We are counting down the weeks until Southern California Marimba’s 2nd International Artist Competition! Things look a lot different this time due to the pandemic, but we are looking forward to it and hope it will still be a great experience for everyone.
While this year’s semi-finalists prepare for the 2nd round of the competition, we reached out to the winners from our first International Artist Competition. We wanted to know what they’ve been up to since we last saw them in 2019.
This is the final interview in our 2019 IAC Winners Interview Series! Filament Duo (DeLane Doyle and Aaron Gochberg) won 1st Place in the Open Duo Category, tying with marimba duo, Mio Fujimoto + Jason Chen.
Please introduce yourself.
AARON: Filament Duo is collaborative project between myself and DeLane Doyle, based out of Philadelphia, PA and Madison, WI respectively. We are both percussionist-composers, and we divide our time as a duo between performing new works for our instrumentation and composing our own.
What have you been up to since we last saw you?
DELANE: I moved to Philadelphia in August 2019 for a teaching position at Germantown Academy as their percussion instructor, assistant band director, and middle school general music teacher. I’ve been spending time learning the details of my job and getting to know a new city.
AARON: The pandemic has slowed most of my performing work to halt, so currently I am focused on a number of recording projects spanning a number of musical genres including contemporary concert music, Afro-Peruvian jazz, and popular music.
How were you first introduced to marimba?
AARON: The town I grew up in (Oregon, WI) has a surprisingly large marching arts scene, so that was the original context in which I was exposed to the marimba. My knowledge of the instrument in a classical context came later, from private lessons and eventually from music school.
DELANE: I first saw the marimba in percussion class as a High School Freshman. An older colleague was working on a four-mallet solo and I knew that I should give it a go. I started studying privately shortly after this encounter.
What do you love about playing marimba?
AARON: I’ve always been really drawn to the tone of the instrument: the warmth and the resonance, and the way that sound can fill up a room and wash over you.
What kind of physical preparation do you do before playing?
DELANE: This definitely changes with the circumstances of the performance, but I generally like to take a few moments to breathe deeply and visualize a few challenging moments in the music.
What are you currently working on?
DELANE: Filament recently completed a long term project in Wyoming this March. We recorded and premiered eight new works, most of which were composed by Ron Coulter. I’m currently preparing a short set of original ambient music for the vibraphone that will be performed in May.
AARON: I’m currently learning Dai Fujikura’s solo piece, repetition/recollection, which is, in my opinion, a very underplayed, masterfully-composed work for the instrument.
How did you prepare for the 2019 IAC?
DELANE: I rented a practice marimba for a few months and took many trips from Milwaukee to Madison to rehearse with Aaron. We organized a number of small performances in the months leading up to the 2019 IAC.
AARON: DeLane and I were living in different cities at the time, and touring other repertoire, so most of our prep happened through individual practice with minimal rehearsing together. It definitely wasn’t the ideal way to get ready for competition, but we both were out of school and had a lot of non-musical things to manage, so it was all we could really manage at the time. We also played a lot of small performances of our competition repertoire at colleges and high schools, so that we could get some of the performance anxiety out of the way before the actual competition.
Most memorable moment at the 2019 IAC?
AARON: The camaraderie! Despite the fact that all of us participants were literally there to compete, everyone was exceedingly welcoming and generous. There are a handful of people I met at the competition who I still stay in touch with, which is probably the most valuable thing I took away from IAC.
DELANE: There are quite a few to choose from! Here are a few that stuck out: The Judges Concert, meeting some AWESOME people, the post competition dinner hang, and the Noon to Midnight festival.
How has the pandemic affected your routine? (Life, practice, or other)
DELANE: The pandemic derailed any sense of a routine I had, but I feel like my current sleeping, eating, and exercise habits are in the best place they’ve ever been. The pandemic has let me slow down for a bit and reassess my priorities (still figuring this part out).
How are you taking care of your mental health right now?
AARON: I am trying to forget about productivity.
DELANE: I’m trying to set clear boundaries with my work life balance and spending as much time outside as I can. I’ve been rock climbing and skiing quite a lot in the past year.
What keeps you motivated during these times?
DELANE: Knowing that there are two months of school before summer break!
What’s the first thing you want to do when things are back to normal?
AARON: I’m just looking forward to playing music with my friends in a room together.
What music inspires you right now?
AARON: This month, I’ve been listening to a lot of Duval Timothy, Munir Hossn, and Kali Malone.
Are you watching any shows or listening to any cool podcasts?
AARON: I follow a lot of podcasts. Right now its: 99% Invisible, Citations Needed, 5-4, Philosphize This!, Concert Honesty, and the New Yorker Fiction podcast.
DELANE: I don’t find myself watching too many shows, though I did put in a good effort while I was stuck as home this past fall. I watched Dark, The Queen’s Gambit, Chernobyl, and Mindhunter.
Check out Filament Duo’s winning performance during the 2019 IAC Finals Round!
If you want to learn more about them, be sure to visit their website as well.
Thank you to Aaron and DeLane for participating in the interview! We’ll be sure to check out your music/podcast/show recommendations. Looking forward to hearing more of your music!
This concludes our 2019 IAC Winners Interview Series! Thank you to Wan Yoon, Jason Chen, Mio Fujimoto, Aaron Gochberg, and DeLane Doyle! We enjoyed catching up with you and hope you (the reader!) did too.
Have you marked your calendar for the 2021 International Artist Competition? Learn more here.
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