Eastman School of Music musicians will be setting the beat in Paris this month.
Ten student percussionists and Professor Michael Burritt are traveling to the City of Light over the Thanksgiving holiday to compete and perform at the annual “perKumania” International Percussion Festival.
Hosted by the prestigious Paris Conservatory of Music, perKumania draws percussionists from around the world. The Eastman Percussion Ensemble, under Burritt, will be featured in the festival’s opening concert on Friday evening, Nov. 27, presenting a program that includes Burritt’s “Marimba Quartet.” The ensemble will also perform “Colored Windows, Tempered Rooms” by Baljinder Sekhon, a doctoral composition student at Eastman.
Compositions by Burritt are among the required pieces for participants in the International Marimba Competition, which starts Tuesday, Nov. 24, in advance of the festival. Burritt also will serve on the jury for the marimba competition.
Six Eastman students are participating in the International Marimba Competition: freshman Tomek Arnold, junior Danny Vozzolo, and seniors Jenny Lawless and Andrew Fuhrman are entered in the Category 1 level, while sophomores Emily Feeney and Hannah Weaver will compete in Category 2.
Burritt’s work “Rounders,” commissioned for this year’s competition, will be on the performance program for Category 1 competitors, those under the age of 25. In addition, his piece “Willow,” written for the 2003 competition, is again required for the Category 2 level for percussionists age 14 through 20.
“To make this even more terrific, the Eastman Percussion Ensemble will also perform these pieces with the finalists in both categories,” said Burritt. “We are essentially the ‘house band’ for the competition – pretty cool!”
Burritt, who received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the Eastman School, is one of the world’s leading percussion soloists, having performed on four continents and in nearly 40 states. He has been a soloist with the Dallas Wind Symphony, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Amores Percussion Group in Spain, Peaux in Sweden, and other ensembles. He has released three recordings and is also active as a composer. Before joining the Eastman faculty in 2008, Burritt was professor of percussion at Northwestern University.
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