Garrett Arney & Mari Yoshinaga

arx duo

arx duo is an electrifying new percussion duo featuring young artists Mari Yoshinaga and Garrett Arney. Their passion and excitement for the developing genre of percussion chamber music is palpable every time they take the stage. Born from a deep-seated respect for the score, their performances are powered by a strong symbiotic musical vision, and colored with a unique creativity. Their desire to forge new connections and artistic pathways - or "arcs" - within the genre, expanding the opportunities for percussion performance, forms the inspiration for the name "arx duo".

With a repertoire ranging from established masters to todays newest compositional voices, arx duo has worked closely with composers such as Alejandro Vinao, James Wood, and Gaudeamus Prize winner Ted Hearne. Always seeking opportunities to bring percussion to a wide variety of audiences, the group has recently collaborated with pianists Boris Berman and Lisa Moore.

The duo is the latest in the legacy of spectacular percussive chamber musicians coming from the Yale School of Music’s percussion studio directed by Robert van Sice. arx duo performed at Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in addition to performances and outreaches along the east coast. arx duo will debut in Japan this December, and will be the ensemble in residence at the Lake George Music Festival in New York.




I. A Spanish Groove II. Colours of a Groove
III. Texture Groove IV. Dance Groove Drifting

Robert Van Sice Signature Keyboard
Soft. An ideal mallet for pieces such as the Bach Cello Suites.
L = 17"
  [enlarge photo]
Robert Van Sice Signature Keyboard
Medium. The most popular model in the series. Features an extraordinary range of color‚ which is easily manipulated by the performer.
L = 17"
  [enlarge photo]
Robert Van Sice Signature Keyboard
Medium. The most popular model in the series‚ this mallet covers the entire range of the marimba and produces a singing sound that is full of life.
L = 17"
  [enlarge photo]

About the piece:

Book of Grooves (2011)

The 'groove' or 'feel' of a piece is understood to consist of a pattern or sequence that repeats periodically in such a way as to create in the listener the desire to move, or dance, or to foot-tap following the repeated rhythm. A groove is therefore a rhythm 'locked' into a pattern of repetition. To 'unlock' a groove would mean -to some extent- to threaten its very existence. This is precisely what happens in this piece. The grooves are presented at first in their simple 'locked' form, so that the listener may swing unequivocally with the initial grooves. But gradually these grooves are 'unlocked', that is to say, they are subjected to transformations that change the point at which they repeat. In this way the shape of each groove is changed.

This involves a risk because the listener may stop feeling the 'desire to move' with the groove. If this were to happen, one could say that the groove has been 'killed'. My idea in Book of Grooves was to explore changes that would transform each groove without 'killing' it.

It is a risky compositional strategy: new grooves must be created or 'cloned' from the original ones without disturbing the delicate balance that makes the music 'groove'. If the piece is successful the listener should be able to follow the process of 'unlocking' or changing of the original grooves into new ones, and experience this as a voyage of transformation. But unlike what happens with grooves in popular music, in Book of Grooves the voyager never returns to the port of departure. The process is not cyclical but developmental. And yet, while the music material is permanently transforming into something new, I wanted to make sure that the listener would never ceases to 'swing' with a groove.

- A.V. April 2011

About the composer:

Alejandro Vinao (b. April 9, 1951) studied composition with the Russian composer Jacobo Ficher in Buenos Aires. In 1975 he moved to Britain where he continued his studies at the Royal College of Music and the City University in London. He has been resident in Britain since then. In 1988 he was awarded a PhD. D. in composition at the City University.

In 1994 Alejandro Viñao was awarded the Guggenheim fellowship in composition. His piece Apocryphal Dances was premiered by the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London in 1997. The same year Viñao was invited to Japan to present his music in a Portrait Concert. Later that year, his chamber opera Rashomon was premiered in Germany. This work was commissioned by ZKM for the opening of their new building in Karlsruhe. Since then Rashomon has been produced in Paris, London and Gothenburg.

Viñao has written music for a wide range of musical genre including opera, music-theatre, choral, instrumental and electro-acoustic compositions. He has also been involved with the creation of multimedia works, has composed music for some 20 films and produced several radio programmes for the BBC.


Mari Yoshinaga

Percussionist Mari Yoshinaga has performed to acclaim both in her native Japan and in the United States, equally outstanding in solo, chamber music, and orchestral settings.

