The SUNY Fredonia School of Music will present the Keiko Abe Academy on the Fredonia campus, this Monday through Friday. Hailed by The New York Times as "a rare virtuoso," Japanese marimba artist Abe is regarded worldwide as the leading marimba master, and will spend five days working with academy participants in master classes and giving public concerts.
Always a pioneer in the music world, Abe has that rare combination of virtuosic technical talent and extraordinary musical sensitivity. By both pioneering new technical skills and expanding the literature, Abe has transformed what was once considered a primitive "Folk" instrument into a full-fledged concert instrument welcome in any of the most prestigious concert halls. In addition to her work as Professor of Marimba at Toho Gakuen School of Music in Tokyo, Abe maintains a full schedule of composing and touring. Sensei Abe was at the fore of the development of the concert grand five octave marimba, consulting and guiding the development of the first concert grand five octave marimba that set the standard for the current state-of-the art instruments that we embrace today.
"Keiko Abe's presence on our campus will enrich the cultural life of our students, our community, and many other participants that we expect will attend this Academy," said Kay Stonefelt, SUNY Fredonia percussion professor and lead organizer of the Keiko Abe Academy. "While Abe brings with her the highest degree of performance and the very essence of Japanese marimba music, she also brings an enthusiasm for life and a dedication to excellence that is undeniably infectious."
Japanese marimba virtuoso Keiko Abe will give a week-long residency at SUNY Fredonia including public performances.
The five-day event begins on Monday with a kick-off concert in Rosch Recital Hall at 8 p.m. This concert will feature a performance by Abe, several of her advanced students who are traveling from Japan to attend the Academy at Fredonia, and SUNY Fredonia's ensembles of Mexican marimba, Ghanian gyil and balafon of Guinea. General admission tickets for this concert are $6.
The week-long Academy culminates with a Gala Performance and Reception with Sensei Abe on Friday at 8 p.m. in Rosch Recital Hall. A spectacular showcase highlighting Abe and the most advanced participants from the weeklong residency will present a rare performance of arrangements of Abe's repertoire. General admission tickets are $12.
Both performances are open to the public. Tickets are available by calling the Fredonia Ticket Office at 673-3501 or online at www.fredonia.edu/tickets. Any remaining tickets will be available at the door.
A truly international event, the Academy is drawing students from Japan, Peru, Taiwan, and China, as well as from various locations in the U.S. The 35-plus participants will attend workshops and performances with Abe and her collaborative teachers.
In addition to the importance of the Fredonia Keiko Abe Academy, there is a rich history and series of connections that tie this marimba master to SUNY Fredonia. According to SUNY Fredonia Percussion Professor Emeritus, Ted Frazeur, SUNY Fredonia was the first college campus on which Abe ever performed, which was during the 1980s. In the US, the first Abe master class/workshop was a privately sponsored event, organized by Kay Stonefelt and Rebecca Kite in New Harmony, Indiana, in 1985.
The Keiko Abe Academy at SUNY Fredonia is generously supported by: Steve Weiss Music, The Hillman Memorial Music Association, SUNY Fredonia Emeritus Professor Theodore Frazeur, the College of Arts and Sciences, Academic Affairs, the Fredonia College Foundation's Carnahan-Jackson Humanities Fund, Yamaha Corporation and the SUNY Fredonia School of Music. For more information about the Keiko Abe Academy, visit www.fredonia.edu/music/KeikoAbe.