May 16: Mario Marini, percussion

Performing: Combination No. 2: Bookwork by Mario Marini

Paired with Artwork: Untitled (Rags), 2016 by Kevin Beasley

Musician statement: Beasley’s work Untitled (Rags), relates to my musical piece in more ways than I ever expected when I started searching for a connected artwork. First, Beasley uses objects not traditionally related to sculpture (house dresses, kaftans, du-rags) and utilizes them in that medium by soaking them in resin, ensuring they harden. This directly correlates to my musical idea of combining two seemingly-opposed concepts. This connection is further cemented in the museum’s description, “His works refer to a tradition of twentieth-century abstract painting, but also embrace and reposition objects of black material culture.” I see the direction and natural flow of the now-hardened textiles as reminiscent of the chance operations heavily employed in my work. Whether it is his process or not, I can imagine the artist dipping the cloth in resin, placing it on the backing however it may organically fall and leaving it there to harden. I see this most in the forms produced by the du-rags. Yet another connection is Beasley’s interest in sound. He is known for adding microphones to his sculptures and this specific work uses acoustic foam as its stable backing. Beyond the obvious musical connection, the small, continuous wedges of the foam add a constant motion to the work that is similar to the relentless rhythm found throughout percussion. When this work was pointed out to me, I immediately felt it represented the same themes seen in my musical offering and that feeling only grew as I continued to contemplate.

About the music: Combination No. 2: Bookwork is derived from a project in which I began combining unlikely aspects of music into a single piece. This second part of the larger project, Combination No. 2: Bookwork, takes a portion of its inspiration from the writings and performances of John Cage, combining his popularized chance operations with the strict academia of method books. The instruments, all selected from world percussion, are chosen by a dice roll. The method books are cut into segments and tossed on the floor, separated into odds and evens and then chosen by a dice roll. As each performance potentially utilizes different instruments, different music and that music likely being in a different order, every single performance is a unique experience.

Mario Marini is a percussion performer and educator living in Columbus, Ohio. He is currently adjunct professor and director of percussion studies at the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio. He has previously served as adjunct professor at Muskingum University, assistant percussion director at Pickerington North and Dublin Coffman High Schools and spent ten years as director of percussion at Howland High School in Warren, Ohio. As a performer, Marini has appeared as soloist with orchestras and bands across Ohio, serves as principle percussionist with the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra and is a section player in multiple Central Ohio orchestras. He has appeared in three consecutive OMEA Professional Development Conferences: twice as an instructor of the PHSN Percussion Ensemble and once as a clinician. He also performed with the OSU Percussion Ensemble at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention in Austin, Texas. An active researcher, Marini’s D.M.A. Document explores the notation of percussion in modern wind band compositions. This research has led to an ongoing project to update and redefine a standard notation for percussion. His academic achievements have been recognized by induction into Pi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society. He earned his D.M.A. and B.M. from The Ohio State University and M.M. from Belmont University. Marini began his percussion studies at the age of 10 in Warren, Ohio and his primary teachers have included Susan Powell, Christopher Norton, Joseph Krygier, Todd London and Tony Ferderber.