Marimba expert joins Central Michigan University School of Music faculty

Marco Schirripa, D.M., brings international performance and composition creation experience to CMU

| Author: Hadlee Rinn | Media Contact: Kara Owens

Marco Schirripa, D.M., is joining CMU’s School of Music faculty to teach percussion and bring his international connections and experiences to students. Schirripa has won many international marimba competitions, performed across the country, and published his own compositions. Schirripa is also releasing his first album of his own marimba compositions, titled “Digital Dances.” 

Additionally, Schirripa is a part of the Heartland Marimba Quartet, one of the only ensembles of its kind in the world. The quartet has traveled across the world, played as guest artists at the World Marimba Competition in Germany, and performed at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention. In the fall, the Heartland Marimba Quartet will be performing at CMU.  

Schirripa received his Bachelor’s in Percussion Performance and Music Theory from Ithaca College and his master’s and doctorate in Percussion from Indiana University. Previously, Schirripa taught percussion at Tennessee Tech University and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. On his experiences at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, Schirripa says, “It helped me re-evaluate my priorities as a teacher and recognize the different goals and needs of students from upbringings different than my own. These experiences show why it is important to support artists from all backgrounds.” 

To highlight other underrepresented groups, the Heartland Marimba Quartet have been working to establish 12 new marimba quartet pieces written by women. After researching to find pieces written by women for the marimba quartet, the group discovered only 12 published works by female composers and the group has been striving to double that number.  

In the academic world, Schirripa’s previous research focused on stage presence and extramusical gesture in classical music performance. He explored how the physical gestures on stage affect how the audience perceives the performance. After completing his research, Schirripa wrote various articles and hosted clinics on the subject.  

His latest research endeavor dives into video game music. In his own words, Schirripa is a “huge gamer” and his classical compositions have been heavily inspired by video games and electronic dance music. He has performed recitals of video game music at game music and academic conferences, as well as given lectures on arranging video game music for classical concert performance. 

On his future at CMU, Schirripa says, “The level of playing and achievement of the students here is extremely high, and because of that there is a high level we can reach in terms of my ability to teach and [students] ability to achieve. […] It’s sort of a cliché, but the possibilities are endless.”  

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