McMurry to Host Marimba Madness

  Gary Ellison
  Tuesday, April 10, 2018 1:55 PM
  Archives 2017 - 2018

Abilene, TX

McMurry University is hosting the eighth annual Marimba Madness concert featuring guest artist Christopher Norton. The free concert, which also features regional high school, college and professional percussionists, is Friday, April 13 at 7 p.m. in the Ryan Recital Hall in the Ryan Fine Art Center. Seating will be limited so come early. In addition, Norton will be teaching a clinic at 5 p.m. on Friday.

 The concert has become a great tradition that allows players to perform for an avid audience with a love for the marimba. Students from Abilene High School, Cooper High School, Wylie High School, San Angelo Central High School and McMurry University will be performing.

Norton is professor of music and director of Percussion Studies at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee. Prior to joining the Belmont faculty in 2000, he taught at Western Kentucky University for fourteen years. His bachelor's and master's degrees are from the Eastman School of Music, and his doctorate is from Louisiana State University. Norton performs regularly as a percussionist with Nashville Symphony, Alias Chamber Ensemble, Sympatico Percussion Group, and the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra. Formerly, he performed, recorded, and toured with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Bob Becker Ensemble, and the Jack Daniel’s Silver Cornet Band. He has held core and auxiliary positions with the Rochester Philharmonic, Virginia Symphony, Baton Rouge Symphony, Alabama Symphony, and Eastern Philharmonic.

Norton’s solo marimba cd Christopher Norton: Creston Concertino for Marimba features several first edition recordings of twentieth-century American works. In 2012, Norton and his wife Leslie, principal horn of the Nashville Symphony, released This Road We’re On, a cd of horn-percussion duos they commissioned over the past twenty-five years.

 In 2011, Alias Chamber Ensemble was nominated for a Grammy for their disk featuring music of Gabriela Frank and including the premier recording of Danza de los Saqsampillos for two marimbas. Norton played percussion on several Nashville Symphony projects including the Grammy award-winning recording of the music of Michael Daugherty.

 Dr. Norton has given clinics and recitals in Europe and across the United States, most notably as a featured artist at Percussive Arts Society International Conventions and Days of Percussion. A past state chapter president of Percussive Arts Society, Norton currently serves as Chairman of the International Keyboard Percussion Committee. His compositions have been listed on required repertoire lists for international marimba competitions and are published by Alabaster Music, Innovative Percussion, and Pioneer Percussion. He is a Malletech artist.

 Also an active orchestral conductor, Norton is music director of the Nashville Philharmonic Orchestra. He held a similar post with the Bowling Green Western Symphony Orchestra and has guest conducted the Nashville Symphony, Nashville Chamber Orchestra, Nashville Ballet, and several university orchestras. He was one of five conductors participating in the Nashville Symphony’s performance of Charles Ives’s Universe Symphony in Carnegie Hall last May.

 For more information, please contact Juan Mendoza, visiting assistant professor of music, at 325-793-3836.

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Gary Ellison