For 40 years, Nancy Zeltsman’s contributions as a marimba performer and teacher have been a force in introducing people to the marimba. She premiered 125 solo and chamber works; performed and taught across the U.S. and Europe and in China, Japan, and Mexico; and recorded numerous CDs. Zeltsman has taught at joint institutions Boston Conservatory at Berklee and Berklee College of Music for 26 years and, since 2013 as regular guest professor at Conservatorium van Amsterdam. She founded the marimba/violin duo Marimolin and the Zeltsman Marimba Festival. Her second marimba duo CD with Jack Van Geem will be released by Bridge Records later in 2020. More information can be found at nancyzeltsman.com.
Rhythm! Scene: What other jobs, music or otherwise, did you have prior to your current university position?
Nancy Zeltsman: Prior to my teaching positions, I was privileged to work for over eight years for the great musician Gunther Schuller (composer/conductor/jazz scholar and more) as an assistant at his publishing company, Margun Music (a catalog now managed by Associated Music Publishers/G. Schirmer).
R!S: What's one thing in your institution or city/town that you are proud to tell people about?
NZ: Boston Modern Orchestra Project is an impressive group, founded in 1996 by Gil Rose, dedicated to commissioning, performing, and recording contemporary orchestral music. During their first 20 years, they recorded over 50 CDs featuring specific composers, and they are still going strong. I recorded William Thomas McKinley’s "Marimba Concerto" with them, released in 2010.
R!S: What's one thing about you that your students would unanimously proclaim?
NZ: I’m very careful with my hearing. I’ve become very sensitive to loudness and I am grateful for my students’ thoughtfulness around me! Teaching and concerts are very manageable for me with ear plugs. I’m thrilled to any degree that my carefulness rubs off on my students, so their hearing will stay healthy for many years.
R!S: What is your all-time favorite album and why?
NZ: Among my all-time favorite music is almost anything performed by the Swedish jazz pianist Bobo Stenson.
R!S: Where did you grow up, and what’s one interesting thing about your childhood (musically or otherwise)?
NZ: I grew up in Parsippany, New Jersey. It was fantastic to be only about an hour from New York City. I felt lucky that I was able to go to the city fairly often for exposure to great concerts, musicians, and teachers.