This gracefully named and unusual instrumental duo was founded by violinist Sharan Leventhal and marimba player Nancy Zeltsman. The ensemble name itself is an amalgam of their instruments — the marim(-ba) and the (vi-)olin.” Numerous works composed for them inventively explore the many exciting timbral combinations possible with these instruments.” –

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“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)

Founded in 1985, Marimolin was extremely active until 1996, and has also performed occasionally since 2015. The team premiered over 80 pieces including works by Robert Aldridge (who introduced them), Gunther Schuller, Simon Bainbridge, Steven Mackey, Joan Huang, Lyle Mays, and Alejandro Viñao.

The duo recorded three albums. Their debut CD Marimolin (GM Recordings, produced by Gunther Schuller) received wide acclaim including being named “Classical CD of the Month” in CD Review magazine, and receiving a perfect “10/10” rating (for performance/sound quality, March 1990). The duo’s third CD, Combo Platter (Catalyst/BMG, out of print) was named “Disc of the Month” in the June 1995 issue of CD Review

Leventhal and Zeltsman performed on numerous concert series across the United States and in Puerto Rico, England, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Sweden including the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, the Ravinia Festival, and the Huddersfield Festival of Contemporary Music (England). They were heard and interviewed on on WGBH-Radio Boston, WQXR and WNYC-Radio/New York, B.B.C. Radio/London, and Swedish and Austrian radio. The duo raised over $68,000 to commission new works through many grants, and sponsored a composition contest for eight years that collectively attracted nearly 200 entries from around the world.

Recent videos include La Resistencia by Leo Blanco, Through the Looking Glass by Steven Snowden, and Goodness by Nancy Zeltsman.

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

– Harris Goldsmith, The Strad (March 1988)

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Selected Marimolin pieces 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


Photos: Susan Wilson (#1-3), Allen Navratil (#4, with Gunther Schuller), Carol Weinberg (#5), Claudia Hansen (#6)

Copyright 2024 Nancy Zeltsman