Music professor promises marimba performance

Kristina Burton

The head of the music department, Scott Harris, plans to introduce himself to the WKU community with his solo marimba recital, “Pieces I Know by Heart” this Tuesday at the Ivan Wilson Center for Fine Arts Recital Hall.

“I’m fairly new to WKU, so I want to get onstage and let people know that, aside from doing office work, I also play percussion and marimba,” Harris said. “This is a great opportunity for me to share my love of the instrument.”

Harris said the marimba is the larger, “big brother” version of the xylophone.

“It’s a wooden keyboard instrument with a rich, beautiful sound,” Harris said. “It’s intimate and nice, but not necessarily quiet, and it offers a classical, softer, prettier side of percussion.”

Harris said the recital will feature compositions and styles from varying world regions.

“There are softer pieces and louder pieces. Some are aggressive and some are more harmonic,” Harris said. “People may not know the instrument and the extent of its repertoire.”

Dr. Mark Berry, an associate professor of music, said he is looking forward to this recital a great deal.

“The marimba is one of the most expressive percussion instruments, and I always enjoy the variety of sounds and colors that it affords,” Berry said. “Dr. Harris is an exceptional performer and has chosen a wonderful repertoire that showcases the full musical potential of the marimba.”

Harris said the marimba has become the percussion family’s most popular concert solo instrument.

“It’s rare to hear a snare drum solo or a timpani solo, but you will often hear a marimba solo,” Harris said.

Harris said one piece he will be playing at “Pieces I Know by Heart” that particularly stands out is called “Ultimatum 1” by Nebojsa Zivkovic.

“It’s loud, crazy, a little rock and roll and very fun to play,” Harris said. “It makes the audience say, ‘Wow,’ because it’s not Classical, long and slow — it’s much more percussive. There are parts that I’ve got to hit the marimba pretty hard and jump around a bit, so there’s some aggressiveness to it.”

Harris said he hopes to connect on a musical level with the WKU community with this solo recital.

“I want to let people know what I’ve been playing for 20 years,” Harris said. “Some of these works I’ve been playing since high school. As a musician, you learn to keep pieces in your repertoire and pull them out again when you’re playing at venues.”

Berry said audience members will enjoy a variety of compositional styles at “Pieces I Know by Heart.”

“It is truly music that anyone can enjoy,” Berry said.