Composer: Adam Tan
Instrument: Marimba (4.3 Octave)
Duration: 5 min.
I love the lotus because while it is growing from mud, it is unstained.
- Zhou Dunyi 周敦頤
The lotus flower (蓮, lián) is commonly seen in many Asian cultures. It is traditionally seen as a symbol of perfection, beauty and purity. Lotus root (藕, ǒu) is also a popular vegetable used in many Asian cuisines. My inspiration for Lotus comes mainly from the nature of the lotus flower. It is able to grow beautifully despite its muddy and undesirable origins. The flower is able to float over the surface of water and often lives for over a thousand years.
In this work, I wanted to juxtapose the qualities of the lotus flower with identifiable human experiences. Lotus begins with a 'floating' theme of tranquility (a passing reference to Debussy's Arabesque No. 1) that is repeated and varied throughout the work. It is placedalongside a second theme that is more reflective and unstable. The structure of Lotus alternates between these themes, with the tranquility representing our moments of peace, and the instability representing our moments of hardship. The themes develop with increasing energy until Lotus concludes on a final moment of peace.
Marimba (4.3 octave)
About the composer +
Adam Tan is a marimba soloist, educator and composer based in Perth, Western Australia. Adam is most known for being a YouTube content creator on THE STUDIO, a self-produced YouTube show uploading weekly episodes for education and entertainment relating to percussion.
Adam has performed and presented in-person in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Malaysia, Taiwan and the United States, and has also presented online classes in Argentina, Central America and the United Kingdom. Highlights include solo performances at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention (PASIC), inc. percussion days (Japan), PAS Hong Kong Days of Percussion and Oh! Asian Percussionists Series (Hong Kong), Malaysia Percussion Festival, Chosen Vale Percussion Seminar (USA), Australian Percussion Gathering and masterclass presentations at the 505A Percussion Gathering (Hong Kong), MalletLab Summer Intensive (USA), WA Day of Percussion (Australia) and various universities and schools across Taiwan.
As a composer, Adam's works for percussion are performed regularly as they appear in repertoire lists for auditions, examinations and competitions around the world, such as the UIL Texas Prescribed Music List (PML). Adam’s works can be listened to on all music streaming platforms and stores.
Adam is the founder and director of Marimbafest Australia, a non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of percussive arts in Australia, curating various events including the annual marimba festival and competition Marimbafest, as well as the annual concert series Percussion All-Stars.
Adam has a Master of Music (Research, Percussion) and Bachelor of Music (1st Class Hons) from the University of Western Australia Conservatorium of Music.
Adam is a Marimba One Premier Artist and a Signature Artist of Encore Mallets with his own signature series of mallets. Adam's compositions are published by Edition Svitzer.
Review (Percussive Notes, June 2020)
There are a few moments that stick out as transformative online marimba moments; for me, these moments include hearing Gifford Howarth, Pius Cheung, and Casey Cangelosi for the first time. They each broadened my perspectives on what the instrument could be, and when it comes to Adam Tan, those feelings arise again. With his unique style and business acumen, Tan has found a way to market himself and the marimba as a YouTube personality. This presence has allowed Tan to give a fresh voice to the marimba with four-mallet works like “Lotus” that reflect a certain neo-romantic sentiment, in this instance for 4.3 octave marimba.
As the percussion community expands, access to instruments has not equitably expanded with it. This makes new interesting four-mallet worksfor the more limited 4.3-octave instrument pivotal for expanding the influence and reach of contemporary keyboard percussion music. With “Lotus,” Tan has crafted a whimsical work that at around five minutes is equally functional as a jury or recital piece. The technical demands are present, but the fluid tempo make crafting an attainable interpretation in reach for performers at various ability levels.
“Lotus” is a simple yet mesmerizing work that with its sophisticated harmonies and approachable instrumentation I hope will be heard for many years to come!
Front Cover graphics and layout: Gaia Rodrigues
Photo: Wilson Ng
Engraving: Adam Tan & Johan Svitzer
Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
Copyright ©Adam Tan