Marimolin

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Marimolin, Nancy’s duo with violinist Sharan Leventhal, was extremely active from 1985 to 1996, and has resumed occasional performances since 2015. Their work is responsible for what is likely the largest body of pieces – more than 80 – for marimba and any non-percussion instrument. 

Recent projects available on video include Goodness by Nancy Zeltsman, La Resistencia by Leo Blanco, and Through the Looking Glass by Steven Snowden. Their PASIC 2017 Showcase Concert presented an overview of past commissions. 


“You’d think a violin and marimba duo would be sort of a one-shot deal, but this Boston-based unit has created a repertoire and invented a genre.” 

– Kyle Gann, The Village Voice (October 1987)


In their eleven years of focused work together, Marimolin performed across the United States, in Puerto Rico, England, the Netherlands, Sweden, Germany and Austria. They appeared on WGBH-Radio Boston, WQXR and WNYC-Radio/New York, B.B.C. Radio/London, and Swedish and Austrian radio, and presented master classes at numerous schools. Marimolin raised over $68,000 to commission new works through numerous grants, and sponsored a composition contest for eight years which collectively attracted nearly 200 entries from around the world. The duo recorded three CDs that received wide acclaim.

“It’s no mere specialty act” [headline]

“The sheer substance, rigor and length of the works on Marimolin’s program [came] as a bracing surprise … [a] stunningly played program. Marimolin is much more than first in a field of one.” 

– Richard Buell, The Boston Globe (December 1992)


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Selected Marimolin commissions that are widely performed:

Tumblers by Alejandro Viñao (with electronics)
• Legal Highs by David P. Jones
Hop by Paul Lansky
Threedance by Robert Aldridge (with tabla)
Combo Platter by Robert Aldridge (with alto sax)
Phantasmata by Gunther Schuller
Duo for Violin and Marimba by Daniel Levitan


More reviews:

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“The uncommon combination of violin and marimba lent novelty and liveliness … Violinist Sharan Leventhal and marimbist Nancy Zeltsman gave alert, vigorous performances.” 

– Carl Cunningham, The Houston Post (January 1990)


"These are immensely serious artists who nevertheless understand that entertainment and enlightenment work hand in glove.”

– Harris Goldsmith, The Strad (March 1988)


Marimolin is the popular new kid in town [headline]

“There were a great many more people in attendance at the First and Second Church Saturday night than you might expect.

"Do composers welcome the opportunity to write something for the violin to go with other than that clangorous monster, the piano? The marimba keeps its distance timbrally from the violin, interweaves with it cleanly, and never overpowers – it is a certified sound of our times."

– Richard Buell, The Boston Globe (May 1987)


“They’re very physical players, and they exude excitement. Zeltsman dug into her bars the way a good pianist digs into the keys, and Leventhal glided around her strings with vigorous precision.” 

– Kyle Gann, The Village Voice


Photos: Claudia Hansen, Susan Wilson, Carol Weinberg

Copyright 2022 Nancy Zeltsman