As a marimbist I had the great pleasure to work very close with composer and guitarist Aart Strootman, also bandmember and founder of TEMKO. In the band we discussed deeply and spend a lot of hours talking about our instruments. For Aart the challenge to learn about the marimba was to compose for it. I asked him for a couple of pieces by now.
Aart was winner of the Gaudeamus Composition Prize 2017, a prestigious award for the most promising composition talent of the year.
Solo for marimba (2014)
It became a three-part classical concerto piece in itself, combining virtuosity with sonorous, slow fragments. The piece is on the TROMP competition list of Dutch pieces written for marimba solo (for every participant’s second round of the competition).
Brave New World – duo for marimba / duo for harp & marimba (2017/2015)
Aart Strootman about his piece: ‘Having named a work after a book by Hemingway, I decided to loosely inspire the new piece for Remy van Kesteren and Ramon Lormans on Aldoux Huxley’s Brave New World. Starting with almost nothing the piece ends with a big virtuosic outburst.’ In 2017 the piece was rewritten in a commission for marimba duo. Ramon has two master students in Codarts who will premier this piece in International Percussion Competition Luxembourg in february 2018.
Shattered Canon – for marimba quartet with wood blocks (2017)
In this work Aart explored in two movements the marimba sounds as a quartet, with polyrhythms how we use them in TEMKO too. A conceptual piece close related to Darkness Rises but also a ‘David Lang’ kind of vibe. See the video of the general rehearsal before the premier here.
The premier was done in Splendor Amsterdam during Percussion Friends Chamber Music Academy on 23rd of August 2017 by Maikel Claessens, Arjan Jongsma, Ramon Lormans & Xi Rachel Zhang.