Video Performance Feature:

"Rain Tree" by Toru Takemitsu
     Performed by Tomaz Kowalczyk, Kei Maeda & Georgi Videnov


Mallet Selection for this Piece:

Robert Van Sice Signature Keyboard
Medium. The most popular model in the series‚ this mallet covers the entire range of the marimba and produces a singing sound that is full of life.
L = 17"
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Signature Vibraphone - Terry Gibbs
Medium hard vibe or marimba. Rattan handles.
L = 15 1/4"
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Orchestral Series Keyboard
Large oval brass head for a very big‚ bright and bold sound.
Head = 7/8" | L = 14 3/16"
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About the piece:

Rain Tree (1981)

There are three compositions by Takemitsu on the subject of the Rain Tree. Rain Tree Sketch (1982) and Rain Tree Sketch II (1992, in memoriam Olivier Messiaen) are among Takemitsu’s most often performed piano works. The origin of the Rain Tree Sketches can be traced back to Takemitsu's percussion trio Rain Tree (1981).

Rain Tree is used as a metaphor of water circulating in the cosmos, and Takemitsu employed Messiaen's modes of limited transposition in order to construct the pitch collections evocative of cosmic imagery. Takemitsu's goal as an artist was to expand the possibilities of music, and to express himself through creation of a universal language.The title was suggested by a passage from the novel Atama no ii, Ame no Ki by Kenzaburo Oe: “It has been named the 'rain tree,' for its abundant foliage continues to let fall rain drops collected from last night's shower until well after the following midday. Its hundreds of thousands of tiny leaves - finger-like - store up moisture while other trees dry up at once. What an ingenious tree, isn't it?"”

Toru Takemitsu during an interview (1993):
"My music is like a garden, and I am the gardener. Listening to my my music can be compared to walking through a garden and experiencing the changes in light, pattern, and texture. I do not like to emphasize too much with my music. Someone once criticized my music as getting to be very old fashioned. Maybe I am old, but I am looking back to the past with nostalgia. Composers are sometimes afraid to use tonality, but we can use anything from the tonal to the atonal – this is our treasure. I can say that because I am Japanese!"


About the composer:

Music is either sound or silence. As long as I live I shall choose sound as something to confront a silence. That sound should be a single, strong sound. - Toru Takemitsu (1962)

Born in Tokyo on 8th October, 1930, Toru Takemitsu was a composer and writer on aesthetics and music theory. Largely self-taught, Takemitsu possessed consummate skill in the subtle manipulation of instrumental and orchestral timbre. He is famed for combining elements of oriental and occident philosophy to create a sound uniquely his own, and for fusing opposites together such as sound with silence and tradition with innovation.

He composed several hundred independent works of music, scored more than ninety films and published twenty books. He was also a founding member of the Jikken Kobo (experimental workshop) in Japan, a group of avant-garde artists who distanced themselves from academia and whose collaborative work is often regarded among the most influential of the 20th century.

His 1957 Requiem for string orchestra attracted international attention, led to several commissions from across the world and established his reputation as one of the leading 20th century Japanese composers.

A noted musical avant-gardist in midcentury Japanese intellectual circles, as influenced by jazz as by Debussy, Takemitsu first turned to feature film composing when he was commissioned (along with Masaru Sato) to write the hip, twangy-guitar-inflected score for the Ko Nakahira youth flick Crazed Fruit (1956). It wasn’t until a few years later, though, when his friend Hiroshi Teshigahara asked him to score Teshigahara’s short debut film, José Torres (1959), that Takemitsu’s career in movies truly began.

The deeply sympathetic working relationship that they discovered on that project resulted in Takemitsu’s providing the haunting, instrumentally jarring themes for virtually all of Teshigahara’s subsequent output (“He was always more than a composer,” Teshigahara would recall. “He involved himself so thoroughly in every aspect of a film—script, casting, location shooting, editing, and total sound design”).

Takemitsu became a go-to guy for many other major Japanese filmmakers as well, including Masaki Kobayashi (Harakiri), Akira Kurosawa (Dodes’ka-den), and Nagisa Oshima (Empire of Passion); his themes remain some of the most beautiful, spectral music ever written for the screen.


About the performers:

PEABODY PERCUSSION GROUP

The Peabody Percussion Trio was founded in September 2008, by three freshmen – Georgi Videnov, Tomasz Kowalczyk and Kei Maeda - percussion majors studying with Robert van Sice at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. Since then, they have performed regularly at the Peabody Percussion Group Concerts and the Peabody Thursday Noon Recital Series among their several recitals in the Maryland area. They have been coached by Sō Percussion, Svet Stoyanov and David Skidmore. Their trio represented Peabody as a part of the Conservatory Project at the Terrace Theater of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, in February 2009, where they performed Rain Tree by Toru Takemitsu. The trio was featured in a recording that won the competition for a showcase concert at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Indianapolis performing Paul Lansky’s percussion quartet Threads in November 2010. During their Junior year, they were selected as one of the Honors Ensembles at Peabody and premiered a new commissioned work by a student composer James Young.

