Flute and Marimba Four-Hands, one movement (2003) ca. 6’30”
Commissioned by Queens Council on the Arts for the ensemble Percussia, Ingrid Gordon, director.
Listen to an excerpt performed by Nicole Camacho, flute, with Chris Bonacorsa and Cesare Papetti, marimba:
Score and parts available for hard-copy purchase from Steve Weiss Music, or purchase a PDF of the score and parts via PayPal for $9:
Kusanganisa is a Shona word, which describes the idea of ‘mixture’. This piece is an arrangement of a work originally written for Flute, Violin, Cello, Percussion and Mbira, a sort of thumb piano of Zimbabwean origin. I chose the title to reflect the mixture of instruments from different cultures and the mixture of cultural influences I hope you’ll hear in the piece; the mbira passages translated to the upper register of the marimba in the middle of the piece, for example. Kusanganisa was commissioned by the Queens Council for the Arts for Ingrid Gordon and her ensemble, Percussia. I rearranged the piece at the request of three of my (now former) students at Hofstra University.
4 thoughts on “Kusanganisa (Flute and Marimba 4-hands)”
Thank you for adapting this piece for alto saxophone and marimba for Percussia’s performance at the New Directions in Percussion Festival at Cornell this past Spring. The flute version is great; the saxophone version gives a completely different vibe: more raw, which I really like! Needless to say, we’ve presented it many times since around NYC and hope to play it more!
I was one of the lucky percussionists to work with Charles as he was first reworking the piece for two percussionists and flute. The piece’s mixture of cultures is very clear in the marimba’s imitation of an mbira as well as the extended techniques utilized by the flute. The piece is a great deal of fun to perform and its playful character is a welcome addition to many concerts. Kusanganisa is always well received at our performances.
First and foremost, Charlie is a terrific composer. His piece Kusanganisa is a treat not only for audiences, but performers as well: beautiful, challenging, and drawing on a wide range of influences. And as someone who commissions a large number of works every year, I can also say that Charlie is an absolute pleasure to work with.
I had the privilege of playing Kusanganisa a couple of times during graduate school and it was an absolute pleasure to learn and peform. The marimba/flute combination has always been a favorite of mine and getting the opportunity to not only work with a talented flute player but also with one of my percussion colleagues at the same time was an extra treat. There are many pieces for flute/marimba and for flute/percussion but there are very few pieces for two percussion and flute which makes Kusanganisa even more special. The piece is beautifully written and presents musical and timing challenges between the two percussionists alone as well as between the percussionists and the flute. The piece also presents unique technical challenges for the flute. Kusanganisa is very well received by both the educated as well as the uneducated musical audiences. It would be a welcome addition to any graduate or professional percussion or flute recital. I hope to have many more opportunities to perform this piece. Bravo Charles!