HSU Hosts World Marimba Festival June 30-July 13 - Humboldt State Now

HSU Hosts World Marimba Festival June 30-July 13

The international Zeltsman Marimba Festival comes to the Pacific Northwest for the first time June 30 – July 13, featuring eight evening concerts open to the public at Humboldt State University’s Native Forum and the Arcata Playhouse.

Event founder and Boston-based marimba master Nancy Zeltsman headlines 60 international and stateside musicians performing music ranging from classical to contemporary, in solos and chamber ensembles. Music making will center on the marimba, including instruments manufactured by Arcata’s Marimba One.

“Many of Nancy’s artists are well-known marimba players who also play percussion,” notes HSU Music Professor and Director of Percussion Eugene Novotney. “But although some of the concerts will be marimba only, they’ll also involve other mallet instruments, like the vibraphone, plus a wide variety of other non-pitched percussion instruments.”

Marimba One is providing eight, five-octave concert marimbas for the festival and it will roll out an exclusive instrument of its own at the event: a marimba whose frame is made of ziricote, an exceptionally hard jungle wood found only in southern Mexico and Guatemala. Central American woods, including rosewood, are ideal building materials for marimbas because of their rich resonance.

The President’s Office, the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences, the Department of Music and HSU’s College of e-Learning and Extended Education are organizing the logistics, with participants staying on campus. Because the musicians are coming from various points of the globe and the U.S., they are unable to bring their instruments with them, so the Department of Music is pitching in its inventory. “We’re basically lending Nancy everything but the kitchen sink!” Novotney enthuses.

“This festival will present an enormous range of styles, introducing people to the astounding expressiveness and eclecticism of marimba music,” says Zeltsman, chair of the Department of Percussion at The Boston Conservatory. “This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many people in the Pacific Northwest to hear the best marimba performers present so much interesting music on an instrument that is very fun, visually as well as aurally.”

The concerts begin Sunday, June 30, at 8 p.m. at the Arcata Playhouse, featuring a “Marimba Mix” of Bach, Faure and many more. The venue will shift to HSU’s Native Forum on Wednesday, July 3, again at 8 p.m., with a presentation of ‘Expressive Complexity’ and the music of Toru Takemitsu and Philippe Manoury, among others.

No advance reservations will be available; tickets will go on sale at the door at 7:15 p.m. prior to each evening’s performance and at 12:15 p.m. on July 13. Prices are $10 for adults, $7 for students and seniors at both locations.

The full concert schedule and other details are posted at zmf.us/concerts_opento.