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Vermilion Bird

Composer: Heng LIU

Instrument: Marimba

Level: Advanced

Published: 2022

Price: €25.00

Item details

  • Description +
    • Vermilion Bird is one of the four mythical creatures of heaven in ancient Chinese mythology. It originates from the worship of ancient stars and constellations. As the god of south, it represents Emperor Yan and the South Seven Constellations. It is the totem of fire, also the worship of the sun.

      This piece is dedicated to my wife NI Ranran.

  • Instrumentation +
    • Marimba (5-Octave)

  • About the composer +
    • Heng LIU is the principal percussion of the China National Centre for the Performing Arts Orchestra, executive director of China Percussion Association, artist of MEINL Percussion, MEINL Cymbals, Innovative Percussion, Marimba One, and Remo.

      Liu studied percussion from childhood with his father Yaguang LIU, professor of percussion at Xi 'an Conservatory of Music. In 2005, Liu was admitted to the Central Conservatory of Music. He studied with professor Gang LIU and professor Biao LI successively and obtained bachelor's and master's degrees. By the time he was 18, Liu had won the first prize in the National Youth Percussion Competition. Liu was a percussion jury of the Italian International Percussion Competition, where he also held master classes and special concerts. He also judges the annual International Network Percussion Competition and National Youth Percussion Competition.

      Between 2017 to 2019, Liu embarked on his improvisation and interactive percussion concert "Give me one hour" tour. The tour hit many major Chinese cities including Tianqiao Art Center in Beijing, Shanghai Oriental Art Center, Xi 'An concert hall, Shijiazhuang Center for the Performing Arts, etc. Liu performed entirely improvised sets based on interaction with the audience, bringing concertgoers a brand new musical experience.

      So far, Liu has published two albums: Percussion Visionary --Heng LIU Percussion Concert and DRUMS, an original album released by "Hei Chao" Duo with renowned drummer Yanchao LI. He also writes a personal column Heng LIU Said in music weekly.

As a percussionist, Liu has traveled to various music festivals around the world. These include: Italian International Percussion Competition and Festival, Greek International Percussion Competition and Festival, NCPA International Percussion Festival, Beijing International Electronic Music Festival, Beijing Modern Music Festival, Jazz Shanghai Music Festival, Strawberry Music Festival, MIDI Festival and so on.

      In the meanwhile, Liu has created more than 30 works, including percussion ensemble piece "The General", "Memory", "Face2Face", percussion and electronic music "Delay", "Percumotion", percussion solo "Rain the Blind Monk", "Wild LEO ", "Poem" and many more. In 2016, his Chinese Traditional Percussion solo piece "Gazing on Mountain TAI" won the 1st prize of China Traditional Music Festival - CCOM ethnic Percussion works collection competition.

      In 2019, Heng LIU won "Best Work Awards" and "Best All-round Percussionist" of 2019 Drummmer's Ceremony.

  • Reviews +
    • Percussive Notes, April 2023

      “Vermilion Bird” delightfully pairs virtuosity with melody by giving the audience and player all of the flash that they want without sacrificing a central theme and musicality. In ancient Chinese mythology a Vermilion Bird is one of the four mythical creatures of heaven; it represents fire and the worship of the sun. Heng Liu certainly embodies that in this piece with a bright theme and fiery cascade of notes.

      “Vermilion Bird” begins with a bang then quickly reduces to a simmer as the theme is established. Though the tempo is fast it doesn’t feel rushed as the notes flow along and build. A melody is always heard amidst the flow, ensuring that the piece is not just technically impressive. Each section contains its own style while still maintaining cohesiveness.

      The player needs to be very technically and musically proficient, with the ability to accomplish large leaps through the entire 5-octave range and bring out the central melody while maintaining a fast pattern. This piece is beautiful and rewards the player for putting in the work.

      “Vermilion Bird” is sure to be an audience favorite at any recital, as it is lovely to listen to and impressive to watch. It would be a wonderful addition for any advanced marimbist.

      —Marilyn K. Clark Silva

  • Credits +
    • With support from Koda’s Cultural Funds
      Front Cover graphics and layout: Nicola Lee
      Photo: NCPA Orchestra
      Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
      Copyright © Edition SVITZER