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Six Mallet Marimba: Works by Robert Paterson

Performed by Robert Paterson & American Modern Ensemble /

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Although it is common to see percussionists holding four mallets, using six is still somewhat rare. Award-winning composer and percussionist Robert Paterson has spent his entire career developing this technique and writing pieces that utilize this technique. To date, he has written more works for this technique than anyone else in the world. This is the world's first all six mallet marimba album, and it pays tribute to his roots as a percussionist, and specifically, the marimba. With this collection of works, Paterson sets out to prove that this innovative, groundbreaking technique opens the door for creating new timbres and colors, richer harmonies, and a more varied sound palette on the marimba.

All of the works on this album feature the marimba and are performed by Paterson and members of the critically-acclaimed American Modern Ensemble. Works Include Komodo and Piranha for solo marimba, Stillness for oboe and marimba, Clarinatrix for bass clarinet and marimba, the three movement Duo for Flute and Marimba, the six mallet version of Tongue and Groove (there's also a four-mallet version) for alto saxophone and marimba, Braids for violin and marimba, Links & Chains for violin and marimba and Fantasia for tuba and marimba.


Cited by the press as "one of the major contenders in American music" and for writing "exuberant and rhythmically vital music marked by energy and a wonderful sense of color," Robert Paterson s music continues to be in demand by audiences and musicians alike. His music has been played by many orchestras, including the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, Louisville Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Austin Symphony, Albany Symphony, and the American Composers Orchestra. Chamber ensembles and choirs who have commissioned and performed his music include the New York New Music Ensemble, Bargemusic, California EAR Unit, Da Capo Chamber Players, Ensemble Aleph, Locrian Chamber Players, Aureole, and the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble. In 2011, Paterson was named Composer of the Year by the Classical Recording Foundation at Carnegie s Weill Hall. Other honors include the Copland Award, Brian Israel Prize, and numerous grants from American Composers Forum, ASCAP, and the American Music Center. Fellowships include the MacDowell Colony, Atlantic Music Center, Yaddo, and the Aspen Music Festival. From 2009-12, Paterson held a Music Alive! residency, sponsored by New Music USA and the League of American Orchestras. Paterson has given master classes at numerous colleges and universities, including the Curtis Institute of Music, New York University, Eastman School of Music, Ithaca College, Middlebury College, the University and the University of Vermont. Paterson is the founder and Artistic Director of the American Modern Ensemble and resides in New York City with his wife Victoria, a violinist, and their son Dylan.

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Track Descriptions

1. Komodo for solo marimba: solo for five-octave marimba that shows off the low end of the marimba, inspired by Komodo dragons

2. Piranha for solo marimba: sister piece to Komodo, five-octave solo that shows offer the upper end of the marimba

3. Stillness for oboe and marimba (Sarah Schram, oboe): beautiful piece for oboe and five-octave marimba that features rolls on the marimba

4. Clarinatrix for bass clarinet and marimba (Meighan Stoops, bass clarinet): slightly jazzy duo for bass clarinet and five-octave marimba and incorporates marimshots, slap tongue technique on the bass clarinet

Duo for Flute and Marimba (Sato Moughalian, flute and alto flute): three-movement, fifteen-minute work for flute (doubling alto flute) and five-octave marimba. First movement uses six mallets, second uses four and third movements uses five.
5. I. Allegro Misterioso
6. II. Playfully Seductive
7. III. Vivace

8. Tongue and Groove for alto saxophone and marimba (Jeremy Justeson, alto saxophone): work for alto saxophone and five-octave marimba, there is also a four-mallet version of this work (featured on AMR Pimpin' album).

9. Braids for violin and marimba (Victoria Paterson, violin): for 4 1/3 octave marimba, inspired by hair braiding styles (French braid, rolled braid, Herringbone, etc.)

10. Links & Chains for violin and marimba (Robin Zeh, violin): sister piece for Braids, form and structure inspired by chain-like connections

11. Fantasia for tuba and marimba (Dan Peck, tuba): Paterson's first duo for marimba and another instrument, for 4 1/3 octave marimba and tuba.