A multicultural soundscape

von Lale Pekkip


Anyone who entered the Hochschule für Musik in Frankfurt at the end of September, at first probably did not know what hit him. Hearing music every once in a while when you enter this institute is not really surprising. However, being covered by a sound layer of warm, soft, but clear notes that one had rarely or never heard before, regardless of where in the building one is situated, was new. But where did these notes come from?

32 people from nearly twenty countries came together for ten days to participate in the IV. International Katarzyna Mycka Marimba Academy (IKMMA) 2009, a masterclass for marimbaphone.

There was no actual competition, but rather the wish to make music together. It was not about asserting oneself; the participants wanted to learn from and get inspired by each other. Besides, they were glad to make new friendships.

The students were lucky to have such great lecturers as Eric Sammut, one of the most famous marimba players of the world, Svet Stoyanov, who despite his young age already holds the chair of percussion studies at the university of Miami, furthermore Rainer Römer, member of the Ensemble Modern and professor of percussion at the Frankfurt Conservatory, and of course the eponym of the academy, Katarzyna Mycka, who is worldwide known as a marimba-solist, a chamber musician and – not least because of the foundation of the IKMMA – as the “ambassador for marimba”.

Thus, the warm soundscape that you could dive into as a visitor, came from marimbas; however, not only from these but also from the amicable atmosphere and the cordiality amongst the participants.

Particularly the gathering of the most diverse cultures generated the diversified and lively atmosphere.

Hence it comes as no surprise to anyone that true marimba-greats as the Tchiki Duo from Switzerland, the Slovenian Percussion Duo, the American Julie Spencer or Ney Rosauro from Brazil came by for one or more days to give concerts and hold workshops.

Now, that all participants have travelled back to their homecountries, it is unusually quiet in the conservatory. But the memories of this wonderful, intensive time will linger on for a while. And the anticipation of a reunion at the next IKMMA is great.