What is the largest percussion festival in Europe? Poland’s Drum Fest! A 5-week drumming festival, Drum Fest is now celebrating its 25th Anniversary! Amazing! While Drum Fest concerts and clinics are held throughout several cities in southern Poland such as Krakow and Katowice, most of the main events are in the beautiful city of Opole.
I have been the Artistic Director for the Marimba/Vibraphone Competition sponsored by Drum Fest since 2012. This has been a rewarding journey, and I am grateful to Drum Fest Director Wojciech Lasek for this opportunity! Every year percussionists come from all over the world to be part of Drum Fest. Some of the artists who have been with us recently have been Keiko Abe; Pius Cheung; She-e Wu; Katarzyna Mycka, Paul Rennick and Dave Samuels. This is an impressive list!
This year the marimba/vibraphone competition will be held on October 14-16 and guest artists/jury will include Ludwig Albert (Marimba Artist), Frederic Macarez (Paris Symphony), Anders Astrand (Jazz Vibraphonist), the Axoum Duo (Elwira Slazak & Gabriel Collet) and myself. Participants in the competition will attend a concert with the Opole Philharmonic Orchestra on Friday October 14th under the direction of guest director Nicholas Williams featuring percussion concertos and premiers. Some of the selections for the concert include the orchestral premier of Yo Goto’s Ruffles from Afar (snare drum concerto with me – yes me…, playing snare drum!) and Ludwig Albert’s Double Concerto (Ford and Albert on marimba). Also on the program is a new timpani concerto by Frederic Macarez as well as my new composition, Przebudzenie (The Awakening). Przebudzenie is an orchestral fanfare dedicated to Drum Fest Director Wojciech Lasek in honor of the 25th Anniversary of the festival. I will write more about this work on another post. I am very excited about all of this music!
Then on Saturday the marimba and vibraphone competition begins. This is a full two days featuring three rounds of performances. All of the guest artists will present clinics during the weekend too. It is a busy and exciting time! Here is the link to the English site for Drum Fest and the Marimba/Vibraphone Competition:
The deadline to register is the 10th of September. There are two age categories and the list of required music is at the link above. Sign up now! Students from all over the world have participated in this festival (including UNT students) and they loved it! I think it is a great way to perform, meet international guest artists and hear wonderful music! This competition is co-sponsored by Ragtime Music, Innovative Percussion, Bergerault, Adams and several other percussion companies. And when you are not at the competition, you can enjoy the lovely city of Opole! Have I mentioned how wonderful the food is in Poland? Come join us for the 25th Anniversary of Drum Fest!
Here are a few pictures from past festivals:
Keiko Abe and Mark in rehearsal with the Opole Philharmonic:
Katarzyna Mycka in performance with the symphony:
She-e Wu in rehearsal with the Opole Philharmonic:
Anders Astrand, Mark, Keiko Abe, Wojtek Lasek, Frederic Macarez and Paul Rennick after the final round of the competitions:
Mark with percussionists Krzysztof Jaguszewski, Jacek Wota and the orchestra conductor after the premier of Stubernic Fantasy in 2012:
Anders Astrand, Katarzyna Mycka, finalist Evelin Szilvási and Pius Cheung:
Pius Cheung took this picture after his performance at Drum Fest! Wow!
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