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Rebecca Kite - The Artist and the Marimba (download)

Rebecca Kite has been performing as a marimba soloist for over twenty-five years, appearing in concert and in clinics across the United States and in Europe, Japan and Latin America.

Her recent performances include appearances at the Festival of Vibraphone and Marimba in Lima, Peru in January 2011, the Cultural Foundation for the Arts in Patagonia, Argentina in July 2006, and in Valencia, Spain in July 2004. Her two South American tours in 2003 and 2004 included performances and master classes in Argentina, Brazil and Chile. She has performed in such venues as Uporo Hall in Tokyo, The Kennedy Center in Washington DC, Vredenberg Hall in The Netherlands, and Sundin Hall in St. Paul, Minnesota, as well as numerous colleges, high schools, art museums and non-traditional venues across the United States.

In addition to her performance career, Kite is an internationally known percussion educator. She has taught in the master class setting and has worked with percussion students of all ages. Kite has been Artist in Residence at the Cultural Foundation for the Arts in Rio Negro Patagonia, Argentina (September 2000), The University of Miami School of Music (fall semester 1999) and at SUNY Fredonia. She has appeared as both a marimba and percussion clinician and guest artist at numerous high schools and colleges in the United States and Japan, including Toho Conservatory, Interlochen, Indiana University School of Music, The University of Missouri at Kansas City Conservatory of Music, and The University of Maryland.

Kite has received two Master Fellowships as a marimba soloist from the Indiana Arts Commission and was a finalist in the 1986 Pro Musicus Competition. In 1999, she won an American Composers Forum grant to fund the commission of a new marimba piece by Bruce Hamilton.

Her music may be heard on her two solo marimba recordings, "Across Time" (1993) and "Prism" (1996) both published by GP Percussion and available through Amazon.com, iTunes and international percussion specialty shops.

In addition to performing, Kite has strong interests in two areas that enrich her performance and presentations: Japanese musical aesthetics and musical instrument acoustics and design.

Kite studied Japanese (both the language and literature) at the Indiana University East Asian Studies Department to give greater depth to her understanding of Japanese culture and music. Ongoing work includes study of Buddhism, Shinto and Zen and their influence on Japanese music and aesthetics.

The Marimba

The concert marimba is a modern day descendent of African and Asian xylophones. It is made of rosewood bars suspended over resonators. By wielding two, four, and even six mallets to strike the instrument, Kite brings to life the rich and beautiful sounds of the marimba. The cultural heritage and versatility of this instrument give her the opportunity to perform music of a wide variety of styles. These include the music of J. S. Bach, John Dowland, Fernando Sor and Mauro Giuliani in transcriptions of lute and guitar music, Japanese music, which has a beautiful, compelling, New Age Classical sound, and music inspired by the African xylophone and Javanese Gamelan.

Marimba and Percussion Biography (download)

Rebecca Kite is an internationally recognized marimba soloist and teacher. She has performed in concerts, and participated in master classes, residencies, and clinics in venues throughout the United States, as well as in Europe, Central and South America, and Japan.

Kite's work as a marimba soloist may be heard on her two solo CD recordings, Across Time and Prism. A resident of the Washington, DC area since 2001, she is a touring artist in the Virginia Commission for the Arts Touring Program and has performed on the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center, The National Theater, James Madison University, and numerous other venues statewide.

As an educator, she has published numerous articles in Percussive Notes, the main publication of the Percussive Arts Society, and she has authored a method book, Reading Mallet Percussion Music, and edited the Anthology of Lute and Guitar Music for Marimba. Her most recent book project, Keiko Abe: A Virtuosic Life - Her Musical Career and the Evolution of the Concert Marimba, undertaken with Abe's permission and assistance, required six years to research and write. Her teaching experience includes positions at the University of Maryland at College Park, University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN), University of Minnesota and her private studio.

In addition to her primary artistic focus as a marimbist, Kite's timpani and percussion performance career includes positions with the Minnesota Opera Orchestra and the Plymouth Music Series Orchestra in Minnesota. She was timpanist of the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra, and the National Symphony of Nicaragua. Kite has performed in a variety of theatrical and Broadway show settings, as well, and is recorded on Hello Dolly, the 1994 Cast Album, with Carol Channing. In the DC area she has performed with The Washington Chorus, Eclipse Chamber Orchestra, Cathedral Choral Society, Signature Theater, National Theater, and Baltimore Opera.

Kite pursues her interest in contemporary music by commissioning and premiering works for solo marimba. She is currently working on an extended collaboration with jazz composer Joan Griffith (the two works produced thus far are Baiao and Jazz Suite for Marimba). Other recent commissioning projects include collaborations with Bruce Hamilton (funded by an American Composers Forum Grant), which resulted in the composition, Recurrences, with Nebjosha Zivcovic, resulting in Ilijash; and with Evan Hause, resulting in the six-mallet work, Circe premiered in NYC in 2003.

Kite studied percussion with George Gaber at Indiana University, where she received a master's degree in percussion performance. She also undertook advanced study in timpani with Cloyd Duff, and advanced study in marimba with Keiko Abe.

Kite is the co-patentee on two U.S. patents for timpani design, from her work with GP Percussion Timpani Manufacturers, during the 1980's. She has served on the Percussive Arts Society's Board of Directors (1994-1997), and received the PAS Outstanding Service Award in 1999 (for her work in helping create the society's World Percussion Network website). She was also founder and chair of the PAS Marimba Committee from 1998 to 2002. Kite resides in Leesburg, Virginia.

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