Georgi Videnov is a young percussionist who specializes in solo and chamber music performance. Mr. Videnov has participated in a number of national and international competitions, both as a soloist and as a member of a chamber ensemble. Among his numerous awards, he has received First Prize several times at the Pendim and Young Virtuosos competitions in Bulgaria, as well as the Competition for French Music Perfomance in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Mr. Videnov was born in Sofia, Bulgaria and has begun percussion instruments lessons at the age of six. He has graduated from the National Musical School in Sofia, Bulgaria where he has studied with Maria Palieva, and, in 2012, he completed the Bachelor of Music Degree program studying with David Skidmore and the world-renowned contemporary musician, Robert van Sice at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, MD. Mr. Videnov was the recipient of the Zildjian Scholarship at Peabody established by the Avedis Zildjian Company.

In the summer of 2012, Mr. Videnov attended the New Music Workshop and the Chamber Music Session, at the Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in Norfolk, CT. He was coached by Robert van Sice, composers Martin Bresnick and James Wood, pianist Lisa Moore, violinist Syoko Aki, and bassoonist Frank Morelli. Mr. Videnov participated in live-broadcasted performances of Wood’s Cloud Polyphonies, Bresnick’s Caprichios Enfaticos, five new student composer’s quartets commissioned by the festival, Francaix’s chamber opera The Devil Upon Two Sticks and Handel’s Royal Fireworks.

As an orchestral player, Mr. Videnov recently joined the Hyogo Performing Arts Center Orchestra for their 2012/ 13 season conducted by Yutaka Sado in the Hyogo Prefecture of Japan. Mr. Videnov has taken part in three concert seasons with the New Symphony Orchestra in Sofia, Bulgaria under the baton of Rosen Milanov and Petko Dimitrov. He has also performed with the Sofia Festival Orchestra conducted by Emil Tabakov. In the summer of 2009, Mr. Videnov toured as a timpanist/ percussionist with the Sofia Festival Orchestra for series of concerts conducted by Justus Frantz and Martin Panteleev at the Music: Landschaft Westfalen Festival in Germany. During his years at Peabody he attended the Brevard Music Festival and the Pacific Music Festival. He appears on recordings and broadcasts by the Bulgarian National Radio and Television and Peabody Conservatory.  In the fall of 2013, Mr. Videnov will be continuing his studies as a Master’s student at the Yale School of Music.

Tomasz Kowalczyk is a young and upcoming percussionist devoted to representing the art of percussion as a fresh, exciting, and distinctive part of contemporary classical music. When he was in fourth grade, performing in a plastic recorder ensemble, a music teacher discovered his musical talent. In 2006, he won first prize in the European Music Prize for the Youth International Marimba Competition in Münster, Germany and at the final concert, performed Keiko Abe’s "Prism Rhapsody" with the Symphonic Orchestra of Münstert. In February 2010 he won second prize in the Yale Gordon concerto competition in Baltimore. In 2010 he was a winner of the PAS (Percussive Arts Society) International Percussion Ensemble Competition as a member of the Peabody Percussion Group. In 2011 he was the second prize winner at the PAS International Solo Competition. He has presented solo recitals in his native Poland as well as in Europe and the United States.
Mr. Kowalczyk performs as a member of the Peabody Percussion Trio. Other chamber music performances include collaborations with the Mobtown Modern New Music Series presented by the Contemporary Museum in Baltimore, with the Great Noise Ensemble in Washington, DC, and alongside members of eighth blackbird in Philadelphia, PA. He has also worked with the legendary pianist and conductor Leon Fleisher in performances of Gyorgy Ligeti’s chamber operas “Aventures” and ”Nouvelles Aventures.” An experienced orchestral musician, he has performed in the Pacific Music Festival Orchestra, the Lucerne Festival Academy Orchestra, and with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra, playing under many world renowned conductors, including Simon Rattle, Yannick Nézet-Séguin, Fabio Luisi, Peter Eötvös, Pablo Heras-Casado and Robert Spano.
Interested in expanding the percussion repertoire, Mr. Kowalczyk frequently commissions and works with composers, premiering their new works. He participated in many masterclasses conducted by renowned artists such as Keiko Abe, Eric Sammut, Katarzyna Mycka, Linda Maxey, Robert van Sice, Tom Freer, Jim Atwood, Cynthia Yeh, Eduardo Leandro, Michael Burritt and So Percussion Group. He is currently a Diploma Program student at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, PA, studying with Alan Abel, Don Liuzzi, and Robert van Sice. He received a Bachelor of Music Degree from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore as a student of Robert van Sice and David Skidmore.

Kei Maeda is a young percussionist who was born in Kagoshima, Japan in 1989. He began playing percussion at the age of seven under the tutelage of Takako Nakama. When he was a high school student, Mr. Maeda won the prize in the South Japan Music Competition in both 2005 and 2006. In the summer of 2010, Mr. Maeda attended the Brevard Music Festival where he took lessons and master classes with Charles Ross and Conrad Alexander and played under the batons of Keith Lockhart and Joann Falletta.

A participant in many master classes, he has had private lessons with renowned teachers such as Tom Freer, Shoichi Kubo, Svet Stoyanov, David Skidmore, Cynthia Yeh, Eriko Daimo, Eduardo Leandro and Tim Genis. He has also participated in coachings with the So Percussion quartet. Mr. Maeda graduated from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University completing the Bachelor of Music program in 2012, where he studied with Robert van Sice and David Skidmore.

Currently, Mr Maeda resides in Tokyo and in the spring of 2013 he will be attending the Tokyo College of Music.

 



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