On Stage at Curtis

Graduation Recital by Yi Fei Fu, Percussion

A graduation recital by Yi Fei Fu, percussion. Yi Fei hails from Chongqing, China, was a student of Don Liuzzi and Robert Van Sice, and entered Curtis in 2008. Her program:

Kevin Volans: She Who Sleeps with a Small Blanket
Kevin Volans is a contemporary composer, born in South Africa in 1949. About this work for drums and marimba, dating from 1985, Mr. Volans has this to say:

She Who Sleeps With A Small Blanket was written for Robyn Schulkowsky and she first performed it in Salzburg in October 1985 …This piece has often been mistakenly associated with African drumming. However, the only overtly African thing about this piece is the title, which implies ‘she who sleeps alone’, ie. without a lover. I wrote it as a virtuoso showpiece for the player as well as a composition study for myself. After some interim versions I decided to limit the instrumentation to drums only, with a brief coda on marimba. I explored several different kinds of patterning, the principal one being cross-rhythms in triplets played with two sticks.”

Peter Klatzow: Dances of Earth and Fire
Another contemporary South African composer, Mr. Klatzow composed this marimba piece for Curtis faculty member Robert Van Sice. Once again, we’ll let the composer describe his work:

“These two ritualistic pieces reflect on the one hand the solidity and all-embracing gravity of the Earth itself, and the evanescent flickering of flame, which always seeks to rise upwards and escape into the beyond. These become metaphors for life and death, or earth-bound; spirit-bound forces.”

Robert Parris Concerto for Five Kettledrums
Yi Fei Fu, timpani; Yue Chu, piano
Philadelphia native Robert Parris lived from 1924 to 1999, and studied at the University of Pennsylvana and the Juilliard School. He was a teacher and composer, best know for the work Yi Fei plays tonight. Parris wrote this concerto in 1958 for Fred Begun and the National Symphony Orchestra, displaying a great gift for melody, which he gives in this case to the very busy drummer.

Eric Sammut: Four Rotations, selections
Yi Fei Fu, marimba; Tony Miceli, vibraphone
Here, Yi Fei is joined by guest artist Tony Miceli for selections from this work by Mr. Sammut, a teacher and first tympanist of L’Orchestre de Paris. His compositions feature jazzy improvisations in a variety of styles.

Leonardo Gorosito / Rafael Alberto: Seeds
Yi Fei Fu and Tomasz Kowalczyk, percussion
The word “percussion” is used in the broadest sense in this visually and aurally entertaining work by two contemporary percussionist/composers. Found objects abound in this nine-minute piece; if you can pick it up and shake it, it’s in here. Tomasz is a fellow student of Yi Fei’s.

Music Word(s) of the Week: Marimba, Xylophone and Vibraphone
Xylophone: “A series of wooden bars with a tubular resonator under each bar…played with hard mallets…”

Marimba: “One of the commonest of African names for the xylophone…a low-pitched and richer-toned form of xylophone with the rosewood bars in the same layout as a piano keyboard and stopped metal tubes as resonators…the beaters are much softer than those of the xylophone…”

Vibraphone: “An instrument similar to the marimba, but with bars of aluminium alloy instead of wood.”
(from the Oxford Dictionary of Music)

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