Thursday, February 18, 2016

Marimba Soloist Highlights Winter Concert

For its March 5 Winter Concert, the Concord Band is pleased to welcome Wei-Chen Lin, an internationally renowned marimba soloist, to play in a concert entitled Music From the Woods. Lin will perform two pieces with the band on his five-octave rosewood marimba: Concerto for Marimba and Wind Ensemble by Yiu-Kwong Chung and Serenade for a Picket Fence by Norman Leyden. For the remainder of the program, Concord Band Music Director James O’Dell has selected an international array of compositions related to "woods."

Born in 1982 in Tainan City, Taiwan, Wei-Chen Lin received his Bachelor of Music degree from Taipei National University of Arts, with Master of Music and Doctor of Musical Arts degrees from Boston University. Currently Dr. Lin is pursuing the Artist Diploma degree as a marimba major at The Boston Conservatory under the guidance of world-class marimbist Nancy Zeltsman. Dr. Lin has performed marimba and percussion solo recitals and concerto performances with bands, orchestras, and chamber ensembles in Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, Japan, Russia, Australia, Italy, Thailand, and the United States. He also teaches marimba, timpani, and percussion private lessons in Boston.

Dr Wei-Chen Lin
marimba
The marimba had its roots in Africa and Guatemala and is an important part of the culture in both areas. The modern marimba, with its rosewood bars and metal resonators, originated with Sebastian Hurtado in Guatemala in the 1890s and was first manufactured in the U.S. in the 1920s by John Deagan.

Chung’s Concerto for Marimba and Wind Ensemble presents the solo marimba in three contrasting movements which traverse the entire range of the instrument and demonstrate Dr. Lin’s virtuosic, agile, and at times athletic four-mallet technique. The late Norman Leyden, a band director, composer and arranger for Glenn Miller and numerous movies and television shows, composed Serenade for a Picket Fence in 1956 as a mallet instrument showpiece.

The Concord Band’s program opens with Rossano Galante’s The Redwoods, inspired by the California coastal redwoods, among the tallest trees in the world. Tales from the Vienna Woods is a transcription by Tohru Takahashi of the famous Johann Strauss Jr. waltzes that pay tribute to the folk music and dance of people in the forested highlands known as the Vienna Woods. Stephen Bulla has arranged four of Stephen Sondheim’s songs from the hit Broadway musical and 2014 movie in Selections from “Into the Woods”.

Australian Percy Aldridge Grainger was one of the foremost collectors and arrangers of English folksongs for band. His six-movement piece, Lincolnshire Posy, which Grainger referred to as “a bunch of musical wildflowers” and which is considered his masterpiece, was written in 1937 and is based on songs he collected during a 1905-06 trip to rural Lincolnshire, England. Grainger dedicated the piece to "the old folksingers who sang so sweetly to me.” The late band maestro Frederick Fennell recorded Lincolnshire Posy with the Eastman Wind Ensemble in 1958 and with the Cleveland Symphonic Winds in 1984. Fortunately for the bands that followed him, Fennell edited and compiled a full score edition in 1987.

The American composer John Barnes Chance was in the U.S. Army in the 1950s when he heard the Korean folk song “Arirang.” It was a popular song particularly in Seoul, and was used as a theme at the Seoul Olympics in 1988. Also, in 1956 the South Korean government had designated "Arirang" as the official march of the U.S. Army's 7th Infantry Division, to honor the division’s Korean War service. Chance wrote Variations on a Korean Folksong in 1965 and for the composition received the Ostwald Award from the American Bandmasters Association in 1966. The work consists of six contrasting variations, punctuated with prominent and driving percussion instruments and rhythms.

The Saturday March 5, 2016 concert by the Concord Band will take place at 8:00 pm at the Performing Arts Center at 51 Walden in downtown Concord, MA. Admission is free, although donations are always appreciated. The Concord Band is sponsored in part by a grant from the Concord Cultural Council in conjunction with the Massachusetts Cultural Council. Additional information about the concert and the Concord Band, winner of the 2013 Sudler Silver Scroll Award for community bands, can be found at the Concord Band blog at blog.concordband.org and the band’s website www.concordband.org.

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