GREENSBORO – Eastern Music Festival (EMF), Greensboro’s nationally recognized classical music festival and summer educational program, presents an evening of ‘Percussion Explorations,’ which will include the world premiere of Wand’ring Fire by Michael Ippolito, Wednesday July 20 at 8:00 p.m. at Dana Auditorium, Guilford College.
The Percussion Explorations performance will highlight unconventional percussion techniques and pieces from the EMF faculty. Composers you can expect include: Devonté Hynes, Rolf Wallin, George Hamilton Green, Connor Shafron, Alyssa Weinberg and Aurél Holló, and the world premiere of Michael Ippolito’s Wand’ring Fire.
Michael Ippolito, praised by The New York Times for his “refined orchestration,” has many works that have been performed by top musicians in venues around the world. Ippolito is known for drawing on his rich musical background in classical and folk music, while drawing inspiration from other art forms. This has enabled the extensive body of work that spans orchestral, chamber and vocal works.
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Wand’ring Fire, written for and commissioned by EMF Faculty Artists, harpist Anna Kate Mackle and percussionist John Shaw, is a musical meditation on ignis fatuus or will-o’-the-wisp. These strange lights that appear in the night can be explained scientifically, which is a fascinating subject in itself, but Ippolito was particularly fascinated by the various folkloric explanations. John Shaw was interested in singing bowls, which are metal bowls that produce a tone when you rub or strike them, and the use of his own kalimba, which is a modern take on a traditional African instrument with metal clamps that you pinch to make noise. , to convey the story of the piece. Ippolito expressed:
“He challenged me to include these instruments in the piece, and as a composer, I appreciate that kind of challenge! I borrowed a singing bowl from a colleague, along with some other instruments, and began to imagine a room in which the sounds of percussion and harp would mesmerize and draw the listener in. The legend of the ignus fatuus, or will-o-the-wisp, seemed to fit what I had in mind.
Anna Kate and John, notoriously known as the Mackle Shaw Duo, decided to commission Michael Ippolito since he was growing up in the Tampa Bay area, where the two musicians perform with the Florida Orchestra. What you can expect from this piece includes “almost exclusively metal percussion instruments – vibraphone, gong, bell, Tibetan singing bowl, as well as an amplified kalimba (African thumb piano). The sound of these instruments associated with the harp is haunting and beautiful, and we are thrilled for the audience to hear it,” says John.The duo Mackle Shaw are thrilled with the outcome of the piece and would like to mention that it would not be possible without the support of the St. Petersburg Arts Alliance.
Tickets for the Percussion Explorations concert are available at eastermusicfestival.org/tickets. Full program details will be available online at eastermusicfestival.org/calendar.
About the Oriental Music Festival
For six decades, Eastern Music Festival (EMF), a nationally recognized classical music festival and summer educational program, has been produced each summer on the Guilford College campus and at other venues in the Guilford College area. Greensboro, North Carolina. EMF is distinguished by its accomplished faculty, exhilarating repertoire, and world-renowned guest artists under the artistic direction of Gerard Schwarz. A powerful educational institution, the EMF encourages and guides hundreds of young musicians from across the country and around the world as they take their first steps towards a career in the performing arts. The 61st five-week season of EMF runs from June 25 to July 30, 2022. For more information, visit eastermusicfestival.org. Follow EMF on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.