Heartland Marimba, On Tour, Performs Badwater Basin by Jenni Brandon

Heartland Marimba, on tour, performs Badwater Basin by Jenni Brandon. There are three performances:

  • June 23, 7:00 pm – St Paul, Minnesota

○ Studio Z, 275 4th St E UNIT 200, St Paul, MN 55101


○ $25 suggested donation

○ Post-concert reception with artists and composer

  • June 24, 7:00 pm – Madison, Wisconsin

○ First Unitarian Society, Landmark Auditorium, 900 University Bay Dr, Madison, WI

○ $25 suggested donation

  • June 25, 3:00 pm – Evanston, IL

○ First Presbyterian Church, Walker Chapel, 1427 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL

○ $25 suggested donation

 The Performing Artists are:

Matthew Coley

Nathaniel Holman

Sophia Lo

Jordan Nielsen

Ryan Pearson

Ethan Strickland

The Music for the performances (not in program order) is:

Composer LabFests Premieres

  1. Running and Reflection by Madelyn Byrne
  2. Rumbalón by Arturo Fernandez
  3. Bixby Walks Alone by Martin J. Van Klompenberg
  4. Two Selections from Paul Klee: Painted Songs by Jonathan Posthuma
  5. No. 51.1 “Good Place for Fish” (Guter Fischplatz, 1922)
  6. No. 51.2 “Sunken Island” (Versunkene Insel, 1923)
  7. The Long White Limousine by Carla K. Bartlett
  8. Mallet Quartet #1 – Nostalgia by Alex Shapira
  9. Twenty Years On by Ian Wiese
  10. Toy Box Suite by Evan Erickson

Additional Featured Quartets

  1. Badwater Basin by Jenni Brandon (world premiere)
  2. Machinations II by Ian Wiese (live world premiere)

Badwater Basin for marimba quartet is the first movement from a larger work in progress about Death Valley National Park in California. It seemed like an appropriate place to start telling of the fascinating topography and history of this area as Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America at 282 feet (86 meters) below sea level. This wide expanse of salt flats covers almost 200 square miles and contains white sea of mostly sodium chloride, or table salt. Once an ancient inland lake, because the water had nowhere to go, sediment and salt accumulated over time, leaving behind the miles of an otherworldly landscape in the middle of the desert.

In telling the story of this location, I wanted the performers and audience to experience what it might be like to walk out across those salt flats.  The work begins with the performers playing with mallets wrapped in cellophane to create a crunchy sound much like walking out onto the salt basin. I also wanted to mix some other musical colors in here of the pristine white of the salt basin, as well as the sound of the salt crystals expanding and popping in the desert heat by using the slap mallets. At times the performers use the shafts of their mallets to play, and this represents the delicate formations of these salt structures, as if you are crouching down to get a closer look. There is also a rhythmic motion in this piece that represents the waves of the ancient lake that once filled this basin.

Seeing Badwater Basin is a unique and beautiful experience, and I wanted to capture that in the joyful drive of this work. I also hope this work will serve as a reminder that we must continue to support and protect our National Parks in the United States to preserve stunning places like Badwater Basin and Death Valley National Park