In this 2013/14 season, Mari will be back at Verizon Hall at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts Center in Philadelphia, performing Bartok’s Sonata for two pianos, percussion and orchestra as one of the soloists with the Curtis Symphony Orchestra. Also, she will be returning to Japan for recitals in Tokyo and Kagoshima in December. In addition, her freshly established percussion group, arx duo will be invited as an ensemble in residence at Lake George Music Festival.

Mari has enjoyed a varied performing schedule since coming to the States to study timpani and percussion with Don Liuzzi, principal timpanist of Philadelphia Orchestra in 2007. As an orchestral percussionist, she has performed throughout the US and Asia. She has worked with conductors such as Simon Rattle, Charles Dutoit, Christoph Eschenbach, Raphael Fruhbeck de Burgos, and Alan Gilbert. Mari has performed with the Kansas City Symphony, Symphony in C, the Opera Company of Philadelphia, New Haven Chamber Orchestra, Delphi Chamber Orchestra, and Black Pearl Chamber Orchestra. She was also a member of Curtis Symphony Orchestra for opening the Dresden Music Festival in Germany in May 2012.

Mari is a great lover of collaboration with other musicians. She was invited as a residency artist at the Yellow Barn Chamber Music Festival to perform Le Noir de l'Etoile, a percussion sextet by Gerard Grisey. Other recent collaborations include performances with eighth blackbird and a world premier/CD recording of Partita: Suite for Guitar and Percussion by Paul Lansky with guitarist David Starobin. Mari has had the privilege of working with a number of composers including George Crumb, Martin Bresnick, Joan Tower, Paul Lansky, and James Wood.

Mari was born in Kagoshima, Japan. Immersed in music from an early age, she began studying piano at age three, marimba at age five, euphonium at ten, cello at eleven, and percussion at twelve. She holds a Diploma in comparitive culture from the Minami Academy iBS Language School, after which she received a Bachelor of Music from the Curtis Institute of Music and is currently pursuing her Master of Music degree at the Yale School of Music where she is a member of the Yale Percussion Group directed by Robert van Sice.

Garrett Arney

A highly valued chamber musician and gifted soloist, percussionist Garrett Arney has demonstrated a deep commitment to the developing genre of percussion music. Whether taking a fresh look at the established percussion repertoire, bringing to the stage groundbreaking new works from major composers, or exploring and pushing the boundaries of the genre in new and fascinating artistic directions, Garrett's overriding passion for the music is always in evidence.

Garrett is currently the percussionist for Ensemble ACJW, performing in Carnegie Hall and at the Julliard School of Music with some of the top young professional musicians. In addition to these performances, the group organizes residencies at Skidmore College, as well as participating in many forms of outreach within New York City. Developing skills in performance as well as teaching, members of the group are trained to possess the abilities to create and be leaders of their fields. Garrett's orchestral experiences have led him to work with conductors such as James Conlon, Helmuth Rilling, Krysztof Penderecki, and Peter Oundjian.

Focusing in chamber music, Garrett and his duo partner Mari Yoshinaga have formed an exciting new percussion group known as arx duo, dedicated to developing the percussion repertoire and teaching a wide range of students. The duo has performed in Japan, Africa, and varies cities in the US, as well as participated as Ensemble in Residence in the 2014 Lake George Music Festival. In addition, Garrett has played with many other ensembles such as Sandbox Percussion Quartet, SO Percussion Quartet, and the Lunar Ensemble. He has performed with highly acclaimed soloists such as pianists Boris Berman and Lisa Moore, as well as percussionists Robert van Sice and Michael Burritt-both driving forces in the coming of age of the percussion genre.

Inspiring the creation of new works and opportunities for percussionists is of the utmost importance to Garrett. He was directly involved in the commissioning of Alejandro Vinao’s Book of Grooves for two marimbas, and performed the World Premiere in January of 2012 with percussionist Sao Aoki. In addition to this premiere, he has performed new works by Steve Reich, James Wood, John Luther Adams, and many promising young composers. Most recently, he collaborated in the recording of James Wood’s Cloud Polyphonies, a new work for percussion sextet.

Born and raised in Michigan, Garrett has a Bachelors Degree in music from Michigan State University where he studied with Gwen Dease, and a Master of Music from Peabody Conservatory as well as an Artist Diploma from Yale University, where he studied with the renowned performer and educator, Robert Van Sice.


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