Award: Research & Development Grant

Discipline: Performing Arts

Project Collaborator(s): Banda Kawayan Pilipinas

Josh Gottry

Naoko Takada

Southern California Marimba

City/Town: Glendale

Year: 2019

Artist Website:

Percussionist Liz Guzman’s R&G Grant will support travel to the Philippine Islands in the summer of 2019 where she will study Filipino folk music, including the Philippine Madrigal Singers, a professional choir; Banda Kawayan Pilipinas, a bamboo orchestra that builds and performs on traditional instruments including bamboo marimbas; and Bayanihan Philippine National Folk Dance Company, a group committed to preserving indigenous Philippine art forms in music, dance, costumes, and folklore.

Upon her return, Guzman will create a new body of work for marimba showcasing traditional Filipino folk music. I plan to create a series of arrangements for marimba ensemble based traditional Filipino folk songs as well a new original work for solo marimba inspired by the landscape and culture of the Philippines. Additionally, she will collaborate with two other artists—noted Arizona composer Josh Gottry and world-renowned marimbist Naoko Takada—to explore new compositional techniques.

As a professional musician and music educator, Guzman is typically called upon to interpret the work of others. This undertaking, on the otherhand, offers an opportunity for the artist to express her own original voice. As the child of a Filipino immigrant who chose to raise his family in as “all-American” a fashion as possible, it’s also an opportunity for Guzman to explore and embrace her cultural roots.

Sample #1: “Chorale” from Suite Marimba by Josh Gottry

Sample #2: Excerpt from Lost in a Labyrinth Unraveling by Robert
Zolinski, performed by Glendale Marimba Quartet

Sample #3: Score for Caramba by Otilio Galindez, arrangement by Liz
Guzman. Performed by the Arizona School for the Arts Percussion Ensemble at the 2015 Arizona Percussive Arts Society Spring Festival

Liz Guzman is an active percussion educator and performer who currently serves as the Percussion Specialist at Arizona School for the Arts in Phoenix, AZ. Her duties at ASA include instructing beginning through advanced levels of percussion and directing the award winning ASA Percussion Ensemble. She received her degree in percussion from Arizona State University in 2004 under the direction of Dr. Douglas Nottingham, Dr. JB Smith, Dr. Mark Sunkett, and Bill Wanser. (Phoenix Symphony, retired)

In addition to ASA, she maintains a busy private studio where her students have performed and earned honors at AMEA Solo & Ensemble, Arizona Regional & All State Bands and Orchestra, Curry Summer Music Camp, Berklee Percussion Camp, Idyllwild Arts Summer Program, the AzPAS Solo & Ensemble Festival, Phoenix Youth Symphony and the Academy Drum & Bugle Corp. In 2011 she was named a Surdna Arts Fellow, which granted her the opportunity to study with world-renowned marimbist Naoko Takada.

Guzman regularly performs with a variety of groups around the valley including the Rosewood Rascals Marimba Band, Salt River Brass, GCC Percussion Ensemble, and Musica Nova Orchestra. She is a member of the Arizona Music Educators Association, National Association of Music Education, and is the Past President of the Arizona Chapter of the Percussive Arts Society. Liz proudly serves as Educational Artist for Marimba One.

Banner Image: Photo of artist by Johanna Reiterman, A Sophisticated View Photography.