Composer: Robert Oetomo
Duration: 5 min.
Life Anew was inspired by a photograph of the devastation and aftermath of the 2019-2020 Australian bushfires; where life begins again and is resilient despite the destruction of nature.
Life Anew is commissioned by the Taiwan Percussion Arts Alliance, Taiwan for the 2020 Taiwan Percussion World Championship.
Marimba (4.3 Octave)
About the composer +
Indonesian-born Australian percussionist and composer Robert Oetomo (b. 1988) studied his Master of Music (Künstlerische Ausbildung) degree in performance at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Mannheim, where he received highest distinction for his final graduation recital in 2014. He completed his Bachelor of Music (Performance) Honours Class I at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, Australia in 2010. His previous teachers include Professor Dennis Kuhn, Jasmin Kolberg, Claire Edwardes, Daryl Pratt, Richard Miller and Gary Wain. He has accumulated many national and international awards including third prize in the Vibraphone category of the 9th Percussive Arts Society Italy International Percussion Competition in 2011, the ‘Just Percussion Marimba Prize’ at the Australian Percussion Gathering (APG) 2010, first prize in both the Open Marimba and Open Vibraphone categories of the 2010 Australian Percussion Eisteddfod and second prize at the 2008 Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Snare Drum Award. He also won the 2010 Sydney Conservatorium Percussion Concerto Competition, and was finalist in the 2012 Yamaha Music Foundation Europe Scholarship Competition.
A versatile percussionist, Robert has performed with different orchestras and ensembles including the Australian Opera and Ballet Orchestra, the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn, the Kurpfälzischen Kammerorchester Mannheim, the Australian Youth Orchestra, Synergy Percussion and Mannheimer Schlagwerk. He presented his paper, ‘The Transcription of J. S. Bach’s Unaccompanied Cello Suites for the Modern Marimba,’ at APG 2010 Symposium ‘Moving Ground – The Changing Face of Percussion’. Robert was invited to perform his work, The Legend of the Golden Snail, at the Gala Concert of APG 2010, performing with highly acclaimed percussionists including Steve Schick, Sylvio Gualda and Kuniko Kato.
As a composer, Robert passionately advocates the development of percussion music. He has composed numerous works for percussion which have been performed all over the world. His first symphonic work, Spirit of The Dreaming with solo didgeridoo, was premiered at the ‘2008 Aurora Music Festival’ in Sydney, Australia. Later that year, it was performed again with renowned didgeridoo soloist, William Barton. Robert was selected for the 2010 Ku-Ring-Gai Philharmonic Orchestra Composers' Workshop program during which he composed his new orchestral work, Reflections on an Island’s Landscape, under the mentorship of composer Nigel Butterley and John Peterson. His works are published by Edition Svitzer and Tapspace Publications. Robert is an Encore Mallets, Inc. endorser.
Review (Percussive Notes, October 2021)
I love seeing new music written with consideration for the low-A marimba. This beautiful instrument is more accessible to students and performers at the fringe of our field than its low-C counterpart. It is even more exciting to see this piece coming from composer and arranger Robert Oetomo, who many of us know for his stunning arrangement of Harold Arlen’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
While his original work “Life Anew” is not as iconic as Arlen’s landmark tune, it evokes a similar, hopeful aspiration. “Life Anew” was inspired by the destruction and subsequent renewal following the devastating Australian bushfires in 2019–20. Its simple melody and gradually building texture beautifully represent resilience in the face of adversity.
While musically rich, the piece is technically approachable for the intermediate marimbist. It requires independence between the two hands, as the left has some light accompaniment figures that contrast with the melody in the right hand.
This audience-friendly work would be appropriate for a college or advanced high school recital. Kudos to Edition Svitzer on their striking cover and Oetomo on the beautiful composition.
Front Cover graphics and layout: Evi O.
Engraving: CPH Engarving
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
Copyright © Edition SVITZER
With support from Koda’s Cultural Funds