Fabrice Marandola

Percussion Area Chair, Assistant Professor, Associate Director, Artistic Research, CIRMMT

Fabrice Marandola

“A percussionist is defined by the gesture of hitting.  It is a completely physical gesture, varying from extreme subtlety to a forcefulness that engages the entire body.”

At the age of 5 years old, his father’s drum set and the gift of a small African drum inspired Fabrice Marandola to make a grand declaration: he would become a drummer!

20 years later, having earned a First Prize in Performance from the Conservatory of Paris with Jacques Delécluse, and a PhD in Ethnomusicology from the Sorbonne, the dream of his youth has been more than adequately achieved. He has performed with the National Orchestra of France and the New Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio France.   He has taught percussion in Paris, Grenoble and Angers, all the while pursuing his passion for Ethnomusicology in Cameroon.

In 2005, Marandola moved to Montreal to become a professor at the Schulich School of Music of McGill University.  Dividing his time between teaching, performing and research, he also became Associate Director of Artistic Research of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology (CIRMMT) in 2009. He quickly became part of the contemporary percussion scene in Montreal, co-founding Sixtrum and duo Akrostick.  He has played with the NEM, SMCQ, and Kore, and directs the McGill Percussion Ensemble.

In all of his activities, Marandola values exploration, risk, discovery and creativity.  His approach constantly questions the role of the musician in society, and the future of music, as it becomes transformed more and more by technology.
Above and beyond all, it is the pleasure – both intellectual and physical – of playing that guides his work; a pleasure shared with his fellow collaborators; a pleasure that he aims to share in the studio with his students, and on stage with the public.

“With Sixtrum, we work as explorers.  We work with the living:  Live composers. Live musicians.  Today’s music brought to life.” — C. Leroux

Teaching Approach

My personal approach to teaching is to lead students towards autonomy. It involves the building of strong fundamentals on all percussion instruments; the knowledge of a repertoire of standard pieces; the enrichment and discovery of a personal path through exposure to various artistic experiences and contexts; the development of techniques to efficiently prepare for auditions, competitions and public performances; and the stimulation to undertake research-creation projects. Building a set of efficient practice methods tailored to each student is thus very important in my teaching, and my motto could be summarised by “know thyself”.