Marimba players perfect technique in UNT camp

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- About 30 marimba players from across the country will learn from the masters in the University of North Texas Marimba Workshop June 18-22 – a weeklong event that includes a workshop faculty recital and a final concert featuring several marimba ensembles.

Most of the marimba campers are high school and college students, but professionals have taken the workshop, too, said founder Mark Ford, coordinator of percussion at the UNT College of Music.

"We've had teachers – band directors or percussion teachers -- that come back after teaching for 15 or 20 years wanting to rejuvenate their skills," Ford said.

Participants have come from nearly all corners of the country over the six years that the workshop has been offered, according to Ford.

"This speaks volumes about the reputation of the College of Music here and the quality of the faculty," Ford said.

Although people started playing instruments of resonating wood thousands of years ago, the modern marimba is just a few decades old, having been popularized in vaudeville and later in Hollywood movie scores that used the marimba for dramatic effect. In the 1940s and ‘50s, classical compositions began to be written for marimba, and marimba soloists began to appear on the stages of world renowned venues such as Carnegie Hall. In the 1950s, schools began to use the marimba to teach melody and harmony to percussionists who had only drumming experience.

"People fell in love with it, and major composers started writing concertos,"
Ford said. "This is a growing art form, probably out of its infancy now, but not far."

8 p.m. June 18 (Monday)

UNT Marimba Workshop: Faculty Recital

Scott Herring, University of South Carolina
Brian Zator, Texas A&M Commerce
Mark Ford, UNT
Christopher Deane, UNT
Program: Marcin Blazewicz's Sonata for Marimba, Mark Ford's Wink, J.S. Bach's Sonata No. 1 in G Minor for Unaccompanied Violin (performed on vibraphone and marimba), Nicolo Paganini's Sonata No. 2 (Cantabile e Valtz) for Violin and Guitar (performed on violin and marimba), Paul Siskind's Memoriale, Gary Ziek's Earth Tones, Minoru Miki's Ballades for Koto Solo: Vol. 2 "Spring," and Miki's Marimba Spiritual. Recital Hall, Music Building, southeast corner of Avenue C and Chestnut Street


3 p.m. June 22 (Friday)

UNT Marimba Workshop: Ensemble Concert

Faculty ensemble conductors:
She-e Wu, Northwestern University
Scott Herring, University of South Carolina
Brian Zator, Texas A&M Commerce
Mark Ford, UNT
Recital Hall, Music Building

Media: To arrange to take photos or video of the marimba workshops, contact Ellen Rossetti at or 940-369-7912.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108