Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Concert: Israeli Marimba Player Chen Zimbalista

The Israeli Embassy in Bulgaria announced that famous Israeli percussionist and marimba player, Chen Zimbalista, would be performing in Sofia with the New Symphony Orchestra, so we made plans to attend. Jodie went to Bulgaria Hall in the center of the city one Friday morning and successfully bought the tickets. When we arrived last night we were pleased to discover that we were seated in the sixth row, center.

According to what we learned about Chen, he "has dazzled audiences around the world with an enchanting array of rhythmic sounds that he cajoles from more than forty instruments, played with his lightening quick hands, some of them at the same time. His music - a euphonious blend of pulses and beats - defies classification."

The evening's program actually started with Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, which highlighted four very talented young violin soloists. Then a huge marimba was wheeled to the front of the stage, and Chen came on to perform Concerto for Marimba and String Orchestra, Op. 12, composed by Brazlian marimba artist Ney Rosauro. You can actually see and hear some of this piece on Chen's website.

The audience was very ecstatic, and Chen was called out for repeated encores. Once he came out with a tamborine and played it in an exciting way we had never heard before. The next time he came out with a special drum, and the final time he came out and the entire orchestra played one section of the Concerto a second time.

After Chen finished, there was a short intermission, although many people left the hall thinking that the orchestra's performance had concluded. We stayed for the last part of the evening, Mozart's Symphony No. 36.

We have another concert coming up tomorrow night, of a slightly different kind. You can never have too much culture...


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