Marimolin

p g11agcbl26a0593p g12ahktyjbb0003p g11agcbl26a0592 rmarimolin


Marimbist Nancy Zeltsman and violinist Sharan Leventhal performed together between 1985 to 1996 as the duo Marimolin. Since 2015, they have reunited for occasional performances. Marimolin will perform a Showcase Concert, and as part of Focus Day, at PASIC'17 in Indianapolis, Indiana (Nov. 8-11).


Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 1.45.28 PM


They were introduced by composer Robert Aldridge who invited them to play his piece "Combo Platter" (for violin, alto saxophone and marimba) for a concert in October 1985. They founded Marimolin shortly following. In May 1986, their formal debut recital was recorded by WGBH-Radio.

The Boston Globe - May 5, 1987 - Richard Buell

Marimolin is the popular new kid in town


Marimolin has evidently made many friends, for there were a great many more people in attendance than you might expect.


In the decade they worked together, the "dynamic duo" (The Boston Globe) premiered 79 chamber works, raised over $68,000 to commission new works (through numerous grants), and sponsored a composition contest for eight years which collectively attracted nearly 200 entries from around the world.

Marimolin performed across the United States, in Puerto Rico, England, the Netherlands, Sweden and Austria. Venues included Tanglewood Music Center; Ravinia Festival; the Huddersfield Festival (England); the Purcell Room at the South Bank Centre (London); De Ijsbreker (Amsterdam); Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Miller Theater at Columbia University, and the Knitting Factory (New York); Jordan Hall at New England Conservatory and Berklee Performance Center (Boston); two Percussive Arts Society International Conventions; and the Chamber Music America National Conference.

The Village Voice - November 14, 1989 - Kyle Gann

They're very physical players, and they exude excitement. Zeltsman dug into her bars the way a good pianist digs into the keys, and Leventhal glided around her strings with vigorous precision.


They appeared on WGBH-Radio Boston, WQXR and WNYC-Radio/New York, B.B.C. Radio/London, and Swedish and Austrian radio, and presented master classes at numerous schools including Manhattan School of Music, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, and the Royal College of Music (London).

p g11agcbl26a0601 z

Gunther Schuller (1925-2015) - talk at ZMF 2009

If you haven't heard that Marimolin recording, you've mssied something. Their performances are as near-perfect as anything can get.

Marimolin005col


The duo recorded three CDs, the first of which, "Marimolin" (produced by Gunther Schuller, released in 1988 on GM Recordings), received wide acclaim including being named "Classical CD of the Month" in the March 1990 issue of "CD Review" magazine with a "Perfect 10/10" rating (for performance/sound quality), and was nominated for a Grammy in the chamber music category. The others were "Phantasmata" (1995 on GM Recordings) and "Combo Platter" (1994 on Catalyst/BMG, now out of print). The latter was named "Disc of the Month" in the June 1995 issue of "CD Review."

Marimolin006col

The Boston Globe - May 5, 1987 - Richard Buell

Do composers welcome the opportunity to write something for the violin to go with other than that clangorous monster, the piano? The marimba keeps its distance timbrally from the violin, interweaves with it cleanly, and never overpowers--it is a certified sound of our times.


The impact of the repertoire garnered by Marimolin has been substantial, particularly among percussionists. The body of through-composed works for violin and marimba far outnumbers that which exists for any other pairing of concert non-percussion and percussion instruments.

ZMFOT2016CJointVenturePercussionDuo&Marimolin017col copy

Several works that are now widely performed:
- Alejandro Vinao: "Tumblers" with electronics (the first piece of many that Vinao composed for percussion)
- David P. Jones: "Legal Highs" (winner of Marimolin's 1st Annual Composition Contest)
- Paul Lansky: "Hop" (the forerunner of his popular "Three Moves for Marimba" and many other pieces for marimba)
- Robert Aldridge: "Combo Platter" (composed for Nancy in 1983); "Threedance" (composed for Marimolin in 1987) (Both pieces preceded his popular marimba solo "From My Little Island.")
- Gunther Schuller: "Phantasmata" (which preceded his marimba solo "Marimbology")
- Daniel Levitan: "Duo for Violin and Marimba"

The Strad - March 1988 - Harris Goldsmith

These are immensely serious artists who nevertheless understand that entertainment and enlightenment work hand in glove.

Top 4 photos: Susan Wilson
Diner photo: Carol Weinberg
Bottom 3 photos: Claudia Hansen (2015-16)

Nancy Zeltsman 2017 | nancy@nancyzeltsman.com