Super Marimba, Live at University of New Hampshire, 11​.​22​.​10

by Payton MacDonald

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November 22, 2010

I began the day with a two-hour trail run in the New Hampshire woods. At 11:00 I gave a lecture on the influence of Hindustani music on American Experimental music, then I shared a wonderful lunch with Daniel Beller-McKenna, a smart and engaging musicology professor at UNH. After lunch I wandered around the campus, meditating on endurance sports and experimental music, enjoying the crisp air and the fall sunshine. I wound up in the library and enjoyed some quiet time to read and doze on a couch. At 6:00 I unloaded my electronic gear and started setting up and sound checking. I was performing in a large rehearsal room that presented some interesting feedback challenges, most of which I smoothed out, some of which I shrugged my shoulders at. That's the beauty of my set up. Every room is a new sound world. I respond to my environment, feedback and all.

By 8:00 the space was packed, and the ushers had to create another row of chairs. We dimmed the lights and I began. I started with a few pieces I commissioned from other composers, then improvised freely for a bit, then played the block of Super Marimba music you have here. My energy level was very high, with razor-sharp focus. I felt a real connection with the audience and the long run in the morning in the woods had once again renewed that Sense of Wonder that I prize so highly, the fountainhead of all my artistic activities, the feeling I seek with every note I improvise, compose, and play. A half hour passed very quickly, I completely forgot about where I was or what I was doing. One of the most enjoyable performances of my life.

Special thanks to my dear friend Rob Haskins for hosting me. Thanks also to Daniel Beller-McKenna and Nancy Smith for their hospitality.

Super Marimba is an acoustic marimba, four microphones (Rhode NT 150s), a 12-channel mixer, two Boss RC20XL pedals, two Boss D1 distortion pedals, two 10" Eon speakers, a mess of cables, about 100 different mallets, and my imagination.


released December 9, 2010
Recorded by Chris Hoefs and Amanda Morgan, with a stereo pair of Neumann TLM193 microphones in ORTF configuration

Mastered by Colin Rieser

Cover Art by Sir Poecilotheria striata



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Payton MacDonald New York, New York

Payton MacDonald (b. 1974) is a percussionist, singer, composer, and educator. He studied music at the University of Michigan and the Eastman School of Music. He is currently a professor at William Paterson University in Wayne, NJ. He frequently tours as a marimba soloist. ... more

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