills and Kenneth McGrath, as we explore the sounds of contemporary percussion.
Cory Hills, a multi-percussionist, composer, and improviser, thrives on breaking down musical barriers through creative, interdisciplinary projects. Having studied widely, recorded in Los Angeles, a member of the Grammy-nominated Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, and performed solo and chamberrecitals throughout the world in Europe, Australia, United States, Mexico, and China, Cory has individually commissioned and premièred over 60 new works for percussion.
Percussionist Kenneth McGrath performs regularly with many Southern California leading ensembles, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Pacific Symphony, and San Diego Symphony. Kenneth has toured throughout Europe, Asia, and North America. He has contributed to wide range of concerts, including Broadway productions, motion picture soundtrack recordings and broadcasts. He also maintains a private teaching studio in Los Angeles.
I can’t wait to play with these great musicians!