Percussion concert to feature world premiere

An original new composition by Red Deer’s Cheryl Cooney will make its debut at the World of Percussion Concert on April 3 and 4.

Percussionist Bruce Landmark plays his marimba in his Ponoka area studio. Landmark will be performing with other musicians at The Matchbox on April 3 and 4.

An original new composition by Red Deer’s Cheryl Cooney will make its debut at the World of Percussion Concert on April 3 and 4.

World-renowned percussionist Bruce Landmark, of Ponoka, promises to deliver “an eclectic evening of variety and virtuosity” at The Matchbox theatre in Red Deer, with help from singer Sharon Braun and a group of his most talented students.

Cooney’s Suite of Three Pieces for Percussion will be performed with bongo, tom and snare drums, cymbals, glockenspiel and the marimba.

Cooney, a pianist, retired Red Deer College instructor and associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre, has had her compositions performed in South America and Europe. But she’s always thrilled to have a piece premiere in her hometown.

The unusual suite will be “great fun. I’ve heard them rehearse it,” said Cooney, who’s had CDs recorded of her works, including Windsong-Haida Dawn and The Kiev Symphony Plays Works of Cheryl Cooney, featuring vocals by Braun.

Landmark is master of the marimbas, which he describes as “an eight-foot xylophone.”

Before retiring to his native Ponoka, Landmark played as a principal percussionist with some of the largest orchestras in the world, including Orchestra Symphonic de Maracaibo in Venezuela and the Indianapolis Philharmonic in the U.S. He also played with theatre orchestras in Basil, Switzerland and Berlin.

Among the pieces Landmark adapted for the marimbas is Bach’s Fantasy Fugue, which will be performed at the Red Deer concert.

Musicians will also play Glory, Glory Hallelujah on the snare drums, with Braun contributing vocals. And Landmark said an unforgettable version of Ava Maria will also be sung by Braun, whom he called “a virtuoso,” noting the arrangement requires “vocal stretches” few singers can pull off.

Braun, a frequent guest soloist with the Red Deer Symphony, has sung in the choruses of the Calgary and Edmonton operas. The Royal Conservatory of Toronto graduate has studied and performed in Argentina, and recorded Clooney’s Chansons with the Kiev Symphony Orchestra. She continues to co-direct the Red Deer Chamber Singers.

Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. concerts are $25 ($20 for students, seniors) from The Matchbox box office.

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