One Marimba, Extra Spice

Concert is sold out. Doors open at 6:30.


The hand is faster than the eye, especially if you are the spicy marimbist Mark Goodenberger, who will mesmerize all with his talented playing of both marimba and vibraphone at our upcoming 2016 Valentine Concert, Sat. Feb. 13 at the Merc Playhouse.

Mark Goodenberger, smiling, sitting in front of his marimba.

During the concert Mark will perform three pieces: Schism, a solo performance, Phantom Train for violin and vibraphone, and LigNEouS 1 for Marimba and String Quartet by Andy Akiho. The remainder of the concert is filled with traditional romantic works for strings by Schubert and Rachmaninov. We hope you enjoy this intoxicating intermixture of new and old romantic music for the Valentine holiday.

Mark leads an active musical life writing, performing, and inventing all things related to the marimba. His newest solo composition, Schism, is dedicated to his two young daughters, Noelle and Sophia. It was written in 2015.

Mark Goodenberger with one of his daughters.

Asked about the motivation for this new work, he explained, "Schism was composed at a time when I was living in a town four hours away from my young daughters. During my weekly drives to and from visiting them, I was constantly struck by the variances of landscape, from the high desert-like steppes in the foothills of the northern Cascades, through the mountains, descending into the stunning beauty and depth of the Columbia River gorge, to the metropolis of Portland, Oregon. Schism represents that distance and divide in our existences."

Not only is the piece emotionally beautiful, but the score looks amazing to anyone not familiar with the range of technical ability possed by a professional percussianist.

On the inventions front, Mark is likely the only person you have met that has a line of marimba mallets named after him. Normally, a marimbist plays using four mallets. For Mark, that was not enough, so Amy Putnam at A. Putnam Mallets created for him the Goodenberger G-Line Mix, which is a heavy weight set of six mallets, graded in hardness and size from a large, soft mallet to a small, hard one, all with a consistent mellow and dark tone throughout. Mark still only plays using four mallets at a time, but having six available at the ready lets him quickly mix and match the different hardnesses in a single performance to dramatically increase his range of tonal depth and articulation. You'll see that at the concert.

A set of six Mark Goodenberger G-Mix Signature Series Marimba Mallets arrayed on a table.

Because Mark likes arts visual as well as musical, the head of each Goodenberger G-Line Mix Signature Series Marimba Mallet comes wrapped with three different colors of wool and nylon blend yarn representing the natural landscape of the earth, sky and clouds that surround Ellensburg, WA in the great Pacific Northwest.

Mark Goodenberger with the Salem Chamber Orchestra.

Here is a recording of Mark playing the Concerto for Marimba and Strings (2005) by Emmanuel Sejourne. The recording was made in September of 2014 with the Salem Chamber Orchestra.


About Mark

Mark Goodenberger, percussionist and composer, is the Director of Percussion Studies at Central Washington University in Ellensburg, WA. As a specialist in Symphonic and Chamber music, he has worked with composers such as Steve Reich, Libby Larsen, Chen Yi, George Crumb, Karlheinz Stockhausen, Elliott Carter, Lou Harrison, Zhou Long, Tomas Svoboda, Forrest Pierce, Mark Polishook, and Chinary Ung, premiering many new works. He is also active as a baroque specialist, performing the kettledrums with the Portland Baroque Orchestra, Seattle Baroque, and Trinity Consort. As a concert recitalist, he performs many pieces of his own, written for a wide variety of instruments. His compositions range from solos to works for mixed ensembles, to pieces that join elements of theater, dance and vaudeville into the diverse world of percussion. In 2013, he was awarded the Outstanding Faculty Artistic Achievement Award by Central Washington University's College of Arts and Humanities. He is a Yamaha performing artist, a member of the Vic Firth Education team, and is proud to endorse the Goodenberger G-LINE Mix marimba mallets made by Amy Putnam Mallets. He holds a Bachelor of Music Education degree from Lewis and Clark College and a Masters of Music in Performance degree from the University of Michigan.