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Man on marimba

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One award-winning drummer and composer will take different approach to classical music. Instead of violin or piano, he’ll play the marimba.

Professional percussionist Christopher Whyte will perform a guest recital at 4:10 p.m. today in Kimbrough Concert Hall.

WSU Director of Bands Danh Pham invited the Portland, Oregon, percussionist Whyte to perform an artist residency (guest recital).

“It gives us a ‘non-Pullman’ flavor,” Pham said. “Chris is a young, very learned, very accomplished musician. He’s just kind of a rising star in the Pacific Northwest.”

Whyte will perform works by Bach, Bissell, Burritt, and Chopin on marimba.

Although these works were originally composed for other instruments, they have been transcribed for the marimba, with some edits Whyte made himself. Each piece features strictly four mallet work, which is a very technical skill for percussionists that requires holding two mallets in each hand. One piece notably features an electronic tape, which will engage the audience and bring forth something exceptionally unique and memorable, Pham said.

“Usually when you think percussion, you think of hitting things, and that it’s very rhythmic, but that’s not always it,” Pham said. “This is very melodic—it’s soothing and pretty.”

At the age of 31, Whyte has a doctorate of musical arts in percussion performance, works as an instructor and the director of percussion studies at the University of Oregon, and is a co-founder of the Portland Percussion Group. He also has had works published by companies such as Tapspace and Matrix, and he arranges percussion books for many high school marching bands.

Whyte has played with many ensembles such as the Oregon Symphony, the Atlantic

Symphony, and the Boston Civic Symphony. Recently, Whyte became a Yamaha Artist, which is very prestigious and uncommon for a performer of such a young age, Pham said.

“Chris is an immensely talented percussionist who is very well known in the

Northwest,” Pham said. “I’m very excited because it is a new face for everyone to meet and admire.”

The recital is a free, public event that will span approximately 30 minutes.

Reporting by Corin Uchuion

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Man on marimba