The mellow sounds of the marimba played by world-class percussionist Ji Su Jung filled the Duffy Theatre on Tuesday, December 5. The performance, which also included a presentation and question and answer session, was made possible by Dr. Bill Carr ’68, Malvern Prep’s Artist in Residence, in collaboration with The Curtis Institute of Music.
In introducing Jung, Dr. Carr asked the audience to focus on the element of rhythm noting, “When you think about rhythm, everything we do in our lives is to rhythm. We talk in a rhythm. Our hearts beat to a rhythm. We walk in a rhythm. There’s nothing that we don’t do that isn't affected by rhythm - it’s a form of communication.”
Jung’s performance included works from Bach, Tōru Takemitsu, Keith Jarrett, and even the Beatles! She explained that the marimba instrument itself is just over 50 years old. When playing pieces that were composed over 300 years ago, the music is borrowed and translated for the marimba. Jung also explained the instrument to the students, demonstrating the different pieces that work together to create the unique marimba sound.
During the Q & A session, Jung shared with students that she was introduced to the marimba by her mother at the age of three. She shared that both of her parents were lovers of music and encouraged her love of music as well. She now plays four instruments: piano, flute, violin, and marimba.
When discussing the hard work and discipline that accompany her level of talent, Jung shared that at one time she practiced 12-14 hours a day. At the end of the day, no matter what the students pursue, Jung encouraged them to “know your limit, and you have to be OK with it. Nobody is perfect and everyone has a limit…that is OK.”