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Skyward

Composer: Adam Tan

Instrument: Marimba

Level: Intermediate/Advanced

Published: 2019

Price: €14.00


Item details

  • Description +
    • Duration: 6 min.

      Loosely based on my own story as a content creator, Skyward (翱, ao) is a personal reflection on the idea of pursuing dreams, whether its getting a dream job, succeeding at a new lifestyle, or finding someone special in your life. The title Skyward represents the idea of always looking 'skyward' towards dreams that appear lofty, before realising that they can be reached.

      Skyward's main theme remains constant throughout the work, but is varied in different degrees as the work progresses. The theme begins soft and spacious, as we set off on pursuing our 'dream', before developing to a light and bouncy compound time variation ofthe first theme, an indication of how it feels to see the first positive results of our work. The theme then runs into a bridge with heavy triple laterals, reflecting on the countless times adversity strikes and sows seeds of uncertainty on the 'dream' that is being pursued, before emerging into the first climactic octave section, where two keys clash together to represent overcoming increasingly difficult situations as the 'dream' gets closer to realisation. The final climactic octave section features majestic and powerful open octaves and arpeggios, where the 'dream' has been reached. The octave section then closes down into a soft reflection of the very first theme but in a new key, showing that although we have flown skyward to achieve the 'dream', we are still the same person on the inside.

      Adam Tan

  • Instrumentation +
    • Marimba (5 octave)

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  • 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.

  • Reviews +
    • Review (Percussive Notes, June 2020)

      “Skyward” is a beautiful, tonal marimba solo by the young Australian-Asian percussionist Adam Tan. This 5½-minute piece from 2019 makes full use of the range of a 5-octave marimba, and performers will need good control of four mallets, as the piece features melodically expressive runs over several octaves. The score is clearly written, and its accompanying notes describe “Skyward” as autobiographical in Tan’s pursuit of lifelong dreams. The piece makes use of a recurring theme throughout that represents, in Tan’s words, “always looking ‘skyward’ towards dreams that appear lofty.”

      Arranged in six expressive sections and tempi, the piece makes liberal use of key changes but stays in a melodically tonal style. Most of the main melodic sections stay within a 3-octave range with the expressive runs throughout making use of both the lower and higher octaves to great effect. The challenge of this piece is in its musical expression with melodic phrasing that will surely captivate the performer and audience equally, making this piece ideal for intermediate to advanced student and concert recitals.

      —N. Scott Robinson

  • Credits +
    • Front Cover graphics and layout: Gaia Rodrigues
      Photo: Wilson Ng
      Engraving: Adam Tan & Johan Svitzer
      Printed in Copenhagen, Denmark
      Copyright ©Adam Tan